top of page

The VLP Management Committee and our brilliant conference volunteers are thrilled to

announce that the programme for VLP Conference 2021 has now been confirmed!

The conference title is 'Evolve: Adapting Professions in an Accelerating World'.

Our conference will take place on the 5th, 6th and 7th of February 2021. Below you can find an outline of what you can expect when you attend but please do keep checking back here for the latest updates including keynote speakers and workshop facilitator's details.  To ensure the event is a roaring success, we have roped in the expertise of Tom Pearson at Wild Duck Productions ( to help manage the whole online event for us.

Ticket sales are now open. Log into your LoveAdmin account in the member's area and click on 'Events' to register! Don't miss the Early Bird offer.

We look forward to seeing you (virtually) there! Any questions, please email

Conference 2021 -  'Evolve: Adapting Professions in an Accelerating World'.

How does change in our industry impact us as professionals? How can we evolve our practice to embrace change and ensure continued access to language services? Join us online to explore how we can develop digital health and confidence whilst maintaining professional wellbeing to prepare us for the challenges ahead.

Our first online conference

••• Sessions to evolve your digital skillset and maintain professional wellbeing

••• Up to 13 hours of structured CPD

••• Watch or rewatch sessions at a convenient time*

••• All sessions will be interpreted into BSL/English**

••• Connect with and message delegates and presenters with our conference app

Learning Outcomes

• Develop greater awareness of the impact that COVID-19 has had on our professions

• Evolve knowledge of Zoom and the digital technologies that can be incorporated into practice

• How to stay safe online and market yourself in a digital world

• Expand knowledge of CPD requirements

• Focus on the importance of wellbeing

Cost: just £65.00 per delegate

Early bird offer - register by 15th January to receive free VLP merchandise featuring our new branding!


Places are limited. To reserve your place, simply log in to your LoveAdmin account and click on ‘Events’ before 2nd February 2021 As with previous VLP conferences, a certificate will be issued where you will be able to self-select sessions attended. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable


Conference Programme 2021


Friday 5th February 2021  - 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Peter Salkeld • Carol Haythornthwaite & Van Holtom • Dr. Sally Gillespie

VLP Committee Updates

The chair of the association, Peter, achieved his degree in Social Policy in Wales and this underpinning knowledge led to him joining the VLP Management Committee in 2018 to work on policy documentation and the formation of VLP as a legal entity.  Throughout his career he has worked predominantly in professional, medical and social services settings in London, the South East and the East of England.

Since 2019, Peter and the Management Committee have been engaging with members across the represented professions and regions; they are working on a dynamic repositioning of VLP as an inclusive organisation promoting high standards through support, collaboration and representation. Peter believes that VLP should be a leader in its field and that VLP’s strength lies in the collective knowledge of its members. Peter will introduce the conference and provide an update and overview on the work of VLP.

Tribute To Alan Haythornthwaite

VLP Covid-19 Impact Survey Research

Dr Sally Gillespie is a BSL/English interpreter, researcher. She studied her undergraduate Degree at the University of Wolverhampton and got her PhD from Queen’s University Belfast and now lives and works in Belfast (and online!) Conflict metaphors really aren’t my jam but in March 2020 we all got consigned to a war that, outside some very clever epidemiology and futurist circles, none of us expected. Not much was known about the ’novel coronavirus’ at that time and even less was known about how if would affect our profession. You don’t know what you don’t know, but we knew there was a lot we didn’t know! With great foresight, while staring into a vacuum of information, VLP commissioned the VLP Impact Study to find out what we needed to know- now is our chance to look back and find out what we learnt! Travel back in time with Sally to a time where 'R-rates’ and ’social distancing’ were alien concepts and journey through 6-months of the last year to see how the virus impacted our profession and how we responded to the changes it enforced.


Saturday 6th February 2021 - 9:30am - 10:30am

Bruce Cameron

Zoom / Tech Masterclass Beginner session


Saturday 6th February 2021 -10:45am - 11:45am

Bruce Cameron

Zoom / Tech Masterclass
Intermediate to Advanced


Saturday 6th February 2021 -12:00pm - 1:00pm

Bruce Cameron

Zoom / Tech Masterclass Q& A


Saturday 6th February 2021 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Stephen Ellis-Menton

"It's all about me! Making the most out of your CPD and the new NRCPD requirements."

Stephen came into interpreting after training as a teacher, completing the BA Ed (QTS) at Liverpool Hope University. Stephen qualified as RSLI while working as a teacher when he was 23.  After becoming freelance, Stephen has worked with a range of organisations to establish and deliver mentorship programs and training for in-house interpreters. He qualified as an assessor after completing the Teaching and Quality Assurance Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (TAQA) at The City of Liverpool College in 2013 and is currently the lead tutor and assessor for the Diploma in BSL-English Interpreting at BSL Interpretations.

Effective CPD needs planning to ensure that your development needs are being met. If you are aware of what you need to do, in order to improve your practice, great but how will you make your plans come to fruition? What is it that you need to start focusing on improving? What areas of your practice do you need to pay more attention to? Which courses or activities should you do to not only gain enough points for revalidation with NRCPD but also improve your practice?

CPD should be about quality rather than quantity and to this end we need tools to help us make the most out of our CPD and to also ensure that we can satisfy any inspection requests from NRCPD. (or other regulatory body!)

This session should equipe you with all you need to know about CPD requirements and provide you with some tools to make the most of your CPD.


Saturday 6th February 2021 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Sally Austen

LSP Mental Health

Dr Sally Austen has worked in deaf mental health care for 30 years. In that time she has worked for the NHS at the London National Deaf Services (adult), the Royal Throat Nose and Ear hospital, National Deaf Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (Dudley) and Birmingham National Deaf Mental Health Services (adult).

In her private work, Austen Psychology, she works as an Expert Witness in court case concerning deaf and HOH clients. She also teaches and supervises groups of interpreters in working with clients who have mental health problems or learning disabilities; and in managing their own well-being.

She is the co-editor of Deafness In Mind (Austen and Crocker) and Deafness and Challenging Behaviour (Austen and Jeffery). She is currently co-editing an introductory guide for hearing professionals (clinical, legal and educational)

Cognition is relevant in terms of intelligence, knowledge, language, insight, Theory of Mind and emotional experience.

An understanding of cognition is vital to both the work and the well being of Language Service Professionals.

Just as some tasks of interpreting or translation are not possible without sufficient background information or context, so some tasks are impossible due to the cognitive abilities or actions of the client. The ‘client’ is various: eg

  • a deaf person who perhaps has a known mental health or language limitation

  • a hearing professional who does not know what they don’t know

  • an agency who expects their LSPs to work within their Code of Conduct but then asks them to complete tasks outside of their (or anyone’s) ability.

This presentation hopes to enable LSPs to judge what is realistic in their expectations and evaluation of their work – and in doing so protect themselves from trauma, anxiety or burn out.

meeting deaf and HOH clients for the first time (Austen and Holmes), which should be published in Spring 2021.


Sunday 7th February 2021 - 9:30am - 11:00am

Linzi Weatherson

Staying Safe Online & Digital Marketing

Linzi has been studying BSL since 2010 and working as a Level 3 Lipspeaker since 2012. She is Social Media Officer for ALAS and manages all digital content for both the ALAS and Lipspeaker UK websites. Linzi is now a Trainee Sign Language Interpreter (TSLI) and hopes to achieve RSLI status in 2022.


Sunday 7th February 2021 - 11:30am - 1:00pm

Audrey Simmons

Interpreters Of Colour Network

Audrey Simmons has been working in the profession for over 20 years. She was one of the founding members of BASLIN- Black and Asian sign language interpreters network, which was set-up in the 90's to support Black and Asian SLI's.


Back then the group was small, but much needed. Now she is a member of the steering committee of IOCN - Interpreters of Colour Network, a network that was setup in the wake of George Floyd's murder, to support interpreters who consider themselves to be of an ethnic background that exists to support and address the needs within our profession that haven't been yet to date.


When she is not interpreting she is a Humanist UK wedding celebrant conducting non religious weddings.

This session will look at why IOCN was set-up and Audrey as a board member will outline some of the vision of how we want to support IOCN members and why this is important to our wider Dear community.


Sunday 7th February 2021 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Ali Hetherington

Professional Supervision

Ali qualified as a sign language interpreter in 1999 and works as a freelance interpreter based in the North West of England. Her interpreting work is primarily in mental health and community settings. Ali is committed to the development of professional supervision within the sign language interpreting profession and qualified as a supervisor 2009. She has published papers based on her MA research into work-related stress within the interpreting profession and the benefits of supervision to support the work of interpreters. She co-founded 360 Supervision in 2014, which provides training to sign language interpreters, including a Diploma in Supervision specifically tailored to the needs, experience, and environments within which sign language interpreters work.

Supervision is a confidential, safe place for you to reflect on decisions made at work, explore working relationships with clients and colleagues, discuss dilemmas and consider how the work impacts on you emotionally. Interpreting during the pandemic has brought new challenges and supervision can also support you to develop strategies to preserve your well-being and adapt to the current changes. By the end of this presentation, you will have a clearer idea of what supervision is and how it can benefit you and your practice. You will also be given practical guidance on what to look for in a supervisor and how to find a supervisor that is right for you.


Sunday 7th February 2021 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm

6:30pm - 8:00pm

LSP Resilience (Keynote)

Jules is an experienced community interpreter. Her PhD examined the ways in which the interpreter impacts upon workplace interaction, exploring the interpreter’s role and focussing on humour and small talk in meetings. Jules continues to support the development of the interpreting profession as a trainer, research-practitioner, and consultant. She is a qualified Professional Supervisor, and is passionate about supporting interpreters to be healthy and resilient practitioners.

‘‘I am good enough’- how to be a resilient practitioner’

Do you ever have doubts about your skills and ability? Feel that your professional competency is hampered by a lack of confidence? Does a belief that you are not ‘good enough’ prevent you from reaching your full potential? In this presentation I will discuss the powerful emotion of shame, which is where our internal script of inadequacy originates from. I will look at what shame is, and how it can damage and limit our relationships with deaf and hearing clients, as well as with our colleagues. I will suggest strategies for building resilience to shame, with a focus on empathy, compassion and self-compassion. In order to be confident, assured and resilient practitioners we need to change our thinking- this presentation will give you some insights in to how to start that journey.

bottom of page