Meet Our Speakers

Pre – Conference Friday

Jules Dickinson

Jules is an experienced community interpreter, trainer, researcher, and qualified Professional Supervisor. She is passionate about supporting interpreters to be healthy and resilient practitioners. Her PhD looks at the interpreter’s impact on workplace interaction, focussing on multiparty meeting dialogue.

Brett Best is a fully qualified British Sign Language (BSL)/American Sign Language (ASL)/ English interpreter, interpreter trainer and researcher. She holds a BA degree in Deaf Studies from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and an MSc in European Masters in Sign Language Interpreting (EUMASLI) from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. She has considerable experience and continued practice in community interpreting, higher education and conference interpreting.

Helen  Fuller and Mark Millington

Helen Fuller RSLI MCMI, has been working as an interpreter for 30 years. She is a qualified assessor and verifier and has developed and delivered training for RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People) and other organisations. An experienced trainer, she now works for SignVideo as Head of Interpreter Training where she is responsible for the training of interpreters new to the company as well as the Continuing Professional Development programme.


Mark Millington RSLI, has been working as an interpreter for 22 years.  He has worked across most public and private sectors and is a qualified mentor.  Mark is a Head of Video and Community Interpreting at SignVideo and is the lead for the recruitment of interpreters for the organisation.

Theresa Thomas-Morton

Theresa Thomas-Morton is NRCPD’S Practice Policy Officer. She is responsible for the development and maintenance of the NRCPD’s professional practice and ethical guidance for the professions.  Working with Professional Organisations, Theresa coordinates appropriate input to national strategies across the UK.


Theresa has a Masters in Education and has been a NRCPD Registered Sign Language Interpreter for over 15 years.  During her career she has been responsible for the Quality Assurance and Supervision of Language Professionals, developing policies, processes and practice guidance for a Sign Language Interpreting Agency. As an RSLI, Supervisor and Practice Policy Officer, Theresa is committed to the advancement of the Professions and unlimited inclusion of d/Deaf and deafblind people in all domains.

Conference Day 1

“Awkward: the flip side of sign language interpreting”.
Hilde Haualand

Hilde Haualand is a social anthropologist and a professor at the Department of International Studies and Interpreting at OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University. She is a teacher and researcher in deaf studies, sign language interpreting as a profession and as a social institution, and language ideologies. She has been a guest researcher at Gallaudet University as has researched the politics and ideologies behind video interpreting services. Currently, she is the chair of the committee that will make a Norwegian Official Report on sign language. She has also co-edited the book “Tolking – språkarbeid og profesjonsutøvelse” (Interpreting – Language work and professional practice (2018, Gyldendal Akademisk) Her Twitter handle is @hildemh

Dr Kate Rowley

Dr Kate Rowley is a deaf psycholinguist, specialising in language and literacy development of deaf children. Dr Rowley is currently a lecturer in Deafness, Cognition and Language (DCAL) at University College London (UCL) and has worked in this field for over 15 years. Most of Dr Rowley’s research focuses on language and literacy in deaf individuals.


Dr Rowley’s PhD thesis explored literacy processes in deaf individuals, in order to determine what factors, influence successful literacy attainment in the deaf population. Dr Rowley has been involved in the development of numerous sign language assessments including the BSL Receptive Skills and The BSL Sentence Repetition Task. Dr Rowley is currently leading an ESRC funded project as a principal investigator, which explores language comprehension skills in deaf children and young people between the ages of 4 and 20.



Research Profile:

Frances Everingham


Frances Everingham is a BSL/English SLI based in the South East of England. She studied Deaf Studies at Bristol University, graduating in 2013. She is currently studying for a Masters Degree in Advancing the Practice of Sign Language Interpreting at Queen Margaret’s University and is expecting to graduate in 2023. When not working Frances enjoys dressmaking, crafts and going for walks with her mischievous dog Dotty.

Maartje De Meulder and Dr Christopher Stone

Maartje De Meulder is a senior researcher at HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, and Honorary Research Fellow at Heriot-Watt University. Her research interests are in sign language policy and planning, sign language technologies, family language policy, sign language interpreting studies and discourses around inclusive education. She has published in a range of different journals including Language Policy, Applied Linguistics Review, The Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Human Rights Quarterly, and Translation and Interpreting Studies, and has co-edited Innovations in Deaf Studies (Oxford University Press, 2017) and The Legal Recognition of Sign Languages (Multilingual Matters, 2019). She is currently working with Hilde Haualand and Jemina Napier on a special issue on ‘Deconstructing sign language interpreting as a social institution’, to appear in Translation and Interpreting Studies.

Christopher is a Reader in Interpreting and Translation at the University of Wolverhampton, teaching on the BA and MA programs and currently supervising 5 PhD students. He continues to research into SLI television and media interpreting and translation, SLI aptitude, and SLI history. And is Editor (with colleagues Robert Adam, Ronice Müller de Quadros, and Christian Rathmann) of the Routledge Handbook of Sign Language Translation and interpreting.

Christopher maintains an interpreting practice and his professional registrations in the UK (NRCPD), the US (RID), and for IS (WFD-WASLI). He principally works in academic conference settings and for the BBC news (when time allows).

Christopher serves as the current President of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) and on the research committee for the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC).

Dr. Natalia Rodriguez

Dr. Natalia Rodríguez works as Lecturer in Spanish (Translation & Interpreting) at the University of Essex. She is also a co-investigator on the Interpreter-mediated Mental Health Act Assessment (INforMHAA) study (NIHSC, SSCR). She completed her PhD at the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University. Her thesis, about Dialogue Interpreting in Psychological Medicine, was the 2021 CIUTI PhD Award Winner. Her main research interests are about the intersection of language and mental health, interactional pragmatics and multilingual health communication.  Outside of University walls, she has worked for Healthcare Improvement Scotland, leading a research project about person-centred care communication. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).


Prof. Jemina Napier

Professor Jemina Napier is Chair of Intercultural Communication and Director of Research for the School of Social Sciences at Heriot-Watt University; and is also a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney. At Heriot-Watt University she served as the Head of Department of Languages & Intercultural Studies (2014-2018) and Director of the Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies in Scotland (2018-2021). She previously established the postgraduate programme in Auslan / English Interpreting at Macquarie University in 2002, where she later became the Head of Translation & Interpreting programmes from 2007-2012. She has published over 150 books, edited volumes, book chapters and journal articles, many focused on interpreter education. Jemina is also a practising sign language interpreter and works between English and BSL, Auslan or International Sign.

Dr. Rebecca Tipton

Dr. Rebecca Tipton, PhD DPSI, currently works as a Lecturer in Interpreting and Translation Studies at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on spoken language public service interpreting in a range of settings including asylum procedure, police interviews and social work. Her recent work has focused on interpreting for victim-survivors of domestic abuse and on the history of public service interpreting in the UK in the mid-late 20th century. She is co-investigator on the Interpreter-mediated Mental Health Act Assessment (INforMHAA) study and co-author of Dialogue Interpreting: A guide to interpreting in public services and the community, published in 2016 with Routledge.

Naomi Sheneman


Naomi Sheneman has been professionally involved in the interpreting profession since 2000 in various roles. She is a consultant, independent researcher, educator, interpreter diagnostician, and interpreter. She was the second deaf person to earn a Ph.D. degree in Interpretation from Gallaudet University in 2018. She presents and trains both nationally and internationally focusing on ethics, deaf interpreters’ work, power dynamics in interpretation, and medical interpreting. Her most recent publication in 2021 with John Benjamins Publishing Company argued for the need for critical disability lenses in interpretation and translation for both spoken and signed languages.


Lorraine Leeson, Lianne Quigley, 

Lianne Quigley


Lianne Quigley is a research assistant for Justisigns 2 project at the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin. She is a Deaf interpreter since September 2021. She is chairperson of the Irish Deaf Society (IDS) – a National Deaf-led organisation, she is currently serving as IDS representative in Irish Sign Language (ISL) Act 2017 Cross community committee. She is a representative for IDS on  Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) network which they have a common interest in the implementation of UNCRPD in Ireland and she is a member of the Disability Participation and Consultation Network (DCPN). Prior to 2018, She was co-chairperson of the ISL recognition campaign

Prof. Lorraine Leeson


Prof. Lorraine Leeson is Professor in Deaf Studies at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Ireland. She is a practicing interpreter, interpreter educator, and holds a PhD in linguistics.  Her research work is multidisciplinary in nature and she has published widely on aspects of the linguistics and applied linguistics of signed languages with a specific interest in Irish Sign Language and in the area of sign language interpreting.She is Trinity’s Principal Investigator on the Justisigns 2 Project, which seeks to develop evidence based learning resources for stakeholders supporting victims/survivors of domestic, sexual and gender based violence who engage with services via interpretation.

Azaria Francis


Azaria Francis as been a Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI) for 8 years.  For the past 5 years she has worked in a VRS company as an interpreter, interpreter supervisor and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer.  She has led training sessions for interpreters in the UK and Europe, initially in ‘Race and Interpreting’ as well as other EDI related topics.  She is one of the Directors of the Interpreters of Colour Network (IOCN) and passionately believes in promoting their mission of ‘support, education and celebrate’, to address the under-representation of marginalised groups within the interpreting and translation profession.


Octavian Robinson


Octavian Robinson (Gallaudet University) is an associate professor of Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University. He earned his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in history. He also holds a M.A. in Deaf Studies from Gallaudet. A professional historian by training, his research agenda is grounded in Disability and Deaf Studies. He has published on history, ableist rhetoric, citizenship, disability justice, language attitudes, signed language interpretation, and linguistic rights. His current thread of publications explores disability rhetoric surrounding language attitudes as informed by gender, race, and sexuality..

The Cincinnati AA/Black Interpreter Collaborative: The Power of Counterspace

Amber Burley Munnerlyn

Amber Burley Munnerlyn is a Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf, Inc. nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter since 2008. In 2004, She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Maryville College in Maryville, TN with a double major in American Sign Language Interpreting and ASL/Deaf Studies. Upon graduation she got her start in South Carolina as an interpreter in the K-12 setting, and freelance interpreter where she remained for 4 years. After that time she returned to her hometown in Cincinnati to earn her dual Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling from Xavier University. She worked as a mental health clinician serving Deaf children and their families. While studying for her masters Amber began working in Video Relay Interpreting. She was able to work for the same VRS company in Puerto Rico, Atlanta, and Cincinnati. She also spent 5 years in corporate management with the same company in both Atlanta and Cincinnati.  She had been an adjunct instructor for 8 years teaching interpreting and ASL classes and currently Amber is an Assistant Professor in the American Sign Language Department at the

Akilah Z. Richardson

Akilah Z. Richardson entered the interpreting profession in 2016 upon graduating with her Associate’s Degree from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.  She went on to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Sign Language Interpreting from Wright State University in 2019.  For the past six years, Akilah has indulged in a variety of interpreting settings and is currently working as a Staff Interpreter out of the Office of Institutional Accessibility at the University of Cincinnati. Akilah serves on the Leadership Team for Cincinnati African American/Black Interpreter Collaborative (CAABIC). While on the Leadership Team for CAABIC, she received her National Interpreter Certification from the Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf, Inc. in 2021.  She also serves as a member on the Grant Writing Team securing funds for CAABIC member’s scholarships, training, and programming.


Crystal Stewart

Crystal Stewart earned her Associates Degree from the Interpreter Training Program at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in 2004. She has been a working American Sign Language Interpreter since 2004, amassing a variety of rich experiences along her journey. Crystal began her career in the educational field. As an educational interpreter for a Greater Cincinnati Area Educational Service Center she served a range of ages and abilities from preschool through vocational school and job readiness programs. After three years she transitioned to a support staff/interpreter position for a behavioral health agency with a focus on Deaf children and their families. She has crafted a diverse 15+ year career in community-based interpreting, medical and mental health, corporate, post-secondary, legal, and video relay service (VRS) interpreting, and video relay. She is currently serving on the Leadership and Grant Writing Teams of the Cincinnati African American/Black Interpreter Collaborative, CAABIC. Her commitment to CAABIC has resulted in workshop and presentation experience, exposure to grant processes, and endeavors in professional development. Crystal earned her National Interpreter Certification in 2021 and strives to pave the way for future interpreters to enjoy fulfilling careers. Crystal is committed to excellence and authenticity in everything she does.

Elizabeth Jean-Baptiste

Elizabeth Jean-Baptiste, Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati, is a RID certified interpreter since 2001 and educator since 2005. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Signed Language Interpreting and Master’s degree in Adult Education and Administrative Leadership from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Studies at the University of Cincinnati with an emphasis in Action Research. Her research areas of interest include collaborative change research, critical race theory, critical pedagogies, and relational teaching and learning.

Conference Day 2

Selina Jacques-King


Selina Jacques-King is a freelance British Sign Language/English interpreter based in the West Midlands region of the UK. She graduated with a BA Hons BSL/English plus foundation in 2012 from the University of Wolverhampton. She has been working as a freelance interpreter since 2018. To further her studies and achieve RSLI status, Selina enrolled at the University of Wolverhampton in 2018 as part of the first cohort of the newly established Interpreting MA. Selina graduated in September 2021 (although the ceremony was delayed until July 2022 due to Covid).

Selina is an active member of ASLI as a regional rep for the West Midlands. She is also an active member of IOCN as part of the social media team. Selina states, “ I love interpreting, I love talking about interpreting, I feel lucky to be part of such a great profession.

I look forward to meeting more of my colleagues from around Europe at the Efsli conference”.

Maartje De Meulder


Maartje De Meulder is a senior researcher at HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, and Honorary Research Fellow at Heriot-Watt University. Her research interests are in sign language policy and planning, sign language technologies, family language policy, sign language interpreting studies and discourses around inclusive education. She has published in a range of different journals including Language Policy, Applied Linguistics Review, The Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Human Rights Quarterly, and Translation and Interpreting Studies, and has co-edited Innovations in Deaf Studies (Oxford University Press, 2017) and The Legal Recognition of Sign Languages (Multilingual Matters, 2019). She is currently working with Hilde Haualand and Jemina Napier on a special issue on ‘Deconstructing sign language interpreting as a social institution’, to appear in Translation and Interpreting Studies.

Paul Belmonte


Paul is a specialist healthcare interpreter working for the National Health Service in south-east Scotland and also loves interpreting in performance, historical settings and the arts. He recently graduated with an MSc in advancing practice in signed/spoken language interpreting from Queen Margaret University.

Katharina Cordts

Katharina is a certified sign language interpreter for German and German Sign Language.
She graduated from Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau in 2008.
In 2020, she founded the association “Initiative Augenhöhe e.V.” with deaf and hearing colleagues. In addition to her work as a freelance interpreter, she has been running workshops, training sessions and courses there for two years.
The topic of code mixing in everyday interpreting has been a constant part of her professional life while working as the designated interpreter for a late-deafened professional.

Nikki Champagnie Harris

Nikki Champagnie Harris has been working as an interpreter for 25 years, born of mixed Irish and Caribbean parentage and Bristol based. Nikki grew up with parents that really celebrated ‘difference’, and one of her favourite recollections is of her father sayings, “it would be boring if we were all the same.

Nikki attended Bristol University Deaf studies in 1996 -1998 where she completed her DipHE, whilst giving birth to her first child. Nikki was one of the first  I.O.C.’s to appear on the CACDP/NRCPD register in the 90’s. In 2000 she qualified after successfully completing the fast track scheme, that was available at that time.

She also decided to follow her passion in mental health. After completing a series of courses she registered with BACP in 2005. She worked both as an interpreter & as a psychodynamic counsellor for Womankind, Sign Health & Gloucestershire Counselling Service, for a further four years. When her father became ill, she decided to take a career break from therapy.


For the last ten years Nikki has worked in the arts and media. She acknowledges it took a while to find her own people within the interpreting profession, that felt the same way she did about diversity and the importance of casting interpreters. Now as a founding board member of Interpreters of Colour Network. Nikki finds herself surrounded by global majority interpreters to lean on and to learn  from, whilst considering how the IOCN agenda, can hopefully make some changes within the profession. “Interpreters are so focused on the deaf and hearing paradigm we have forgotten about diversity & all the other cultural nuances, that should be in the mix, whilst working within our diverse deaf community.”           

Aurélia Nana Gassa Gonga, MA
PhD Candidate and LSF/French interpreter
Radboud University, Centre for Language Studies

Aurélia Nana Gassa Gonga has been a qualified French Sign Language interpreter since 2012. Since 2018, she has started a PhD about international sign used by deaf and hearings interpreters, at Radboud University.
She is an active member of the French association of Sign Language interpreters (AFILS) and works for better recognition of the profession in France and abroad.

Onno Crasborn, PhD
Professor and NGT/Dutch interpreter
Radboud University, Centre for Language Studies

Onno Crasborn has been studying the linguistic structure and use of Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT) for over two decades. He has played a major role in the development of
sign language corpora and related language technologies, including the ELAN annotation software and the Signbank lexical database. Ongoing work studies the use of international sign in cross-signing context and in conference interpreting. In 2005, he obtained his NGT interpreting certification.

Ellen Ormel, PhD
Assistant Professor
Radboud University, Centre for Language Studies

Ellen Ormel has a mixed background in special education, psychology and linguistics. Her main line of research consists of language processing in bilinguals, in particular deaf and hearing bimodal bilinguals of a signed and a spoken language. Currently, she is involved in the project “deaf communication without a shared language” investigating international sign communication used by deaf and hearing interpreters.

Rachel Mapson

Rachel is a registered British Sign Language/English interpreter with over 28 years of experience of working in a wide variety of domains. She completed a doctorate at the University of Bristol in 2015 and her main research interests are im/politeness in signed language and the manifestation of rapport management in interpreting. Since 2016 she has combined part-time freelance interpreting work with working at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, where she is Programme Leader of the MSc Advancing Practice in Signed/Spoken Language Interpreting, an innovative online programme for experienced interpreters. In 2019 Rachel led a Scottish Government funded review of the BSL/English interpreting landscape in Scotland.

Linda Duncan

Linda Duncan is a British Sign Language Interpreter living and working in Scotland, with nearly 20 year’s experience of working in a wide range of domains. She is completing her MSc in Advancing Practice in Signed/Spoken Language Interpreting at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. It is the initial findings from her research that she will be presenting in this session.

Robert Skinner


Robert Skinner is a qualified British Sign Language/English interpreter and lecturer/researcher at Heriot-Watt University. In 2020 Robert completed his PhD at Heriot-Watt University titled ‘Approximately there: video-mediated interpreting in frontline police services’. Robert has worked as a Research Associate on several interpreter-related projects, these include the Insign project, Justisigns and the UK Sign Language Translator & Interpreter census.

Karolien Gebruers

Karolien Gebruers is a white Belgian hearing woman who has been working as an interpreter Dutch/Flemish Sign Language since 2012. Occasionally, she also carries out International Sign interpreting work. Karolien has a background in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (BAs from Lessius University College, Belgium) and Interpreting (MA from Humak University of Applied Sciences, Finland).

She is a second-year PhD candidate at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. Her research centres around gender in the International Sign conference interpreting context (see SIGNS@HWU). Her Twitter handle is @KaroGebruers and you can contact her via

Mike Balinger

Mike is a freelance BSL/English Interpreter, Visiting Lecturer & PhD Candidate at the University of Wolverhampton. He has been a full-time interpreter for over 20 years and loves working with the Deaf and hearing communities. He feels very privileged to be an interpreter and loves the challenges and experiences it brings.


Mike was delighted to be appointed to the list of Visiting Lecturers on the Degree course for BSL/Interpreting at Wolverhampton back in 2014 and loves working with the team at the University to play a part in the learning and development of future BSL/English interpreters working within the UK.

In 2019 Mike started a new journey starting a part-time PhD study at the University of Wolverhampton, researching the stresses and strains placed on BSL/English interpreters as part of their role and what effects these may have on BSL/English interpreters’ professional careers. Mike is now at the stage of staging to write up his findings of the PhD research.

Mark Hetherington


Mark has been practicing as a registered and fully qualified British Sign Language / English interpreter since 2012, having completed a post-graduate diploma at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). He currently balances his work as part of an in-house team of interpreters at the University of Central Lancashire, while also working as a freelancer.

Mark is currently undertaking an MSc in Advancing Practice in Signed / Spoken Language Interpreting at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Having interpreted for a variety of deaf professionals across a multitude of different domains, Mark is interested in furthering research around the relational dynamics between Deaf Professionals and their Designated Interpreter/s.

Caron Wolfenden


Caron has been interpreting for over 25 years and is now working towards retirement.  She re-trained as an interpreter in her mid-30s and has enjoyed every moment of this profession:


‘I see every day as a new day, each interpreting decision I make I approach with a fresh gaze, even if I have been working with the same client for years. The only common denominator in my work is me, and it is my responsibility to keep my outlook fresh.


I do this by challenging myself and others to keep looking and talking about what we do, in supervision, in groups, in research projects and with our clients.  I am still learning and my latest venture has been to train as a yoga teacher and make this accessible to deaf students.’


Caron is also a mentor, qualified professional practice supervisor, has previously trained and assessed interpreters and has attended efsli since 2004, often minute-taking for the AGM!

I am Omoyele Davey and am mixed heritage – Nigerian /  Irish. I completed the BA Hons Degree in Interpreting BSL/English in 2002 at Wolverhampton University and have been working in the field of interpreting for just over 20 years now. I have worked in practically every domain going but now specialise in mental health, social care, conferences and performance interpreting, variety is the spice of freelance life after all!

Through my varied experiences in different domains, I felt there was a lack of professional support for myself and other Interpreters working with no time or space to reflect and offload. I decided to embark upon a journey to facilitate the much needed support that was lacking. I qualified as a Professional Supervisor in November 2015 as part of the first cohort of Registered Sign Language Interpreters in the United Kingdom on the ‘Diploma in Supervision’ course run by ‘360 Supervision’ and have ben supervising Signed Language interpreters and other professionals for . My experiential journey on the course has inspired me to spread the word about the benefits of supervision and have given presentations and webinars worldwide on the subject of professional supervision.

I have truly enjoyed seeing professional supervision take off and be embraced by the interpreting community and hope that supervision will become recognised as a necessary aspect of every interpreters working life to encourage self reflection, self-care, safe practice and longevity in this career