01 Gen 2022 08:00

Dott.ssa Sigrid Slettebakk Berge



Interview Sigrid Slettebakk Berge


1. Please provide a brief outline of your training and scientific activity.

I work as an associate professor in pedagogy and special need education, at the Department of Teacher Education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology/NTNU, located in Trondheim, Norway. I previously worked as an associated professor in sign language and interpreting education at NTNU, and before that, I worked as an interpreter for deaf and deafblind persons. My background as an interpreter (between spoken and sign language and spoken and tactile sign language) laid the ground for my research, focusing on interpreter mediated dialogues for deafblind persons, and interpreter mediated education for deaf students in mainstream high schools. I have mostly conducted video-ethnographic studies, analyzing the sequential interaction order between the participants, and tried to understand how their actions are related to their professional roles and visions, and to give some insights on how deaf and deafblind people experience (or don’t) accessibility, inclusion, and participation.


2. Please state your reasons for choosing Venice and the Department for your research and teaching stay.

I wanted to be a visiting scholar in Venice at the Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies because this university has a large population of students of Italian sign language. I was interested in meeting professor Anna Cardinaletti, one of the key figures for the sign language studies at Ca’ Foscari. Due to her effort, over a long period, the Italian sign language program has developed. Ca' Foscari University has 20 years of teaching LIS: more than 800 students have learnt sign language in the 3-year bachelor and almost 300 in the master bachelor. Students find job later as communication assistants in schools, cultural mediators, experts on inclusion and accessibility, sign language teachers. To my recognition, this is the university in Europe with the longest tradition with offering sign language studies, and the largest number of students. I wanted to learn more about the organization of the program, the teaching practices, and the departments plans for development. It was interesting to find out that Italy and Norway have lots in common regarding the status of sign languages as minority languages, and that we share similar experiences when it comes to establishing quality in teaching practices.


3. Have you ever had a research collaboration with the teaching staff of Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies in the past?

Yes, I have also been so lucky that one of the PhD students of the department, Laura Volpato, under the supervision of professor Anna Cardinaletti, recently had a research stay with me and my colleague Eli Raanes, at the Department of teacher education at NTNU in Trondheim. Our mutual interests are tactile communication and the use of social haptic signals when interpreters or caretakers are facilitating deafblind individuals by providing them with information about the context or other participants’ actions. This is a very interesting project, and I will follow Laura’s work and hope for future research collaborations.




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