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UK Disability History Month

Published by: Liz Porter
The Boatbuilder. Oil painting by William Parrott, 1851. Six children watch a man with a wooden leg, sitting on a beach, carve a boat model. At right a boy displays the finished article.
The Boatbuilder. Oil painting by William Parrott, 1851. Six children watch a man with a wooden leg, sitting on a beach, carve a boat model. At right a boy displays the finished article.

16 November to 16 December is UK Disability History Month (UKDHM), but how many people know about it?

UKDHM has been going since 2010, when the founder Richard Reiser said,

“It is our turn to document this history and to become agents of change within our communities”.

Since then, it has covered a wide range of themes with resources to help us delve into the past and build our knowledge.

Why is it important?

DHM provides opportunities for D/deaf disabled and neurodivergent people to share their stories, and to document how society has treated and viewed us in the past.

This year’s theme focuses on the Experience of Disablement amongst children and young people. As a disabled person myself, I think it’s especially important that we can explore stories about ourselves as we’re growing up. When I was young people didn’t talk about disability history, and I rarely remember any mention of disabled role models in school. I found myself in a society that continually put up barriers to inclusion and used damaging stereotypes and language.

In Brighton and Hove Museums, our Culture Change project is all about telling everybody’s stories, including those of D/deaf disabled and neurodivergent people, and we look forward to developing this in the future.

For now, as we head towards International Day of Disabled People on 3 December 2023, I encourage you to explore UKDHM. The resources are fantastic and there are some great events coming up and opportunities to get involved.

Find out more

The Boatbuilder. Oil painting by William Parrott, 1851. Six children watch a man with a wooden leg, sitting on a beach, carve a boat model. At right a boy displays the finished article.
The Boatbuilder. Oil painting by William Parrott, 1851. Six children watch a man with a wooden leg, sitting on a beach, carve a boat model. At right a boy displays the finished article.