Victoria Nyst

Job title
Senior University Lecturer, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University

The use of a unique, shared sign language is at the core of the Deaf identity of Deaf communities. Due to the closure of deaf schools and the return of an exclusive focus on speech in education and upbringing of deaf children due to technological developments (the introduction of cochlear implants), sign language dialects in the Netherlands are under heavy pressure. In West Africa, the introduction of Western sign languages in education is the main threat to the preservation of local sign languages.
To preserve the identity of deaf communities, awareness and protection of deaf heritage in the form of endangered and extinct sign languages, the stories of deaf leaders and community members and the vast collections of materials from deaf schools and organizations is of great importance. Many heritage initiatives have focused on larger groups. It is time that deaf cultures, with their unique aspects and challenges in the field of protecting, defining and unlocking heritage, also receive the attention they deserve. An important guideline is of course that deaf researchers play an important role in this.

Victoria Nyst
Phone number
+31 71 527 2208