One in a thousand people are profoundly deaf from birth or early childhood. In the past, they were called ‘deaf and dumb’, a term that is now unacceptable to the modern deaf community which has British and Irish Sign Languages as its core identity. Until recently, educational policies advised hearing families not to sign, and oral methods of teaching were enforced at the residential schools in Belfast and Dublin.
Dr Jonathan Vischer is the author of the recently published historical novel, ‘The Wonderful Discovery of Elizabeth Sawyer’. Jonathan spent five years mapping the life of Elizabeth Sawyer (1572-1621), who was hanged as a witch in 1621 and is commemorated in the Jacobean tragicomedy, ‘The Witch of Edmonton’. Jonathan will read extracts from his novel and share his findings about witchcraft in post-Reformation England. He will also discuss what Sawyer’s life and death reveal about the changing status of women in Tudor and Jacobean times.