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Disability History: Knowledge, Practice and Collaboration

Mai 14, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Ein Bücheregal mit "London Metropolitan Archives" und dem Logo des Archivs
Join us to discuss and share issues in the field of Disability History

About this event

This year’s conference is divided into three strands knowledge, practice and collaboration. In knowledge, we will hear from archivists, librarians and historians about their work and collections. In practice, we will hear from institutions, self-advocacy groups, artists. In collaboration, there will be a chance for all those active in the space of disability history to come together.


Disabled workers in the archives: twentieth century British perspectives

Dr. Lucy Delap Reader in Modern British and Gender History, Deputy Chair History Faculty

University of Cambridge

This talk will examine how ‘accidental archives’ have been created that trace the lives of disabled workers across different kinds of jobs. It examines the ‘aftercare’ infrastructure of the special schools system, the employment quotas initiated in 1944, and reflects on the choices made by workers to identify as disabled or evade such categorisations.

Dr Lucy Delap is an historian of modern Britain, working on gender history, the history of feminism, print culture, labour history, disability and religion. She studied at Cambridge University, and taught at King’s College London before returning to Cambridge in 2015.

Disability and Disabled History in Contemporary Archive Collections at the British Library

Mary Stewart (Oral History), Jason Webber (UK Web Archive) and Eleanor Dickens (Contemporary Archives)

British Library

This talk will provide an overview of how disabled people’s experiences are currently represented in the in Library’s contemporary archive collections from the perspective of three of its departments: Oral History, UK Web Archive and Contemporary Archives and Manuscripts. The aim of the talk is to highlight existing collections alongside considering their discoverability and use, and also to raise questions regarding gaps in collections and collecting practice at the library.

From donkey rides to eye gaze: The history of assistive technology use at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability

Chris Olver Archivist

Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability

The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) has been working towards improving the lives of people living with disabilities since 1854. The RHN Archive is currently supported by a National Lottery Heritage Fund to help create and promote the hospital’s heritage. Through the cataloguing work supported by the project, it has been possible to identify early adaptive technology in use at the hospital in the late 19th century to early twentieth century. Archivist Chris Olver will delve into the archives to show early examples of assistive technology and mobility aids before discussing with members of the hospital’s Compass Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology Service, how the service has evolved since the 1980s and how they support our current patients with the latest assistive and rehabilitative technologies.


“But who comes here?”: Invisible disability and you

Dr. Phillip Milne Smith

This presentation uses autism to exemplify the experience of those with an invisible disability, and the access challenges presented in heritage settings for both staff and service users

Dr Philip Milnes-Smith trained as an archivist after a career in special education, working with young people with moderate learning difficulties and autism. He is a co-training officer for the Archives for Learning and Education Section of ARA, and on the steering committee for an Accessible Learning Toolkit for the sector. He is also one of ARA’s Diversity and Inclusion Allies.

People First Takeover!

Joe Blackley, Cardiff People First; Rhian Diggins, Glamorgan Archives; Simon Richards, Cardiff People First; Jordan Taylor, Museum of Cardiff; Zarah Kaleem, Cardiff People First.

Glamorgan Archives, Cardiff People First, Museum of Cardiff

Cardiff People First is a self advocacy organisation run by, and for, people with a learning disability. They have a long-standing partnership with Glamorgan Archives and the Museum of Cardiff, resulting in major exhibitions and awards; winning the Archives Wales ‚Tell Us Your Story‘ competition 2013, and ‚Best Film portraying the relevance and importance of Archives‘ at the ICA Congress SPA Film Festival in 2016.

They ran their first annual Take Over Day in 2017, at both venues and have promoted that work at conferences across Wales.

Since lockdown, they have delivered successful sessions online, promoting the benefits of their model and encouraging partnerships, to heritage professionals from across the UK and EU.

‘Ghosts and Archives’

Nicola Lane

Pegleg Productions

In ‘Ghosts and Archives’ hear the complex and often frustrating story of the fragmentation and dispersal of the hospital archives, and the recovery and discovery of hidden histories through engagement with participants.

Nicola Lane is the Project lead for Pegleg Productions’ Searching for the Grey Lady: A Ghost from WW1 at the RNOH, https://peglegproductions.org/pegleg-productions a National Lottery Heritage Fund project to mark the First World War Centenary at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore,

The cultural fragmentation of a peripatetic childhood and her experience of limb loss informs Nicola Lane’s work. She works in a variety of media, utilising the process of cutting and fragmenting to represent the dispersal of the past, the fragments that remain and those that are lost.


In the collaboration strand we will use break out rooms to recreate the stalls and networking that are such a popular part of conferences at London Metropolitan Archives. There will be break out rooms with “stall holders” as well as room(s) for general discussion. Delegates will be able to move freely through these rooms. We will be joined by:


Archives and Records Association Diversity and Inclusion Allies

Cardiff People First

Gill Crawshaw

Disabled People’s Archive

London Metropolitan Archives

LSE Library

The National Archives

National Lottery Heritage Fund

The Royal College of Surgeon of England Archives

Snow Angels CIC

Take 5 Engagement CIC Ltd.




London Metropolitan Archives
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