Each year, a period of time spanning November and December is observed as UK Disability History Month (UKDHM). Now in its thirteenth year after being launched back in 2010, UKDHM exists as a platform to inform and educate about the history of disabled people and disability rights movements.
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Drawing invaluable lessons from this history, UKDHM also seeks to inspire future changes, making the world a more inclusive place for the 17% of the world's population who identify as disabled.
UKDHM was conceived with the founding principle of encouraging people, whether disabled or not, to 'focus on the ongoing struggle for equality of treatment that disabled people face'. Historic negative attitudes and ignorance have left behind an unacceptable, systemic oppression of disabled people, which UKDHM seeks to 're-interpret and re-evaluate' in order to achieve real, lasting change in all areas of society where such oppression exists.
Every year, UKDHM has a different theme; past themes have included Disability and the Visual Arts, Disability and Language, The Portrayal of Disability, War and Impairment, Hate Crime and Campaigning for Equality. The theme chosen for 2023 is Disability, Children and Youth.
The Disability, Children and Youth theme will 'focus on the experience of Disablement amongst children and young people in the past, now and what is needed for the future'. It has been chosen to ensure that this demographic will not have to suffer the social exclusion, negative attitudes, socially-created barriers, stigmas and stereotypes that have sadly blighted the lives of so many disabled people in the past.
UKDHM 2023 hopes that all organisations from councils and educational establishments to employers and health providers will 'examine their approaches to disabled children and youth'. It also wants the media to 'challenge the way they have portrayed disabled people in the past' in order to heighten inclusivity across the board.
Disability, Children and Youth
|Disabled child and friend drawing. Image by Freepix|
One of the key events of this year's UKDHM will be the launch of the 'Exploration 2023' project, which will invite young disabled people between the ages of 8 and 25 years to 'express the good, the bad and the changes they would like to see'. Young people across four age groups (under 8, 8-12, 12-16 and 16-25) will be invited to contribute work to the project in any of a variety of different expressive forms, including audio, acting, signing, film, artwork, poems and essays.
UKDHM 2023 runs from Thursday 16th November to Saturday 16th December inclusive. You can find out more information and ways to get involved by visiting https://ukdhm.org
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