About Us

My name is Mick Canavan and I am currently the sole director of SignWeb – a small social enterprise which manages this e-learning portal.  My wife’s name is Flo with over 20 years’ experience of teaching languages (English, French and Spanish) to a wide range of students.  She has qualifications in Teaching Foreign Languages and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.  She also holds a postgraduate Diploma in Deaf Bilingualism.  Flo created all of the lessons and corrected all my grammar mistakes as she went along! 

Our personal interest, or rather, awareness of the Deaf community began in 1994 when we were told that child was Deaf.  We decided fairly quickly, and against the advice of the Local Authority, to allow our child to have BSL as her first language.  It seemed obvious to us that British Sign Language (BSL) offered the best hope for an inclusive family environment and we also believed that BSL would offer our daughter the best chance for her to reach her full potential in life.  I am happy to say, all these years later, that our choice turned out to be the correct one for our family as a whole and for our daughter in particular!   Issues relating to language and cognition, cochlear implants, Deaf community, Deaf rights… etc etc occupied our minds in an intense way for many years and we have definitely had our ups and downs. However, the journey has been an enlightening one and it is hopefully far from over.

After a few years of fighting the local authority in East Sussex – who did everything they could to stop us using British Sign Language – we moved to Bristol in 1995.  Since then, I’ve been involved in a large number of projects (both paid and unpaid) relating to Deaf ‘issues’.  Initially I worked at the Centre for Deaf Studies (University of Bristol) both as a researcher and also as a project manager for various technical EU/UK projects before leaving in 2003 to set up a company called EyeGaze (a pre-cursor to SignWeb).

I have been lucky enough to work with some great people and have been at the forefront of providing some innovative and tailor made solutions for greater Deaf accessibility both in the private and public sector. This has included the production and delivery of hundreds of British Sign Language (BSL) video clips, both on DVD and via the Internet.  I have also been involved in a range of research projects related to Deaf telecoms, one of which included the very first UK Deaf related research on SMS text messaging (in the days when no-one knew that text messaging existed!).  Another very successful research projects included one with British Telecom (BT) where we looked at ISDN video conferencing for families with Deaf children.  Families were supplied with state of the art videophones and allowing communication ‘at a distance’ for these kids was a powerful thing to see.

We have also designed numerous websites as well as a range of educational British Sign Language DVDs, newsletters, multimedia museum guides and e-learning materials for European projects.

Our biggest successes as regards museum guides were:

SS Great Britain

The Roman Baths

Wimbledon Museum

Tate Britain (Leonardo da Vinci exhibition)

Imperial War Museum

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

British Museum (London)

Staircase House (Stockport)

Cardiff Castle


In a voluntary capacity, I have twice been elected chair of a local charity (Family Centre for Deaf Children) and was also a trustee for many years. I have also been a parent governor at the local Deaf school in Bristol for a number of years.

This current website is a work in progress. Please feel free to leave comments and feedback, should you find any typos etc.

I hope you find the courses useful.

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