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Dr. John Conama

Project Manager (C.L.C.S.)


Project Manager (Centre for Deaf Studies)

John Bosco Conama is the director of the Centre for Deaf Studies (Trinity College, University of Dublin) and former chairperson of the Irish Deaf Society. He was the co-chair of the Irish Sign Language Recognition Campaign. He holds an MLitt in social policy (Trinity College Dublin) and a PhD in Equality Studies (University College Dublin). Dr Conama was involved in establishing the first certificate level course for Deaf people organised by the Equality Studies Centre, University College Dublin. He was awarded Language Ambassador of the Year 2015 by Leargas/ Erasmus + for his work on the promotion and preservation of Irish Sign Language. His recent publications have focused on Deaf people in society and social policies affecting Irish Sign Language. Dr Conama also is a member of the Disability Advisory Committee under the aegis of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
  Education and minority language   Equality law   Globalisation   Health policy   Identity politics and social change   Irish economy, problems   Irish politics, election study, electoral behaviour   Politics of the welfare state   Public Policy   Social work with minorities
 Sense of the Community - Deaf Community
 RESIDE: Resilience Inspires Deaf Communities
 "Let's, let's stay together": ethnographical research into intimate relationships within the deaf community in Ireland
 DESIGNS: Deaf Employment for Sign Language Users in the EU
 Hidden Histories (Irish coordinator)

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Details Date
Chair the Cross-Community Group under the aegis of Irish Deaf Society to monitor the implementation of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 2018 - present
Member of Disability Advisory Committee under the aegis of Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission 2019 - 2024
A collaborative project over the next 12 months between UCC, Cork Deaf Association and Kerry Deaf Resource Centre, which will focus on designing a Deaf Awareness auditing template for use by public bodies. Hopefully this project can support the work underway around the country towards supporting effective implementation of the ISL Act 2017. This project is supported by Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission's Grant Scheme 2018 2018-2021
Invited to attend the working group meeting on the Implementation of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 within the Houses of the Oireachtas Service. 5th November
World Federation of the Deaf's Expert Group on Sign Language and Deaf Studies 2016-2019
The working group we are putting together to address the relocation of St Josephs House for vulnerable Deaf adults 2017 - present
An external consultant to Working Group on Sign Language for the Public Council of the Commission on Interaction between Citizens and the Parliament of the Republic of Bulgaria. 2018
Co-chair the Irish Sign Language Recognition Campaign which culminated in the enactment of Irish Sign Language Act 2017 and it was signed into law by President Higgins on 24th December 2017. 2011 to 2018
Committee member on Irish Sign Language Academy - a representative body of ISL teachers and researchers under the aegis of Irish Deaf Society. Responsibility in the ISL recognition. 2005 to 2012
Board member of the Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS). SLIS is the interpreting agency that is supported with funds by the statutory agency: Citizens Information Board (CIB) 2007 - 2009
Acting Chairperson of the Model School for the Deaf Project 2000 - 2007
Member of the Partnership Group on Deaf Education (CIDP-IDS-DeafHear-Schools for the Deaf-CDS) 2009 - 2017
Member of advisory group to Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) with a responsibility of organising a conference and a written response to the issue of Deaf applicants for primary teaching training 2012
Invited to participate in the roundtable discussion on Irish Sign Language recognition hosted by the National Disability Authority May 3, 2012
Minute Checker for the World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf 21-22 July
Member of the Working Group on the Register of Irish Sign Language Interpreters under Sign Language Interpreting Service.
Member of the Steering group under Citizen Information Bureau being set up to oversee and advise on projects relating to the Register for Interpreters and an App and platform for remote interpreting.
Sits on the advisory committee under the aegis of the National Disability Authority to prepare a review report on ISL Act (2017)for the Minister for Disabilities January to July
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
American Sign Language Medium Basic Medium
British Sign Language Medium Medium Medium
English Fluent Fluent Basic
Irish Sign Language Fluent Fluent Fluent
Details Date From Date To
Member of ISL Academy 2006 present
Irish Deaf Society Member, Board director, secretary, chairperson 1986 current
World Federation of the Deaf 2008 current
Member of the first Think Tank on Deaf Studies at the University of Utrecht. A number of universities in Europe and North America are involved. 2020 present
Audism in Systemic Policies in, editor(s)Patrick Boudreault and Genie Gertz , Audism TExtbook, Oxford University Press, 2025, [John Bosco Conama], Book Chapter, ACCEPTED
John Bosco Conama, The Sense of Community: Irish Deaf Community, Gallaudet University Press, 2024, Book, SUBMITTED
Chapter 50: No sign of it: The aftermath of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 in, editor(s)Darquennes, Jeroen (CoI)Salmons, Joseph (CoI)Vandenbussche, Wim (CoI) , Language Contact: An international handbook. Volume 2, 2024, [John Bosco Conama], Notes: [Preparation of the second volume of an international handbook on language contact that will comprise a total of 60 chapters. The handbook is part of de Gruyter's HSK-series (Handb├╝cher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft) and is scheduled to be published in 2023.], Book Chapter, ACCEPTED
John Bosco Conama, The Impact of Language Education Policies on Irish Sign Language in Irish Deaf Education, Audism TExtbook, 18-20 October, edited by Patrick Boudreault and Genie Gertz , Oxford University Press, 2024, Conference Paper, SUBMITTED
John Bosco Conama, Ableism and Audism in Academia: Equity Literacy as the Promised Solution., Rethinking Marginality: Inclusion and Ableism, Pharos University in Alexandria, Egypt, 1-3 March, 2024, Conference Paper, APPROVED
John Bosco Conama, "A people remarkable for action and gesticulation -nrSir William ilde (1815-1876) and his survey on deaf people (1854), Sign Language Studies, 23, (2), 2023, p137 - 163, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
John Bosco Conama, No sign of it: the aftermath of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017, Authority, Power and Language, Univeristy of Limerick, 18-20 October, 2022, Conference Paper, SUBMITTED
John Bosco Conama, Sense of Community, Language and Life in D/deaf Communities, University of Bern , Switzerland, 18-19 November, 2022, Center for the Study of Language and Society (CSLS) at the University of Bern,, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama, How To Sign On And Stay There: SNAPSHOT OF THE FEELING OF BELONGING WITHIN THE IRISH DEAF COMMUNITY." , Irish Journal of Sociology, 2022, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
The Bumpy Journey towards the Irish Sign Language Act: Critical Considerations and Personal Reflections of a Deaf Activist -Scholar in, editor(s)Clare Cunningham and Chris Hall (York St John's University) , Vulnerabilities, Challenges and Risks in Applied Linguistics, De Gruyter, 2021, [John Bosco Conama], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED

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John Bosco Conama, Sense of Community - Irish Deaf Community , Peaks and Valleys to Explore, Utah State University, USA, 4th April, 2022, Conference Paper, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama, "I did it...Didn't I? - Reflections on my doctoral graduation after more than a decade.", Breaking Boundaries: A Disabled Postgraduates PhD Journey, Trinity College Dublin, 15th March, 2022, forum for Disabled Staff and Postdoc students, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama, Changing the narrative, Changing the narrative, Sweden, 27th February, 2022, Saved By The Sign , Invited Talk, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama, COIL workshop in Norway in November to discuss the future of Deaf Studies and interpreting the training in Europe., Oslo, Norway, 2-4 November , 2022, OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University, Invited Talk, ACCEPTED
John Bosco Conama , Language Activism and the campaign for recognition of Irish Sign Language as 3rd Ireland"s official language, BAQONDE Summer School 2022, TCD, 2nd August 2022, 2022, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama , Official recognition of the Irish Sign Language and the Irish Sign Language Act, Europena Union of the Deaf's Sign Language awareness Week, Zoom, 20 September 2022, 2022, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama, Economic opportunities for Deaf people and employment benefits in the context of ISL Act, Zoom, 20 September 2022, 2022, Citizen Information Board, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama, Irish Sign Language and Sense of Community, Gallaudet University, Washington DC USA, 12 October 2022, 2022, Department of Deaf Studies, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama, Overview of ISL Act, Deaf Legal Theory and Sign Language Law workshop, University of Birmingham, 10 November, 2022, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
Sir William Wilde and his book on deaf people in, Deaf Heritage Centre, 2021, [John Bosco Conama], Book Chapter, APPROVED


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Award Date
European Language Label - Language Ambassador September 2015
Media Award by Hidden Hearing - Media Award - Award for a campaigner / journalist / celebrity who has highlighted topics related to those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. September 2011
Doctoral scholarship from National Disability Authority 2002-07
Supporter of the Year by Kerry Deaf Rsources Centre December 17, 2010
Dr Ciaran Barry Scholarship for Masters research 1997
Masters in Arts (jure offici) 23 June 2017
Deaf Cultural Studies, Equality Studies, Media Studies, Social Policy, Deaf Education, All relating to the Deaf communities in Ireland and beyond My overarching research objective is to deepen and extend my work on the topic of language policy and planning, examining, in particular, the impact of policy and planning tools used by governments regarding the status of Irish Sign Language and other signed languages. Within this broad objective, I have commenced work in Deaf cultural studies and equality studies, with a plan to secure funding to address the clear research gap in terms of Deaf perspectives in these areas. During my teaching, I have often been struck by students' interest in cultural issues specific to Ireland. Whilst students frequently ask for primary research on this topic, there is almost none related to Ireland. Whilst lecturers in Deaf Studies have recourse to examples from other countries or other cultures, these are not sophisticated enough for intensive study of the lived experiences of the Deaf community. Work in this area will include an examination of quality of social, cultural (including access to media) and employment services as used by Deaf people, from a critical social justice perspective. Some of these research objectives will be achieved through building on the European Commission-funded projects described above, with follow-up projects in the pipeline. Peers will evaluate my research by my participation in top international projects and initiatives of strategic and social importance, the rigour and the quality of my outputs, originality, creativity and innovation in theoretical and methodological frameworks, leadership skills, collaboration and my ability to extend my networks and share experience with research students and other colleagues. My work will also be evaluated by knowledge generation and transfer, my impact on the field and on civil society, my ability to translate ideas into concepts that can be clearly understood by local communities, my productivity and capacity to deliver outputs within agreed timeframes. Finally, making my work available and accessible through the medium of Irish Sign Language as well as English is a priority in my research plans, for the benefit of the Deaf community in Ireland.