Talks, fairs and events have been organised to raise awareness and funds for various charitiesVarsity

From the 18th November to the 18th December, events are being held throughout the University and the city to celebrate UK Disability History Month.

This year marks the 12th year that Disability History Month has been celebrated.

On Monday (22/11), the Disabled Students’ Campaign hosted an online speakers event on the subject of Disability history and activism.

The meeting had a BSL interpreter, live captioning and an access break in the middle.

Anna Ward, the Disabled Students’ Officer for the SU, told Varsity that Disability History Month was “a wonderful opportunity to highlight the massive impact that disabled people have had on our society.”

“Disabled people are so often overlooked in the study of history and it is important to recognise their achievements, and this means a lot to those students who are themselves disabled and may feel like they are undervalued, to recognise that there are so many amazing disabled role models out there, and that disabled people have always existed and thrived.”

Ward also told Varsity that they hope to hold online film screenings and discussions of relevant films over the Christmas vacation.

Cambridge University Libraries held an online event on Wednesday (24/11) to discuss disability representation in children’s literature.

Lottie Mills, a third year English student at Newnham College, spoke at the event. In 2020 Mills won the BBC’s Young Writers’ Award for her short story ‘The Changeling’, which explored the themes of disability and difference.

PhD candidate Elizabeth Leung, whose research explores representations of dyslexia in childrens’ and young adults literature, also spoke at the event.


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The event included a discussion between the two speakers, followed by a Q&A.

On 7th December, Cambridgeshire Constabulary will be holding an online talk to mark Disability History Month. This will include an introduction by the police, where they will discuss new initiatives, talks from speakers about their experiences with disabilities, and a Q&A with a guest panel, including people with disabilities, carers, and members of the police force.

Cambridge Disability Heritage are in the process of finding local contributions (including stories, poems and films) for an online history project.

Speaking to Varsity, the Community Development Officer for Cambridge City Council, Ariadne Henry, highlighted the difficulties the pandemic had posed to disabled people.

She expressed hopes to hold more events in spring and early summer, when the risk of Covid-19 to vulnerable groups should lessen.

Rowan, a local arts centre and forest school that supports adults with learning disabilities, will be holding a Christmas fair to raise funds and showcase the work of its student artists. The fair will take place on the 1st December from 5:00-8:00pm, and the Cambridge Gospel Choir will be performing Christmas Carols in front of the building.

Rowan will also be taking part in The Big Give, meaning that every donation made to the charity between the 30th November and the 7th December will be doubled.

Professor Lucy Delap, the Deputy Chair of the History Department and Fellow of Murray Edwards College, will be delivering a talk on ‘Visible and invisible disabilities in the Welfare State since 1944’, in an online event for Liverpool John Moores University. The event will be on Wednesday 15th December from 1:00-2:00pm.

Disability History Month was first held in 2010. The month also covers HIV/AIDS Day (1st December) and International Day of People with Disabilities (3rd Dec.)

This year’s joint themes are ‘Disability and Hidden Impairments’ and ‘Disability, Sex and Relationships’.