Disability History Month 2021
Library Services has teamed up with Bristol SU Disability and Accessibility Network to bring you a range of events, books, films and other resources to celebrate UK Disability History Month, which runs from 18th November to 18th December.
Disability History Month takes place every year to celebrate the lives of disabled people, challenge disabilism and help achieve equality. The 2021 themes are:
Student and Staff Favourites
Want to add your recommendation? Let us know!
Book: Six of Crows (2015) and Crooked Kingdom (2016) - Leigh Bardugo
"What I love about this series is that three of the main characters just happen to be disabled, but that's not really the point of their story. It's fun, it's delightful, it's an enjoyable read, and of the main cast half are disabled without making it into a big deal - whether that's being dyslexic, having ADHD, or using a mobility aid to deal with chronic pain."
Reviewed by Nura Alayah - Marketing and Communications
Want to borrow this fantasy novel? Use the 'Please get this item for me' option on Library Search.
Film: La Famille Bélier (2014)
"My favourite film is a French film from 2014 entitled La famille Belier. Really heart warming."
Reviewed by Valerie
French comedy. In the Aries family, everyone is deaf except 16-year-old Paula. Paula is an essential interpreter for her parents, and is vitally important to the daily operation of the family farm.
Song: S*******s A********s (1981) - Ian Dury
"Punk legend Ian Dury, who was disabled from childhood polio, wrote this controversial song as a battle cry for disabled rights and against what he saw as a patronising and insensitive 'International Year of Disabled Persons' (which I am sure was very different 40 years ago to todays Disability History Month!). Dury went out of his way to write an offensive song which captured some of his experience as a disabled person and the song was banned by the BBC. As a disabled person myself, who has frequently faced ableism, that want to have a battle cry for when you can't take it any more resonates with me."
Reviewed by Amber Rae Bruce - Library Assistant
Disability, Sex and Relationships in Film and TV
Our selection from BOB on the theme of Disability, Sex and Relationships. To sign in to BOB choose University of Bristol as the institution and then register with your UoB email.
The Theory of Everything
Stephen Hawking is a promising but somewhat unfocused graduate pursuing his PhD at Cambridge. He meets literature student Jane Wilde and the pair begin a romance that survives his diagnosis with motor neurone disease.
Poet Mark O’Brien has been forced to live his life in an iron lung due to complications from polio. His condition has prevented him from ever having sex, so Mark gets in touch with a sex surrogate who offers hands-on coaching for clients looking to learn the laws of physical intimacy.
Hidden Disabilities in Film and TV
Our selection from BOB on the theme of Hidden Disabilities. To sign in to BOB choose University of Bristol as the institution and then register with your UoB email.
Asperger's sufferer Adam has no idea what romantic love means and has difficulty forming relationships. As his neighbour Beth struggles with his lack of boundaries and compulsion to tell the truth, the pair grow closer and a fulfilling relationship develops, albeit with more teething problems than most.
Hidden Disabilities: What's the Truth
About one in five people has a disability. It may be obvious but often it's not, leaving people struggling to find work, support and healthcare. Some with hidden disabilities battle even to be believed. Saima Mohsin goes on a very personal journey.
Disability Services provide confidential information, advice and guidance to prospective and current disabled students and to staff supporting disabled students.
Conversations on Disability
Alongside the film and other resource recommendations from Library Services, the Bristol SU Disability and Accessibility Network have also gathered a series of perspectives on the subject from current University of Bristol students. You can read extracts of these or download the full essays, below:
Dismantling Ableist Narratives and Celebrating Authentic Representations - Amelia Raczynska and Evelyn Heis
Living in a society with a considerably high media intake, it is unsurprising that the film and TV industry are such an influential force when it comes to disability representation, having the power to both challenge and reinforce negative narratives and assumptions. The media we consume affects our perception of the world around us, and in turn, the way we form and feel about our identities. Having a lack of accurate representations on the big screen, then, can easily lead to damaging misconceptions.
Read the whole essay: DHM2021essayraczynskaandheis (PDF, 153kB)
Disability: Then and Now - Charlotte Goodwin
For the UK Disability History Month, I've decided to investigate how the concept of disability came about, and how it's related to the type of society we live in. Some assume that humans are inherently cruel, but I believe that it is not in human nature to perform discrimination, and rather the consequence of how society has been formed. The most stubborn capitalists can agree that capitalism is based on labour for profit, and so if an individual cannot work like other people, then they are now at a disadvantage, and their worth goes down.
Read the whole essay: dhm2021essaygoodwin (PDF, 106kB)
Disabilities, accessibility and the student learning experience - Imogen Andrews
While the pandemic has disproportionately affected students with disabilities, it has also revealed the flaws around accessibility and inclusivity across the higher education sector. This critical insight has prompted the University to work towards better support system for students with disabilities both during and post pandemic.
Read the whole essay: dhm2021essayandrews (PDF, 120kB)
Got a recommendation?
What is your favourite book or film about disability? Let us know!