A Bearsden woman has been awarded an honorary degree by Heriot-Watt University in recognition of her ‘outstanding leading contributions to the development of services for deaf people and the advancement of British Sign Language’.
Dr Lilian Lawson, OBE, who has years of experience of managing services and organisations, including the British Deaf Association where she was Head of administration and centenary organising secretary, was awarded a Doctorate of Letters.
Dr Lawson was also the Director of the Scottish Council on Deafness (SCoD) from 2000 to 2013. She led SCoD’s campaign for the legal recognition of BSL in Scotland and also campaigned for a national mental health service for Deaf people in Scotland. She secured funding and ran counselling training and counselling awareness projects for members of Scotland’s deaf communities.
She managed the Strathclyde Regional Sign Language Interpreting Service and was Regional Director for RNID Scotland.
Lilian has been involved in setting up organisations such as Deaf Professionals Scotland and Deaf History Scotland. She is currently the treasurer of Deaf History Scotland and was involved in organising the Deaf History International 2015 Conference in Edinburgh. She was recently elected as Chair of Deaf Connections, one of the world’s oldest Deaf charities, which is based in Glasgow.
She was a member of the Working Committee of the Scottish Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf in 1978 which led to the Scottish Association of Interpreters for the Deaf, now known as Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters and is co-author of ‘Words in Hand’, a structural analysis of the signs of British Sign Language, published in 1980.