Article “Is there an I in Impact? Considering the two-way process of public engagement.”

New publication in Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal.

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Vlaamse Gebarentaal vlog: Impact van en op onderzoek.

This article is a critical reflection on public engagement and the concept of impact in UK research institutions, based on a recent experience. The UK impact agenda, driven by the Research Excellence Framework (REF), requires researchers to engage with the public in order to potentially have an impact on society.  This, I argue, constitutes the implicit directionality of impact as a one-way process.
Recently, I provided a workshop for Flemish Sign Language (VGT) interpreters entitled ‘I interpret, therefore I am’ at the Faculty of Arts of the KU Leuven (Antwerp, Belgium). The aim of the workshop, in line with the impact agenda, was to increase participants’ awareness about the interpreting process and change their perception of how an interpreter’s personal beliefs potentially influence his/her linguistic choices. However, interacting with the participants also had an impact on my current research design and me as a researcher.
This particular experience led me to reconsider the implicit idea of impact as a one-way process. In what follows I argue that, impact can and – in my opinion – should be a two-way process, encouraging interaction with the public in order to have a valuable impact on society, research and the researcher.

Published by

Isabelle Heyerick

My area of expertise is signed language interpreting and my research is situated on the intersection of (applied) linguistics, intercultural studies and language ideologies. I hold a PhD in Linguistics, a MA in Linguistics and a MA in Interpreting. My PhD is a first exploration of which linguistic interpreting strategies Flemish Sign Language interpreters use and why. My postdoctoral research investigated how discourses and ideologies about deaf people and signed languages prevalent in both the majority society and in the Deaf communities influence the linguistic decisions signed language interpreters make in their actual practice. Currently I am an Assistant Professor in Applied Sign Linguistics at the Centre for Deaf Studies at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland). I am the secretary of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters and the vice-president of Tenuto, an organisation offering continuous professional development for sign language interpreters.

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