More papers for the Disability Studies Archive at Leeds University

Recently three archive boxes of papers from the files of Kevin Hyett (1958-2004) were added to the Disability Studies Archive at the University of Leeds, known as the Leeds Archive. The placing of these papers within the archive will ensure their safekeeping and their availability to future generations of researchers and activists.

Perhaps the strongest set of papers within his files are those concerning UPIAS – the Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation.

Some of these papers can be accessed online at — But not all the UPIAS papers are available online. The criteria used to decide which papers are on the web is –

What was public at the time is public now, and what was private at the time remains private now.

– “Public” papers include, for example: newsletters, minutes, agendas, reports, press cuttings, website contents.

– “Private” papers are, for example: membership forms with names and addresses, personal correspondence, membership lists, mailing lists, confidential minutes, databases.

For the UK National Archives, the rule is that private and personal data remains closed from publication for 100 years after its creation. For example, the 1921 Census papers will become publicly available in 2021.

Of particular concern here, there was the UPIAS Circular which was a private, confidential circular for the members only, and not allowed to have a wider circulation or readership. As a member, Kevin had a few editions of the circular and these are now in the Leeds Archive.

There were around 62 editions of the circular, and it would be excellent if copies of every one could be located from various attics and cupboards.

The advantage of somewhere like the Leeds Archive is that these private papers can be held in a closed or controlled archive. This means they are only available to genuine researchers, and can only be used in careful, ethical ways. For example, a researcher can read a copy to understand an issue better, but they cannot print the circular for others nor publish it online.

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