Deaf Studies Lab

CECC-Deaf Studies Lab-imagem CGil

The Deaf Studies Lab results from the work that has been pursued by the first Portuguese researchers with specific, graduated academic training in the field of Deaf Culture, and is transversal to the several research groups and scientific areas to which CECC, the Research Centre for Communication and Culture from Universidade Católica Portuguesa, is dedicated to.



The main goal of the laboratory is to produce research outputs and activities within the scope of Deaf Studies, an academic domain committed to a thorough understanding of the different dynamics concerned to Deaf communities and their daily lives. More precisely, the research team aims to focus exclusively on the study of such communities and its minorities, sign languages and the Deaf Culture, highlighting a cultural perspective over the objects of study. Ultimately, the Deaf Studies Lab is carrying out a pioneer work in the Portuguese context.



On the Deaf Studies Lab, the work is undertaken by researchers who are either Deaf or fluent in the Portuguese Sign Language or in another sign language;

Signs (in any sign language) must be taken as crucial elements in the internal dynamics of the Deaf community, thus, of the analysis;

The cultural approach of the Deaf world must constantly guide the research, making justice to the cultural turn which took place during the 80s in the scientific field of Deaf Studies, at an international level.


  • Deaf Culture
  • Cultural Deaf Studies
  • Deaf Art
  • Deaf Education
  • History of the Deaf Community
  • History of the Portuguese Sign Language
  • Psychology of Deafness
  • Translation and Interpreting Studies of sign languages


Scientific activities

4 December 2023 | Organization of dissemination event & launch of tematic issue

  • Who: Cristina Gil, Genie Gertz, Joana Morêdo Pereira and Tom Humphries, with Alexandra Lopes, Ana Margarida Abrantes, Helena Carmo, and the Diffractions editorial board Amadea Kovič, Federico Bossone and Hugo Sousa Simões 
  • Where: Sala de Exposições, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Lisbon)
  • When:
    • At 5 pm: dissemination session on the Deaf Studies Lab;
    • At 7 pm: launch of Diffractions, No.7 on Deaf Culture.

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15 November 2023 | Participation in workshop organized for the national day of Portuguese Sign Language (Dia Nacional da Língua Gestual Portuguesa-LGP):  

  • Who: Carlos Gonçalves, Maria José Freire, Cristina Gil and Joana Pereira (professors of the undergraduate program on Translation and Interpreting of LGP, from Escola Superior de Educação-Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal)
  • Where: Biblioteca Pública MunicipaI de Setúbal
  • Goal: to sensitize 1st to 4th grade students about Deaf Culture
  • Partnership: between Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal and the County of Setúbal

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4-5 September 2023 | Oral presentation at Hapticconf 2023: Conference on Social-Haptic Communication 

  • Where: Aula Magna Silvio Trentin, Ca’ Dolfin, Venice/online
  • Who: Bruno Mendes (Universidade do Porto), Cristina Gil (Escola Superior de Educação, Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal), Paula Liques (CED António Aurélio da Costa Ferreira da Casa Pia de Lisboa, I.P.), and Orquídea Coelho (Universidade do Porto).

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8 July 2023 | Oral presentations in the training program for teachers and professors of Portuguese Sign Language 

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28-30 June 2023 | Oral presentation at the event PROTECTION, AUTONOMY, EMANCIPATION - An (im)possible alliance?

  • Who: Cristina Gil ("Deaftopia : représentations utopiques et rêves communautaires des Sourds" - session in English translated to French & Langue des Signes Française)
  • Where: EHESS – Centre des colloques, Campus Condorcet Aubervilliers (Paris, France)

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12 May 2023 | Invited lecture in the aim of the cycle of talks Experiências para Partilhar

  • Who: Cristina Gil ("Guia-interpretação de Surdocegos")
  • Where: Escola Superior de Educação do Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra
  • Type of activity: 4 hour workshop

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21 April 2023 | Organization of the event Conferência Comemorativa dos 25 anos da Licenciatura TILGP at Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal, dedicated to the topic of "Deaf Art and Culture"

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20 April 2023 | Organization of the scientific activity Liga Extraordinária de Futuros Intérpretes

  • Who: Cristina Gil (ESE/IPS), Joana Conde e Sousa (ESEC) and Neuza Santana (ESEC)
  • Type of activity: warm-up for the event Conferência de Comemoração dos 25 anos de TILGP on "Deaf Art and Culture", including a peddy-paper and crash-courses 
  • Partnership and interchange: professors and students from the programs on Portuguese Sign Language Interpreting, ministred at Escola Superior de Educação-Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal (ESE/IPS) and Escola Superior de Educação de Coimbra (ESEC).

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1 April 2023 | Open lecture on Deaf Culture and Interpreting, and their challenges ("Cultura Surda e Interpretação: Desafios")

  • Who: Cristina Gil (ESE/IPS) and Helena Carmo (ICS/UCP)
  • Where: Sala de Exposições, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Lisbon)
  • Partnership: between Escola Superior de Educação-Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal (ESE/IPS) and Instituto de Ciências da Saúde-Universidade Católica Portuguesa (ICS/UCP) 
  • Participants: around 60

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29 March 2023 | Participation as invited speaker and specialist on Deaf Culture for CNN Portugal news outlet

  • Who: Cristina Gil
  • Outlet: "No som ou no silêncio", by Wilson Ledo, for CNN Portugal
  • Segments:

Part 1 Is Deafness a handicap?

Part 2 A Deaf person doesn't feel like he/she is handicapped

Part 3 Is it ethical to long for a Deaf child?

Part 4 Not all Deaf people want the ability to hear


25 February 2023 | Oral presentations in workshops on Deaf Studies 

  • Who: Cristina Gil ("Deaftopia") and Joana Morêdo Pereira ("Canto Gestual feito por artistas Surdos em Portugal e no Reino Unido: Uma investigação internacional")
  • Organized by: Associação Portuguesa de Surdos 
  • Participants: around 33

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Research outputs

Gil, C. 2023. "Deaftopia: Utopian Representations and Community Dreams by Sign Language Peoples". Liam Benison (ed.), Utopian Possibilities: Models, Theories, Critiques, Porto: Centro de Estudos Ingleses, de tradução e Anglo-Portugueses (CETAPS), U. Porto Press, pp. 183-190.

Open access


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