Project team

We are a multilingual and cross-cultural team of deaf and hearing researchers who bring interdisciplinary expertise from social work and interpreting studies to conduct this project. 

Use the links below to navigate through their profiles to know more about their roles and experience as part of the INforMHAA project.

These biographic profiles were created at the beginning of the project. For more up to date information for each member of the team, click on their name to access their full research profile.

Alys Young, University of Manchester

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I am social scientist who has worked in sign language and deafness for the past 30 years. I have a special interest in applied health and social studies and many of my projects have focussed on quality of life and better services for deaf children and adults. 

I convene the Social Research with Deaf people group (SORD) at the University of Manchester where I am also Professor of Social Work.  I am also distinguished visiting professor at the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.  Over the past 10 years SORD has been awarded over £10m in research funding and I have held grants from AHRC, ESRC, MRC, NIHR, GCRF and many non-governmental research bodies. A full list of publications is available via my research profile pages. I was conferred FAcSS in 2015 (Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences) in recognition of my thought leadership in this field and in 2016 won the Times Higher Education national award as Outstanding Research Supervisor or the Year. I remain a qualified and registered social worker. 

Jemina Napier, Heriot-Watt University

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I am the Chair of Intercultural Communication in the SIGNS@HWU group at the Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies in Scotland in the Department of Languages & Intercultural Studies, School of Social Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK. I am also a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Deaf Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. 

My research focuses primarily on sign language intercultural communication. I conduct linguistic, social and ethnographic explorations of direct and interpreter-mediated communication to inform intercultural communication, interpreting studies, applied linguistics, and deaf studies theories. My specialist language is British Sign Language, and I am fluent in Australian and American Sign Languages and International Sign. I am also qualified as a professional interpreter to work between English and BSL, Auslan or International Sign. I am an Honorary Life member of the Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association and a Fellow of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters UK. I was founding editor of the International Journal of Interpreter Education and I am on the editorial board for the International Journal of Translation & Interpreting Research and the Journal of Deaf Studies & Deaf Education. I have led or been involved in projects totalling over £1 million in grant funds, and I actively engage with professional associations and deaf communities at national and international levels.  

Rebecca Tipton, University of Manchester

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Rebecca Tipton, PhD, is a Lecturer in the Centre for Translation and Intercultural S at the University of Manchester where she is also Programme Director for the MA in Intercultural Communication. Prior to joining academia, Rebecca worked as a freelance interpreter and translator for a wide range of commercial clients and public services. The tragic death of Victoria Adjo Climbié in 2000 and the language and communication issues highlighted in the public inquiry that followed prompted Rebecca to explore spoken language interpreter mediation in social work as part of a PhD thesis (University of Salford 2012). Since then, much of her work has been aimed at improving public understanding of interpreter mediation and developing key worker confidence in delivering services where an interpreter is required. Rebecca has published on interpreting in asylum settings, police interviews, conflict zones, and in social work. Her work foregrounds issues of interpreter impartiality, trust, vulnerability and organisational accountability to limited English proficient service users. More recent work has focused on historical aspects of public service interpreting in Britain, and on interpreter mediation for victims of domestic abuse in statutory and non-statutory services. 

Sarah Vicary, The Open University

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I am a qualified, registered social worker with over 30 years experience including as a frontline social worker, an Approved Social Worker (the forerunner of an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP)) and a manager of an inner-city mental health crisis service. I worked for nine years as a Mental Health Act Commissioner, the body that oversees the rights of detained patients. I am now an academic at The Open University where I am Associate Head of the School of Nations and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I hold strategic and operational responsibility for all nations staff teaching in Health and Social Care including qualifications in social work, nursing, advanced clinical practice. I have a special interest in understanding statutory roles in mental health social work, especially those undertaken in challenging environments, and this is where much of my research activity lies. A full list of my publications is available via my university profile. I convene a research network for AMHPs and organise an annual conference. I also coordinate the Social Work History Network, a national network which exists to explore the nature and growth of social work in order to inform contemporary policy and practice. I inaugurated and now edit its annual bulletin.  

Natalia Rodriguez Vicente, Heriot-Watt University/ University of Essex

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I am a lecturer at the University of Essex, where I teach conference interpreting, public service interpreting (PSI) and advanced Spanish courses. Prior to joining Essex, I worked on my PhD about mental health interpreting at Heriot-Watt University thanks to a scholarship provided by the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies (LINCS). 

As part of my PhD data collection activities, I visited two public mental health units in Edinburgh (Scotland) where interpreters are regularly used. This fieldwork exposed me to a wide range of languages, health conditions and life stories that made me want to pursue further research on interpreting in mental health. My research interests lie at the intersection of interactional pragmatics, clinical communication, and interpreting studies; with a particular focus on the communication of distress across languages and the effect of the interpreting process on service provider-user dynamics. Being part of INForMHAA is helping me develop my knowledge on these issues, particularly due to my involvement in the bibliography management element of the project. 

Outside the university walls, I have worked for the Evidence and Evaluation for Improvement Team (EEvIT) at Healthcare Improvement Scotland (NHS Scotland) where I led a multiple case-study research project on person-centred care conducted in a selection of acute and residential settings in Scotland. Prior to my academic career, I worked as a project manager for a translation and localisation company in Edinburgh and I was an intern for the translation and interpreting department of a public institution in Zaragoza (Spain).   

Regarding my professional affiliations, I am a member of the UK Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL), of the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA), and I am currently studying a Postgraduate Certificate for Higher Education Practice to gain fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). 

Celia Hulme, University of Manchester

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My name is Celia Hulme. I am a culturally deaf researcher and BSL user from the University of Manchester. My main research interests are (1) Health research relating to deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users, (2) improving access and patient experiences for deaf BSL users and (3) Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) in health research. Before entering academia, in 2017, I worked at management level in the community and mental health deaf charity sector.

I am a final year NIHR MBRC Doctoral student, and my PhD research relates to deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users’ experiences of adult hearing aid services. The purpose of this research study is to collect information from deaf BSL users about their experiences of hearing aid services and their use of hearing aids. This research will also explore how hearing aid clinics address cultural competency specifically to deaf BSL users. The findings from this research may have an impact on future audiology provision, audiology training and service access for Deaf BSL users. In addition to this, I am also a part-time Research Assistant on the INForMHAA project.

I also have experience in training and setting up Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) groups specifically with deaf signers. I have worked in partnership with the VOCAL team to provide a deaf Expert by Experience Group (DEEG) Panel. Deaf signers receive training and support to be panel members and DEEG has been providing advice to health researchers who wish to include deaf BSL users in their research but do not know how to. In addition to this, I am responsible for setting up a multilingual/cultural PPIE panel within the INForMHAA project.