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SHLD Conference 2017 - Doing research on the social history of learning disability: learning lessons

20th and 21st July 2017, The Open University, Milton Keynes

We are delighted to announce that the next Social History of Learning Disability Conference will be held at the Open University in Milton Keynes on 20th and 21st July 2017.

The theme of the conference is 'Doing research on the social history of learning disability: Learning Lessons'.

Please click here to register and find out more information about the conference.

Delegates at the 2013 Conference

The Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group runs annual open conferences, in which academics, staff, parents and people with learning disabilities construct history together.

We began running these conferences in 1994 and since 1999 they have been held annually, although information for some of these early conferences is not available on this website. You will, however, find information on most of the later events within the Conferences menu. Our conferences have been developed as 'inclusive spaces' where everyone has a contribution. People with learning disabilities, sometimes working alongside carers or academics, are core contributors to the conferences. They share stories, memories and viewpoints, together with others who have a stake in better understanding history. Topics covered have included institutions, community care, advocacy, resistance, relationships, staff, families, and health care. People with learning disabilities also take on co-chairing responsibilities, which enable these events to run smoothly.

Kelley Johnson, Rob Hopkins and Joe McGrath at the 2013 Conference

Louise Frost at the 2009 Conference


SHLD conferences: messages from research and experiences

The short video below, made at the SHLD conference in 2013, will give you a flavour of the views of some of the participants. Many of the views expressed here come from personal, lived experience which is one of the hallmarks of the annual conference.

Messages from research and experience

Previous conferences (and seminars)

For details of our previous conferences (along with the occasional seminar) please click on the titles below. This will allow you to view the conference programme, abstracts and (where available) audio and video recordings. Please note that wherever possible we provide alt text to ensure that images used in abstracts and PowerPoint presentations are accessible to those using screen reading software. However, because the responsibility for providing alt text rests with the authors of presentations and abstracts we cannot always guarantee full accessibility.

Contact us

About the Group

If you woud like to get in touch with the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, please contact:

Liz Tilley 
Chair of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
MK7 6AA

About the website

If you have any feedback or would like to report a problem with the website, please contact WELS-Research-Admin@open.ac.uk.