Poetry and Histories of British Sign Language

BSL Heritage: Poetry and Histories of British Sign Language

As part of the Manchester BSL Fest 2024, come and join us to find out more about the poetry and history of BSL at the Manchester Poetry Library. Includes performances by the BSL Poet Laureate. 

Wednesday 24 April 3pm -5pm. Refreshments Available. 

Tickets are free, but places are limited: please register HERE.

Come to find out more about the cultural heritage of BSL or to share your thoughts about a BSL poetry collection at Manchester Poetry Library!  

  • Performance by BSL Poet Laureate Kabir Kapoor
  • Performance by VV artist Ish’s VV World
  • Presentation: ‘1792 and the Boom of Modern BSL’, Peter Brown (City Lit) 
  • Introduction:  Early Histories of Sign Language in the UK, Rosamund Oates (MMU)
  • Discussion:  A future BSL poetry at Manchester Poetry Library? 


The first BSL poet laureate, Kabir Kapoor, will be performing his signed poetry, which can be enjoyed by everyone. 

Ish’s VV World will do a Visual Vernacular performance (find out more about VV here), drawing on a mix of mime, signs and bodily gestures. 


Deaf historian Peter Brown of City Lit in London will present on ‘1792 and the Boom of Modern BSL’. 

Rosamund Oates (Manchester Met University) will share some of her research into deafness before 1760.  https://twitter.com/DrRosamundOates

After the performances, we will discuss the possibility of a BSL collection of poetry at Manchester Met University and Manchester Poetry Library:  we would like your thoughts!

Event open to everyone. This event will be in British Sign Language and English, with interpreters for both. Wheelchair accessible. For other access requirements, please be in touch:  email poetrylibrary@mmu.ac.uk or call 0161 247 6106 and we’ll be happy to support you.


Supported by the British Academy and Race, Genders and Sexualities Research Group, MMU. 

AD: 17th century book with drawings of man making different gestures, described in Latin. 

These workshops are being funded by;