Finding Your Way: Careers and Disability

Friday 20 November 2020 (12:30-14:00)

Join a panel of disabled University of Birmingham Academics and Professional Services staff as they explore the impacts their disabilities have had on their careers. This discussion will be chaired by Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Richard Black, as these colleagues explore their lived experience, the techniques they've employed to navigate their careers, and query what the University and the Higher Education sector can do to be more inclusive of disabled people.

Panellists include:

Mark Sterling

Mark is the DPVC (Staffing) and has worked at the University for over 20 years.  Prior to this he spent ~8 years as a Head of School, first for the (then) School of Civil Engineering followed and the “new” the School of Engineering. He discovered that he had epilepsy shortly after joining the University and foolishly still likes to pretend it doesn’t exist – he really should know better at his age!

Sonali Shah

Sonali Shah is a Research Fellow in the School of Nursing at the University of Birmingham where she leads the Eternal project, a qualitative study exploring access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for girls and women with cerebral palsy, from menarche to menopause. She also teaches about issues concerned with the global challenges of equality, inclusion, health and social wellbeing of disabled people with intersectional identities and across the life-course. Sonali is a British Indian disabled woman.

Emma Partlow

Emma Partlow is a Postgraduate Researcher at the University of Birmingham. Emma's current research focuses upon the employment experiences of disabled people, specifically focusing upon employment policies and legislation. Emma has both Muscular Dystrophy and Hypermobility and identifies as disabled. Therefore, she has both a personal and professional interest in disability rights and inclusion.

David Cottam

David is the IT Manager for Research and Education at the College of Social Science (IT Services) and has worked at the University for over 30 years delivering complex IT solutions. David was periodically deaf as a child. Several years of surgery restored his hearing. At the age of nine he started to lose his sight with Optic Atrophy and was registered blind in 2006. From 2006 David has voluntarily Chaired (Now Co-Chairs) The Enabling Staff Network whose mission is to raise awareness of all disability, in particular hidden disabilities and improve facilities on campus for all disabled staff and students.

Peter Collins

Peter Collins is the Student Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer. He has worked at University of Birmingham for seven months. Prior to this he worked on various health and lifestyle programmes for the BBC and Channel 4, as well as visitor experience and inclusion consultancy for a range of arts and cultural organisations across the UK. More recently Peter has worked as a trainer and consultant in autism awareness. He is currently a member of the Steering Committee for the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN). Peter was diagnosed autistic in 2017 at the age of 34.