City Lit tutor, Russell Aldersson at the National Gallery in London

City Lit stories - Russell Aldersson

7 January 2019
Posted in: Stories

"I turn 49 this year and so my connection to City Lit goes back three decades. I moved down to London shortly after my 19th birthday to study British Sign Language at the City Lit on a one-year full-time course. That served as a stepping stone onto the path of becoming a fully qualified British Sign Language/English interpreter although it would be a few more years before I attained that status.

I worked as an interpreter at City Lit and taught a number of professional development courses for working and aspiring interpreters at the college and also taught on the City Lit interpreting diploma. I delivered workshops at a number of the highly popular and successful City Lit "Watch your language" conferences over the years as well as participating in the annual Deaf Day. I took a number of courses with City lit also, and so altogether I have been a student, teacher and an interpreter here.

I currently work as a teacher in the Centre for Deaf Education and I am responsible for the planning and delivery of two English courses for deaf adults, many of whom originate from overseas. I am half way through my doctoral research with the Institute of Education and exploring "translanguaging and semiotic repertoires” in the context of deaf education and the role of British Sign Language in the teaching of English to deaf adults.

I still practice as an interpreter half of my working week and in the picture above I am interpreting at the National Gallery. I like this picture capturing me in my work context as a sign language interpreter because in this particular instance I was not signing but translating into English for hearing people who cannot sign who were attending an art talk given by a deaf art historian. We are often referred to as "signers" but of course a signed language is only one of the languages that sign language interpreters work with and the spoken language is often ignored. There are many instances where I work into spoken (or written) English just as much as I work into British Sign Language.

Some other facts:  I won a silver medal in an international synchronised swimming competition, I'm a Yorkshire man, a dad, and I like beer and beards. Not only my own beard but other people’s too. I lived in Iceland for a time and I speak "functional" Icelandic and I have studied Portuguese for four years too.

I'm extremely proud to be say that I am a teacher at the City Lit, it is where it all began for me really".