Swansea Paralympian to help mark Disability History Month

Swimmer and Swansea University student Gemma Almond to blog about her history research

 Gemma Almond

To mark UK Disability History Month (November 22 to December 22), the Disability and Industrial Society project based at Swansea University will be showcasing new research on the subject.

One researcher blogging about her work on the project’s website will be Paralympian Gemma Almond, a Swansea history undergraduate who is looking at hip dysplasia in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Wellcome Trust-funded project is based at Swansea but is a collaboration with four other British universities. It explores the impact of industrial injuries and diseases in British coalfields and blogs about all aspects of disability and mining history on its website blog http://dis-ind-soc.org.uk.



Research fellow Dr Michael Mantin, of the College of Human and Health Sciences, said:

 “Disability history no longer means writing about disabled people as passive recipients of treatment or care, or statistics in institutional, medical or governmental records. There is now an ever-growing scholarship which focuses on the experiences of disabled people in history, identifies how the policies of institutions, voluntary organisations and the state affected disabled people, and recognises that disability is central to almost every area of historical life.”

The academics, organisations and students used their blogs to reflect on the importance of writing about the lives of disabled people in history. In many cases they explored their own personal relationship with the subject.

For example, Nicole Belolan’s opening blog post looks at how her interest in collecting antiques and material culture helps her look for disabled people in the past.

Gemma Almond’s blog appears later in the month, along with a piece by the Birmingham charity Cerebral Palsy Midlands.

Project Co-Director Dr David Turner said:

 “‘Disability and Industrial Society: A Comparative Cultural History of British Coalfields 1780-1948 is one of the largest scale attempts to understand the lives, experiences and treatment of disabled people in the past ever undertaken.

"The project blog is an important means by which we are engaging the public in our research and introducing aspects of disability history more widely. Disability History Month presents an exciting opportunity to reflect on how we can learn from the lessons of history to meet the challenges facing disabled people and their families in the present’.

The blogs will run regularly until December 16. Visit http://www.dis-ind-soc.org.uk/en/blog.htm