‘Does It Matter’ 5 films by disabled artists on WWI

September 27, 2014 by richard

In this series of short films, five contemporary disabled artists (Katherine AranielloJez Colborne in collaboration with Mind the Gap, Claire CunninghamTony Heaton and Simon Mckeown) present warm, witty and poignant perspectives on war and disability.

From a cast of animated disabled soldiers to a chaotic WW1 hospital and the heroic figures depicted on war memorials, these films offer unorthodox, irreverent and unexpected takes on the legacies of war and disability in Britain today, taking inspiration from Siegfried Sassoon’s 1917 poem Does It Matter?


Does It Matter? World War 1

With two million British servicemen disabled by World War One, society’s attitude to disability had to change. Disabled artists present unorthodox takes on the legacies of war and disability

Series 1 Episode 5: Soldiering On

Jez Colborne’s song explores his fascination with the pomp and ceremony of war, an experience he’s locked out of because ‘learning-disabled people don’t go to war’. A collaboration with Mind The Gap.

Watch it here

Series 1 Episode 4: Breathe Nothing of Slaughter

Tony Heaton examines the potent symbol of the war memorial and the reality of war. Heroic, Adonis-like bodies are set in stark contrast to images of blackened faces and malnourished and broken bodies.

Watch it here

Series 1 Episode 3: Lovely Ward

Katherine Araniello turns sentimentality on its head in a playful and absurd re-imagining of a wartime hospital where the wounded and war-damaged wait to have their morale lifted by Matron.

Watch it here

Series 1 Episode 2: Ghosts

Simon Mckeown’s motion capture animation follows a multinational cast of disabled veterans as they prepare for the day in a landscape filled with the artefacts and objects of World War One

Watch it here

Series 1 Episode 1: Resemblance

Assembling a crutch as a soldier assembles a gun, Claire Cunningham enacts a ritual that mirrors the act of creating a weapon of destruction, while actually creating an object of support

Watch it here

Online Exhibition: WWI Indian Wounded in Brighton Pavilion

by richard

During World War I a former Royal Palace in England was converted into a hospital for soldiers of the British Indian Army.

This is the story of wounded turbaned warriors from the battlefields of France sent to the hospitals of Brighton.

Click to see the exhibition at the Sikh Museum

four-worst-cases-brighton-hospital the-dome-hospital


Resources created for National Union of Teachers 2013 UKDHM

by richard

A large number of information and activities to bring different aspects of disability history into the curriculum focussing on the way disabled people were treated from 1000 AD to the present day. A primary focus is on the  change from sanctuary in the monastries to dissolution, the rise of the poor law and then the workhouse; the introduction of asylums for those considered ‘mad’ in 1850 followed by eugenists driven incarceration of people with intelectual impairments or learning difficulties then the growth of the de-segregation movement and independent living currently under threat from Government austerity measures.

A0 is an introduction to the resource  A0 Introduction

Followed by a range of documents and activities identified in the introductory document.

A1 Teachers Guide Ways of thinking and speaking about Disabled People

A2 Ways of thinking about disability KS2 Activity

A3 Information and Activity KS2 to 4 Who are disabled people Equality Act Definition

A4 Activity KS 3-4 on Traditional Medical Social Models of Disability

A5 Activity KS 2 to 4 Impairment disability adjustment barrier free

A6 Activities KS 2 3 and 4 Social Model of Disability

A7 Activities KS 2 3 & 4 Language and disabled people

B1 Activities KS2 Disability Time line exercise Speaking for Ourselves

B2 Activities KS3 and KS4 using NHS Disability history timeline

B3 Activities KS2 KS3 KS4 Disabled People who have made a difference

B4 Our Stature Touches the Skies Disabled people who have made a difference blog Activities KS4 KS5

B5 Disability Time Line – NHS North WestC1 Teachers notes Disability in the Feudal and Medieval period

C2 Information and Activities KS2 & KS3 Miracle Cures of Disabled People in Medieval Period.

C3 Information and Activities KS 2 3 4 Disability In Medieval Hospitals and Almshouses

C4 Information sheets and Activities KS2 3&4The time of Leprosy

D1 Teachers Notes Disabled People in the Period 1485 to 1660

D2 Natural Fools in the court of Henry Eight at Hampton Court All the Kings Fools KS2

D3 Natural Fools in the court of Henry Eight at Hampton Court Activities KS3

D4 Activities KS2 3 The lives of disabled people in C16th Century

E1Teachers Notes The Poor Laws and Disabled People

E2 Activity KS3 & KS4 Did the treatment of Poor People Improve After 1834 Poor Law

E3 Activities KS4 & KS5 on the Poor Laws and disabled people using internet based resources.

E4 Numbers and the New Poor Law

F1 Information Sheet on the Mental Deficiency Act and Eugenicist Thinking

F2 KS3 Activity Mental Deficiency Meanwood Park

G1 Closure of Long Stay Institutions Information Sheet

G3 Activities KS 2 to 4 on Camden Society and People with Learning Difficulties

G4 Activity Sheet KS 2 to 4 Mabel Cooper telling her story.

G5 Information Sheet on the History of Mental Illness and Mental Health Problems

G6 Activities Ks4 & 5 History of Mental HealthH1 Information Sheet Principles of Independent Living

H2 Information sheet and Activities KS 4 and 5 English Factual or PHSE Independent Living

H3 Information and Activities KS2 3 & 4 Choices and Rights the Music and Poetry of the Disability Rights MovementRelevant Resources

A8 Resource Sheet The origin of negative words associated with disability


Changing Times, Changing Lives – Resources 2012

by richard

The University of Leeds produced a series of resources as part of UKDHM 2012.

They can be downloaded here.

They include the following:

  • Work of life stories of disabled people – art, drama, social studies, history.
  • Changing Lives Changing Times Manual & activities.


  • Talking Heads – Real Stories of 5 disabled people
  • Workshop Storyboard Drama and Installation
  • Performance – Based on findings of the Social Science Disability research project which looked at how life has changed for young disabled people between World War II and the present day, this musical theatre performance uses the skills of students from CAPA College and Cockburn School to translate the page to the stage.

A time-line of events relating to disability 1940–2012 – produced by UKDHM

UKDHM 2014 – Article from Disability News Service

by richard

Original article here

Disability History Month will look back to First World War

By John Pring, Disability News Service

This year’s UK Disability History Month (UKDHM) will examine the appalling treatment of veterans who became disabled after fighting in the First World War.

UKDHM was set up to celebrate disabled people’s lives and explore the history of negative attitudes and their consequences, and runs from 22 November to 22 December every year.

Last year it examined the struggle for independent living, and the threat caused by the government’s austerity cuts and its attack on the welfare state, the equality agenda and the UK’s international human rights obligations.

Previous events held during UKDHM have included school assemblies and history projects, film screenings, art and photography exhibitions, plays, university lectures, blogs and poetry evenings.

UKDHM coordinator Richard Rieser is now calling for organisations to start planning their events for this year’s UKDHM.

The fifth annual UKDHM will examine the links between war and impairment – feeding into the centenary of the start of the First World War – and how those veterans who become disabled through war have been treated.

Rieser said: “Every area in the UK was affected by people going off to war and coming back smashed to pieces, and to little help from the state. The whole emphasis was put instead on charitable donations.”

Because of the “disgruntlement” caused by the way disabled veterans were treated after the First World War, a framework of support for disabled people – and not just veterans – began to form as a result of the Second World War.

This framework, which included employment support, decent war pensions and state-funded rehabilitation, lasted until it began to be dismantled by the current coalition and the last Labour government, Rieser added.

He said: “By understanding history, people can see that the austerity cuts and the attack on disabled people and working people in general is a political decision and has nothing to do with economics.

“We are not arguing for any special treatment for disabled service people, we are saying the cuts are hitting all of us. They should be in common cause [with other disabled people] and saying, ‘This is not what should be happening.’”

He is keen that individuals and groups across the country look at what happened to disabled veterans from their families and local areas, and share those findings with UKDHM.

UKDHM also hopes to focus on how civilians have become more and more affected by wars as the twentieth century has progressed.

It will also be collaborating with Anti-bullying Week 2014, which takes place from 17-21 November and is this year focusing on the bullying of disabled young people.

As part of this year’s events, UKDHM has published a document – researched and written by Rieser, with support from the union Unite – examining the treatment of people who became disabled during past wars, particularly the two world wars.

It suggests that although special pleading for charity for disabled veterans has often been common, “generally attitudes and treatment towards disabled people are negative and discriminatory” and in the longer run “those with impairments created in war are also placed in the same negative category as other disabled people”.

While the response of most of the more than two million disabled veterans from the First World War In Britain was to “suffer in silence”, a minority fought for “rights not charity”.

Rieser quotes Viscount Castlerosse, a disabled veteran, writing in the Sunday Express in 1932. “Instead of demanding our rights we went hat in hand asking for charity,” he wrote. “We ought to have gone bayonet in hand demanding our rights.”

The document also looks at the creation of Remploy after the Second World War, shell shock – first recognised in print in 1915 and now known as post-traumatic stress disorder – and advances in battlefield medicine.

It concludes: “Although service people have been given a slightly better position than other disabled people, they are still subject to negative and oppressive treatment.

“Without their struggles we would not have the anti-discrimination legislation we have today.”

The document will be available from Rieser’s website, World of Inclusion, and the UKDHM website.

Organisations and individuals planning events to take place during the month should send details to UKDHM.

18 September 2014

Watch this space!

by admin

UK Disability History Month will be 5 years old in 2014! We are busy planning – but we also NEED YOUR HELP!

UKDHM relies on organisations and individuals to organise events to mark Disability History Month. So now is a perfect time to start thinking about how you can get involved!

Each year we have a theme – this year it will have decided to link into the centenary of World War 1 and focus on War and Impairment: The Social Consequence of Disablement. We encourage people to stick to the theme, but are happy to support any event that comes from a social model perspective.

For some inspiration on what you could do check our past events page. Previous years have seen:

  • School assemblies and history projects
  • Film screenings followed by a discussion
  • Art and photography exhibitions
  • Plays
  • University lectures
  • Blogs
  • Poetry evenings

Another way you can help us would be to go into your local library, museum or school and ask them if/what they are planning to do for Disability History Month. Please help us spread the word about why disability history is so important!

Happy Planning!

Please let us know what you plan and we will advertise them here. Also, check back here later in the year to see what is going on.