Research Bulletin, October 2020

Hello all,

Well, it’s still a strange world for us all at the moment. Here’s my monthly update in case there’s anything new here that might help or be of interest to you. This month has been mostly works-in-progress rather than shiny new ‘outputs’.

1. Sian Vasey

Sadly, Sian died this month, a very good friend of many of us. Tributes have been given in DNS and in Facebook, and when the time is right we can start to think in detail about her legacies. One aspect I’m interested in is her work as a disabled TV producer at ITV then at BBC. I feel that the representation of disabled people in ‘the business’ has improved in front of the camera more so than it has behind the camera – the crews – where most of the jobs are. I’d welcome any thoughts, whether private messages or public postings.

2. Rachel Hurst Library

As well as kindly donating her extensive collection of files to the Disabled People’s Archive, Rachel has also kindly donated her personal library of books – 13 boxes of rare treats. I’ve added another three boxes of books to that set from Lorraine Gradwell, Pam Thomas, and myself. It’s far too soon to say where these will end up finally, so they are being safely stored meantime. Ideally it would be in a public reference library, but no-one is underestimating the cuts and pressures that local authorities face at the moment, from the pandemic but also from 10 years of austerity cuts. The news yesterday of further planned cuts within Manchester City Council do not bode well for us all.

3. BBC documentaries

I seem to have become a (willing) props department for two documentaries being made for BBC Two to be broadcast next year – some DAN drinking mugs with “Piss on Pity”, and some original UPIAS documents from the archive boxes.


4. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

It was a pleasure to be asked whether one of my photographs of disabled activists campaigning at a march could be used for a banner on the website of the new Disability Research Group at the University of Strathclyde.

5. International Day of Disabled People (3 Dec)

Nothing is yet finalised, but lots of work is underway in Manchester to produce the usual packed programme of events as an entirely digital experience this year. Happy to be playing a small role in the background.

6. Nothing About Us Without Us and PHM

Similarly not yet finalised, lots of work underway with the People’s History Museum (PHM) in Manchester to continue with a physical exhibition for 2022, plus some virtual items in the meantime. Also (no promises) some very early discussions on whether the exhibition could also be toured across England including London, as well as across Greater Manchester.

7. TV in 1980s

I’ve had an interesting chat last week with a TV producer in Manchester who first came across GMCDP in the 1980s and from there worked with the Hearing Voices Network. The work was sadly abandoned mid-production by BBC at the time because another channel (C4) was also interested.

Stay safe,


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