Coronavirus update

Important information:
All on-campus visits and events are cancelled or postponed until further notice. Virtual events will be running as normal unless otherwise stated.  For the latest updates visit our coronavirus information page. Please note that some of our on campus events may be replaced by virtual events - please check with the event organiser listed against each event.

Disability History Month 2020

Wednesday 18 November (00:00) - Friday 18 December 2020 (23:59)
DHM Website
DHM 2020

18 November to 18 December is Disability History Month and the University will be exploring the theme of 'Accessibility: How far have we come? How far have we to go?' with a comprehensive programme of events. 

The programme provides an opportunity for everyone in our University community to come together to increase our understanding and to show our support for disability equality. Find out what it means to live with an invisible disability, or how to navigate a career as a disabled person, or what accessibility may look like in a post-COVID-19 world. We’ll be drawing upon expertise and lived experience both locally and internationally to challenge perceptions, shape the debates, and explore what accessibility and inclusivity really mean in the twenty first century. 


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Disability History Month 2020 Event Listings
 Date/TimeEvent Description

Friday 13 November 2020


Switched on for sound: how one device changed deaf children's lives forever

Part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. In a unique collaboration between the University of Birmingham and the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (Midlands region) we explore the history and impact of cochlear implantation which stimulates the auditory nerve, and its part in changing the educational and social lives of thousands of deaf children worldwide.

Wednesday 18 November 2020


Launch: Harriet Martineau - Living with deafness, in her own words

In this first of two pre-recorded sessions, Archivist Jenny Childs will read extracts from her favourite archive collection held at the Cadbury Research Library, that of 19th century author Harriet Martineau. Available until late December 2020. 

Wednesday 18 November 2020.


Launch: 21st century reflections on Harriet Martineau's 'Letter to the Deaf'

This second of two pre-recorded talks about Harriet Martineau by Helen Barrell is part of the University of Birmingham’s programme of events for Disability History Month. Helen Barrell looks through Harriet Martineau’s “Letter to the Deaf” (1834) and finds some surprising parallels with her own experience of hearing loss nearly 200 years later. Available until late December 2020. 

Wednesday 18 November 2020


Launch: Cadbury Research Library, Disability Subject and Resource Guide

As part of Disability History Month, the Cadbury Research Library are launching a Disability Subject and Resource Guide. This will feature archives and rare books held at the Cadbury Research Library that relate to disability. This new subject and resource guide will provide an excellent starting point for research, learning and teaching. It will go live on 18 November 2020, and will remain on the Cadbury Research Library’s ‘Subject and resource guides’ webpage.

Wednesday 18 November 2020


Cadbury Research Library Disability History Month online exhibition The Cadbury Research Library is marking UK Disability History Month with an online exhibition of images relating to disability, selected from the historic archives, manuscripts and rare books in the CRL's collections. Items selected shed light on historical attitudes towards disability, experiences of living with disability, and examples of those working with people with disabilities, including physical disability, hearing loss, sight loss, and learning disabilities. Available until late December 2020.

Thursday 19 November 2020

12:00-13:00 (UK)

16:00-17:00 (UAE)

Inclusion and Special Educational Needs: How far have we come? How far have we to go?

The Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) at the School of Education presents a discussion on how far we have come in terms of diversity and inclusion in education globally. This session will be chaired by Prof. Karen Guldberg (Head of DISN) and feature a keynote talk by Prof. Julie Allan who will provide the history and current trajectory of inclusion. This will be followed by 4 specialist presentations looking at inclusion from different locales and abilities. Attendees will then be able to ask all 5 speakers questions moderated by Professor Guldberg. 

Thursday 19 November 2020


Accessible Sport & Fitness 1 First of two online consultations on accessible sport and fitness at the University of Birmingham.

Thursday 19 November 2020


 Human Book Talks - Alison Cooper.  Alison Cooper has volunteered to be a “book” as she has an invisible disability and has had experience of conversations and situations where others have found it awkward to discuss needs of individuals with disabilities for fear of causing offence. As a “book” she would like anyone who wants to discuss such situations to feel that this is a low-stakes opportunity to improve conversations to the benefit of all.

Friday 20 November 2020


Finding Your Way: Careers and Disability

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 Deputy-Pro-Vice Chancellor of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Joanne Duberley, 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.

Monday 23 November 2020


From Pathology to Neurodiversity: A Conversation About Autism

The Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) at the School of Education presents 'From pathology to neurodiversity: a conversation about autism with Dr. Wenn Lawson and Annie Etherington.' This event will pursue two themes: how framing of autism influences the way professionals think about and respond to autism and how it impacts the identity, self-esteem and well-being of the autistic individual. 

Tuesday 24 November 2020

12:00 - 13.30 (UK) / 16:00 - 17:30 (UAE)

How far have we come? Looking towards the next 50. 

This session brings together key voices from the regulator ADEK in the United Arab Emirates. We explore and shine the light on specifically how inclusion and accessibility have improved the lives for People of Determination.  Where has the greatest impact been evidenced? What difference has this made to the lives of students? 

Wednesday 25 November 2020


Disability Post-Lockdown: What's Changed? In this presentation Dr Nicole Brown will reflect on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the disabilities communities. To this end, she will draw on her extensive research experience into the lived experience of people with disabilities, chronic illnesses and/or neurodiversities in academia. Nicole will present some challenges individuals have experienced and what a post-Covid-19 academia could look like.

Wednesday 25 November 2020


Online Yoga for Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD A dedicated online Yoga class planned with ASD/ADHD or sensory impairments in mind. This one hour class will combine traditional yoga postures with breathing practice and relaxation.

Thursday 26 November 2020

12:00-13:30 (UK)

16:00 - 17:30 (UAE)

The Human Library - Stories from the UAE Desert We share and celebrate three stories from within the UAE community where improved accessibility has had a positive impact on the lives of children, their parents and the wider community. We collectively reflect on how these adaptations have been managed, and what needs to be further improved as the country continues to make innovative changes across many sectors. Please join us for an inspiring and heartfelt session as we hear directly from the children and their families. Facilitated by Dr. Sarah Benson and Sanam Yaqub

Thursday 26 November 2020


Disability and Special Needs in the current COVID crisis. How can we re-create what education needs to look like?

The Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) at the School of Education presents a panel of speakers, including parents of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and researchers, who will talk about disability and special needs in the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Monday 30 November 2020

12:30-14:00 (UK)

16:30 - 18:00 (UAE)

Celebrating Autistic Talent

In collaboration with DISN, UK.

The Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) at the School of Education presents this special event to celebrate autistic talent. This session brings adult autistic voices to the forefront, as a way of highlighting that autism doesn’t stop in childhood and will feature artists, business owners and students transitioning to adulthood from Al Karamah school in Abu Dhabi. This will be a panel discussion with audience questions taken and moderated by Dr. Sarah Benson and Prof. Karen Guldberg. 

Tuesday 1 December 2020


Accessibility to Inclusion - Beyond Physical Access. How far have we come? How far have we to go?  In this pre-recorded video conversation, followed by a live Q&A  you will discover an overview of University of Birmingham's Estates developments over the last 100 years moving beyond considerations of physical access and compliance.

Wednesday 2 December 2020


Perspectives on Inclusion.   Pre-recorded Zoom session from Student Disability in the Student Services department. This session will consider the differences between integration and inclusion, together with the concept of Universal Design for Learning. 

Wednesday 2 December 2020


Disability Consciousness Raising and Covid-19: Possibilities and Challenges

Join Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell FRSA as she explores how Covid-19 has acted as a moment to reappraise the meaning of ‘disability' and affords the opportunity to build up the disability rights movement. 

Wednesday 2 December 2020


Accessible Sport & Fitness 2

Second of two online consultations on accessible sport and fitness at the University of Birmingham.

Thursday 3 December 2020

12:00 - 13:30

Pride Not Prejudice: Disability History Month Event.

For Disability History Month 2019 the College of Arts and Law Inclusivity Projects asked ‘what do you wish people knew about disability?’. We had some very poignant and thought-provoking responses. This year we are inviting those who live with a disability (whether their own or someone they live with or care for) to share their thoughts on the above question.

Wednesday 9 December 2020


'But you don't look disabled': December HEFi Reading Group

Join this month's HEFi reading group as we explore ableism in academia with the article ‘But you don’t look disabled’: Non-visible disabilities, disclosure and being an ‘insider’ in disability research and ‘other’ in the disability movement and academia, by Elisabeth Griffiths.

Unfiltered Lives:

While you're here, why not explore the College of Social Science's project, Unfiltered Lives.

Through photographs and compelling stories, Unfiltered Lives goes to the heart of why our researchers do what they do.

In England, there are over 30,000 children and young people with vision impairment; a low incidence group who often have limited representation within society. Specialist educational services are legally required to offer support to children and young people with vision impairment up to the age of 25. The services ensure that these young people are able to access the school curriculum and develop the skills they will need to live and work independently in adulthood. However, a number of barriers and a lack of resources and understanding around the transition process hinders employment opportunities and social inclusion.

During Disability History Month, find out more about the work of the Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research and how they are transforming the lives of young people with vision impairment to address these barriers for educational and social inclusion.

Read more about Unfiltered Lives

Inclusion, Disability and Access in the Arts:

Why not explore this special issue of Midland Art Papers on Inclusion, Disability and Access in the Arts. 

Midlands Art Papers is a collaborative online journal, working between the University of Birmingham and 13 partner institutions to research and explore the world class works of art and design in public collections across the Midlands.  

Read more 

The University is marking Disability History Month for the first time with a series of events and activities. Here, our Vice Chancellor, Prof Sir David Eastwood, talks about his own disability and how important accessibility and inclusivity is to a university community.

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities