Disability History Legacy Series

November 26, 2015 by admin
    • “The Accessibles – Our Time is Now”, New Comic Book created by Young Disabled People Taking Action Group in Manchester. Featuring time travelling disabled young characters exploring past and present approaches to disability. Developed with local artist Jim Medway.  http://jimmedway.com/education/
    • Stories and highlights from 30 years of disability campaigning in Manchester, by GMCDP and other disabled individuals who collectively, have influenced and shaped developments and understanding about disabled peoples lives and inclusion at local and national level.

3rd December 2015 to 1st January 2016

VENUE: Central Library, St Peters Square, Manchester City Centre, 1st Floor

Booking/Price: FREE no booking required. See website http://www.librarylive.co.uk/visit/

Time: Mon-Thurs 9am – 8pm Fri 9am – 5pm, Sat 9am – 5pm, Sunday closed.



Disability Film Season at HOME

by admin
  •  Monday 7th December: Film showing – Diving Bell and Butterfly” (2007)
  •  Tuesday 15 December:  Short Films –  Mandy”(1952) and “Dear Anna” (2011), followed by an expert discussion panel to help audiences debate and consider the way disabled people have been portrayed on film past and present.

 

Film Panel members: (Chair) Ewa Hanna Mazierska, Professor of Contemporary Cinema at UCLAN, local disabled actress Ali Briggs & Phil Samphire from GMCDP.

 

VENUE: HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place Manchester

Booking/Price: See website for details.  http://homemcr.org/cinema/

Time: Films showing start at 6.10pm



Launch UKDHM & International Day of Disabled People

by admin

Featuring a preview of Disability History Legacy Series Exhibitions by GMCDP and their Young Disabled People Taking Action Group. With entertainment by Miss Dennis Queen (local disability singer/songwriter) and light refreshments provided.  Opened by Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Lead Member for Disability, with closing remarks by Martin Pagel, former Deputy Leader of MCC and a veteran of disability rights campaigning in Manchester.

 

VENUE: Central Library, St Peters Square, Manchester City Centre, 1st Floor

Booking/Price: FREE no booking required. See website http://www.librarylive.co.uk/visit/

Time: 5.30pm to 7.30pm



York “Hip Hop Shake Up”

November 25, 2015 by admin

Here is the “York Hip Hop Shake Up”, which we are hoping might challenge people’s perceptions about disability; I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this, and whether in your opinion we have succeeded. If we have, then I would really appreciate some advice about how to spread the video in order to reach people, to inspire others to have a go at this genre of music that is badly under-represented by people who have disabilities.

 



In discussion with Disability rights pioneer Lorraine Gradwell, MBE

by admin

From Gemma Nash’s Website

 

As today marks the start of UKDHM (UK Disability History Month from 22 November to 22 December), I sum up and reflect on my interview with Lorraine Gradwell, MBE. Known to many as a leading disability rights ‘veteran campaigner’, she has worked within the disabled people’s movement for over 35 years.

 

Background…

Lorraine, now in her 60s, came to disability politics through her involvement in paraplegic sports – particularly the Manchester Disabled Athletes club in the 1980s. It was here that she met the highly influential disabled activist, Neville Strowger. She and Neville became close friends and, with others, worked together to set up GMCDP (Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People) – one of the first organisations of disabled people in the UK. In its heyday, GMCDP was instrumental in creating positive change for disabled people both in Manchester and throughout the UK. Lorraine was their Deputy chair, then Chair, then development worker and eventually their first team leader in 1987. She was later CEO of Breakthrough UK (1997 – 2013). Though now semi-retired Lorraine is a Member of the co-production group at Coalition for Collaborative Care.

Trailblazers and Cabbies…

In her role as GMCDP’s team leader, Lorraine campaigned around a number of issues – the Disability Discrimination Act, the role of big charities, independent living and accessible transport. She also helped to set up the Equalities Unit in Manchester City Council.

Lorraine and her team’s lobbying made Manchester the first city with Black Cabs that were accessible to disabled people. Campaingers persuaded Manchester City Council that one hundred new licenses were to be issued to Black Cab licenses on the condition that the cabs were made accessible.

Access statement for black cabs

“We used to get cab drivers coming in and talking to us about the campaign, adaptations of the cabs and so on which led to work being done. Some cab drivers got the new licenses but didn’t make the cabs accessible which ended up going to the appeal court in London to uphold Manchester’s stipulation – Manchester was a real trailblazer in that respect”.

She also worked with Greater Manchester Housing Disability Group and the academic June Maeltzer, to set up the first informal independent living scheme. June worked with the Irwell Family Housing Association to get an agreement that the funding for ‘local authority carers’ would go into a trust that was managed jointly between her and the Irwell HA.  At that time, it wasn’t legal for a local authority to give funding directly to an individual, whether they were disabled or not. June was one of the first users of direct payments – before the legislation was even in place.

With pioneers like Lorraine, Neville and June, Manchester was building a strong reputation as good place to live if you were a young disabled activist.

These initiatives certainly influenced my decision to move to Manchester in the mid 1990s.

The current climate…

Lorraine and I discussed the contrast between the ‘rights based’ campaigning of last twenty years, and the current ‘benefits based’ campaigning. We also discussed the idiosyncrasies of Manchester’s current independent living policies and the alarming shrinkage of the public sector both locally and nationally.

Lorraine can see why campaigns around benefits and austerity are needed, but feels they need to focus more on societal structures, rather than disabled peoples perceived vulnerabilities. She doesn’t think that it’s helpful for a movement to be making their ‘vulnerability’ a central plank of their campaign – it’s better to talk about our fundamental rights and the need for those to be addressed. For me this has a particular resonance as my current photography project, Hanging in the Balance, is about being made vulnerable due to the current austerity measures. – in this context is it OK to embrace and focus on our vulnerability?

Like me, she welcomes the push that DPAC (Disabled People Against the Cuts) have made towards getting a UN investigation into the governments sanctions. She says, “All the rights based issues have gone on the back burner a bit … six, seven years ago it was very much about rights …it was about inclusion, barrier free work, independent living, etc. All that has gone by the wayside in just a short period of time, and it alarms me how quickly it can get unrolled.”

In the area of employment, for example, she says the perceptions around disabled people have taken a massive turn for the worst. During her role as Chief Executive of Breakthrough she sat on the Disability Employment Advisory Committee – a government body that focused on matters to do with disability and employment. The ConDem Coalition immediately disbanded those types of committees, with no real replacement.  This represented a change in ideology, and the shrinking of the public sector – which has had a massive knock on effect on disabled peoples’ organisations.

Lorraine points out that Breakthrough’s ethos was very much around providing the support to disabled people who could work, not about forcing ill people into work. The current government doesn’t seem to understand the relationship between being disabled and work. She feels that the way disabled people get portrayed as being either a burden or a scrounger is nothing more than a big scapegoating exercise.

This, she feels, is very dangerous particularly alongside the whole push towards assisted suicide and the creeping privatization of the NHS.   Assisted suicide fundamentally changes the relationship between doctor and patient overturning two thousand years of the Hippocratic Oath – do no harm. She recalls reading about a woman in Oregon being refused cancer treatment by her insurance company because it was expensive, but they said she could have assisted suicide because that was cheaper. A health service driven by financial decisions and what would be cheaper is not about helping people at all. Here I would argue we must have the right to live, before we have the right to die.

“It’s not being sensationalist to describe it as state sanctioned killing, and once you’ve got state sanctioned killing, where’s it going to go? In Belgium assisted suicide applies to children. There’s no stopping it once it’s on the statute books.”

Keeping disability rights on the agenda…

From NHS provided health to access to work schemes, disabled people are once again fighting at the front line. Though the recent cuts may have had a direct impact on the capacity of both Breakthrough UK and GMCDP, they both continue to campaign, and provide much needed support for disabled people. I am aware of criticisms levelled at veteran campaigners from younger disability rights activists, but perhaps rather than blaming them for perceived failings within their campaigns, we should champion them for their drive and continued commitment to ongoing change and to keeping discussions about disability rights on the political agenda.DPAC

 

Lorraine Gradwell’s book of collected works ‘A Life Raft in a Stormy Sea’ is available to purchase online.



Now You See Us

by admin

‘NOW YOU SEE US – DISABLED WOMEN TALK ABOUT VISIBILITY, EMPOWERMENT AND EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE’

Wednesday, 2 December 2015 from 12:15 to 14:30 (GMT)

The Pavilion, Main Quad
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom



Alaska Disability History Exhibit

by richard

This online exhibition of 23 panels gives a detailed understanding of the history of disabled people. In the USA people with disabilities is the preferred term.
http://dhss.alaska.gov/gcdse/Pages/history/html_maincontent_overview.aspx
http://dhss.alaska.gov/gcdse/Pages/history/pdf_guide.aspx
http://dhss.alaska.gov/gcdse/Pages/history/html_timeline_overview.aspx
Display Created and Printed by ACT Advocating Change Together
http://www.selfadvocacy.com/

Panel 1 – Disability has always been, and will likely always be, a part of the human condition.
Panel 2 – Religion has played an important role in providing basic services and shaping attitudes toward people with disabilities.
Panel 3 – Persons with disabilities are treated as social problems and public burdens.
Panel 4 – Disability becomes a medical issue requiring the services of trained professionals.
Panel 5 – A gradual understanding of science leads to new and often painful treatments for persons with disabilities.
Panel 6 – Social reform and new ideas in education offer opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
Panel 7 – The commitment to education and the quality of services decline with the increasing demand for institutional placement.
Panel 8 – The quality of services for persons with disabilities further declines with a growing suspicion of all people who are different.
Panel 9 – Persons with developmental disabilities are made scapegoats for many of society’s problems.
Panel 10 – Persons with disabilities – over 200,000 – are the first victims of the holocaust.
Panel 11 – Services slowly become available to persons with physical disabilities; many with developmental disabilities are largely forgotten and abandoned in institutions.
Panel 12 – Parents assert their leadership and begin to organize on behalf of children with disabilities.
Panel 13 – Advocacy by parents leads to increased funding, better community services, and larger institutions.
Panel 14 – Influenced by the civil and human rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, people with disabilities begin to fight for their rights.
Panel 15 – Disability is no longer limited to moral or medical definitions; it is now viewed by many as a social construct.
Panel 16 – People with disabilities face new opportunities and threats as America’s largest minority.\
Panel 17 – Persons with developmental disabilities advocate for themselves and others with disabilities, proclaiming “we are people first!”
Panel 18 – Thousands of self-advocates across the world speak for themselves and fight for social change.
Panel 19 – Activists remember the past and work to ensure that crimes and mistakes are not repeated.
Panel 20 – Naming and claiming who we are, where we come from, and where we want to go.
Panel 21 – Disability is an art. Disability is a unique way of life.
Panel 22 – Connection to a different time in history – Seeking Full Participation.
Panel 23 – Connection to a different time in history: Community Integration for Everyone.



Successful day Conference and Launch of UKDHM on Portrayal of Disability in Moving Image Media.

November 24, 2015 by richard

Very successful day Conference and Launch of UKDHM on Portrayal of Disability in Moving Image Media.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell gave an audience of TV and film makers, actors and disabled people a strong message of support at the British Film Institute yesterday evening the 19th Nov 2015.
He said that the ‘New politics’ that Jeremy Corbyn and he were developing was based was based on treating others the way you wanted to be treated. In the past the Labour Party had focused on improving bread and butter issues for disabled people and that they had not understood that portrayal and the way it influences attitudes was more fundamental as it was this that led to discrimination. That now we will need to look at specific mechanisms for change this may include quotas and training to change portrayal and representation of disabled people in the media. There was now an open door to policy making in the Labour Party that there had not been before. (See www.ukdhm.org for the speech 17.30 to 26.00 mins).
John gave three political commitments:-
• The Labour Party will set up a policy dialogue with the organisations and individuals that disabled people think can make a constructive contribution on this issue. You need to advise us who should be round the table.
• We will go through policy making of the Labour Party nd ensure the issue of portrayal and representation of disability is inserted.
• If he had anything to do with it there would be a Manifesto commitment on representation as a foundation stone of how people perceive disabled people. We missed this out in the past.
Lastly, there was a campaigning role for all of us to bring attention to these issues and achieve solutions.
Philipa Harvey, President of the National Union of Teachers, conveyed the support of the union for the work of Disability History Month and said how the union was informing teachers of the need to raise the history of disabled people with children. Philipa also pointed out that a recent survey the Union had conducted showed many disabled teachers were being discriminated.
Elenor Lisney of Sisters of Frida talked about how images of disabled women on the screen had influenced her when growing up.
Richard Rieser, Coordinator of the UK Disability History Month talked about historically rooted stereotypes of disabled people based on myth, magic, superstition, religion and pseudo science that shape attitudes and are continually recycled. While there has been some isolated examples of good representation where we are just presented as ordinary; too often a new stereotype of bringing disability into narratives is considered as a ‘prosthetic’ to a weak storyline. There were more disabled actors and film makers but they were not being used anywhere near enough in broadcast media and film.

Richard then reported on the main conclusions of the Day conference. There should be tapered quotas to grow from 10 to 20% as the pool of talent grows. There needs to be more targeted training and work experience. Cuts in Arts subjects in schools and colleges should be reversed to develop the talent pool. All relevant union Equity, BECTU, The Writers Guild and Musicians Union should be pressured to do much more to gave portrayal of disabled people in the media. Acting for Change should be supported. Those who own and manage at a top level the broadcast media and film making must be approached and pressured to do more.
Earlier the Day Conference heard an analysis by Richard Rieser (Coordinator of UKDHM) of Image Portrayal using 34 film clips. This was followed by three panels of actors, writers and producers/directors/casting directors heard very interesting presentations and discussion . Participants included actors Sam West, Danny Sapani, Jaye Griffiths Liz Carr and Lisa Hammond; writers Laura Wade , Allen Sutherland , Rahila Gupta and Micheline Mason, Produces Ewan Marshall, Colin Rodgers, Ju Gosling, Paul Darke, Shirani Sabratnam, Colin Rodgers ; Director Ben Anthony and Casting Director Ros Hubbard.
There was general agreement that thought there was more portrayal of disabled people it was still far too little, often not realistic and stereotyped. There were disabled actors, writers and film makers out there but they were finding it very difficult to be b included due to many barriers. Currently BBC portrayal is 1.2% of the time whilst over 20 % of the population count as disabled people. The negativity and lack of realistic portrayal encourages negative attitudes, bullying and hate crime which is two or three times the level for other minority groups.
The following were agreed as a way forward
• Quotas – 20% should be disabled people. These to be tapered to keep up with the skill base from 10 to 20%

• More training – on and off screen

• Training live presenters with disabilities (Ade had 6 months extra training)

• Champion alternative voices – real life stories (challenge people to see things differently)Acting for Change

• Hold to account those who run and control the media – particularly publicly funded bodies

• UNCRPD – Article 8 implemented

• More support/funding for disability art events, especially at community level

• Need programmes which put forward the view of the disability lobby

• Pressure on the unions to be more proactive (e.g. Musicians Union, Writers Guild, BECTU, Equity, NUJ)

• Something like Turner Classic Movies (US) which showcase films with disabled characters in them – something for Film 4 and BBC to consider?

• Utilize new technologies (internet) to create pro-disabled media – there are businesses seeking to support new alternative platforms (training/experience both off and on camera)

• A new take on access is needed

• If films are state funded then they must be fully accessible to all.

• Challenge audiences to challenge their thinking e.g. Scope End the Awkward Campaign

• Question why ordinary supporting roles are not given disabled people.

For more information contact Richard Rieser UKDHM Coordinator Mobile 07715420727
e.mail rlrieser@gmail.com or info@ukdhm.org

For Review from Disability Arts on Line of the Day go to http://linkis.com/org.uk/OGDuQ



UKDHM 2015 Filmography

November 23, 2015 by admin

A page with all clips used in the UKDHM 2015 launch can be seen here:

UKDHM 2015 Filmography

The sequence shows the spectrum of portrayal over the past century, both good and bad.
Each one comes with a short commentary.



Very successful day Conference and Launch of UKDHM on Portrayal of Disability in Moving Image Media.

November 20, 2015 by richard

Very successful day Conference and Launch of UKDHM on Portrayal of Disability in Moving Image Media.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell gave an audience of TV and film makers, actors and disabled people a strong message of support at the British Film Institute yesterday evening the 19th Nov 2015.
He said that the ‘New politics’ that Jeremy Corbyn and he were developing was based was based on treating others the way you wanted to be treated. In the past the Labour Party had focussed on improving bread and butter issues for disabled people and that they had not understood that portrayal and the way it influences attitudes was more fundamental as it was this that led to discrimination. That now we will need to look at specific mechanisms for change this may include quotas and training to change portrayal and representation of disabled people in the media. There was now an open door to policy making in the Labour Party that there had not been before. (See YouTube for the speech 17.30 to 26.00 mins).

John gave three political commitments:-

  • The Labour Party will set up a policy dialogue with the organisations and individuals that disabled people think can make a constructive contribution on this issue. You need to advise us who should be round the table.
  • We will go through policy making of the Labour Party nd ensure the issue of portrayal and representation of disability is inserted.
  • If he had anything to do with it there would be a Manifesto commitment on representation as a foundation stone of how people perceive disabled people. We missed this out in the past.

Lastly, there was a campaigning role for all of us to bring attention to these issues and achieve solutions.

Philipa Harvey, President of the National Union of Teachers, conveyed the support of the union for the work of Disability History Month and said how the union was informing teachers of the need to raise the history of disabled people with children. Philipa also pointed out that a recent survey the Union had conducted showed many disabled teachers were being discriminated.

Elenor Lisney of Sisters of Frida talked about how images of disabled women on the screen had influenced her when growing up.

Richard Rieser, Coordinator of the UK Disability History Month talked about historically rooted stereotypes of disabled people based on myth, magic, superstition, religion and pseudo science that shape attitudes and are continually recycled. While there has been some isolated examples of good representation where we are just presented as ordinary; too often a new stereotype of bringing disability into narratives is considered as a ‘prosthetic’ to a weak storyline. There were more disabled actors and film makers but they were not being used anywhere near enough in broadcast media and film.
Richard then reported on the main conclusions of the Day conference. There should be tapered quotas to grow from 10 to 20% as the pool of talent grows. There needs to be more targeted training and work experience. Cuts in Arts subjects in schools and colleges should be reversed to develop the talent pool. All relevant union Equity, BECTU, The Writers Guild and Musicians Union should be pressured to do much more to gave portrayal of disabled people in the media. Acting for Change should be supported. Those who own and manage at a top level the broadcast media and film making must be approached and pressured to do more.