Students from two Schools across two Faculties came together to learn about the challenges facing members of the deaf community in accessing the legal system. The team behind ‘Manchester Deaf Centre Hackathon’ ran a two day cross-School event that aims to make it easier for deaf people to make themselves heard in the legal community. Over 30 law and computer science students were mixed seven teams and spent 24 hours developing software to improve access for D/deaf people to legal services.
In 24 hours they devised prototypes for socio-technical solutions to help tackle some of the challenges faced. The expert judges (including colleagues from the Deaf Centre, Legal Geek and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer) were extremely impressed by the ideas and initiatives. The winning application was a ‘one stop shop’ for legal service support which included FAQs (in simplified English and British Sign Language), as well as an experimental speech-to-sign Dictaphone feature. The winning teams won internships at Freshfields Bruckhause Deringer and are building their prototypes as part of their internships and MSc projects. By taking part in the hackathon, students gained a deeper and experimentally informed understanding of other disciplines and how to blend the two together to solve challenging problems.