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Conference 2015

Biography, life stories and life histories

Held on 18th and 19th June 2015 at The Open University, Milton Keynes

Day one - 18th June 2015

Morning session - Chairs: Ian Davies and Liz Ellis

Introduction

Keynote speech - 21 years of the Social History of Learning Disability Research Group
Professor Jan Walmsley

In this opening address, I propose to review the role life stories and life histories have played in the 21 year history of the Social History of Learning Disability Research Group, with the help of the World Premiere of the late Mabel Cooper’s film. Read the full abstract ...

"... and there you are allowed to stay throughout your life!" - Life history research with people with learning difficulties in total instutitions
Gertraud Kremsner and Benjamin Emberger

In this paper we want to talk about first results from a study currently conducted in Vienna/Austria. It is called "Experiences with personal and institutional structures in the biographies of people with learning difficulties". Read the full abstract ...

The History of Self Advocacy in Oxfordshire and its impact on my life
My Life, My Choice

Funding from the Heritage Lottery recently helped us to produce a short user-led film called "Speaking up, speaking out, and speaking easy – a history self-advocacy for people with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire." Read the full abstract ...

The life of a Greek man with learning difficulties
Godfred Boahen

In this paper I tell the life story of a young Greek man called Abrax who was involved in research I conducted and was labelled as 'learning disabled' at the time. Read the full abstract ...

Past in my present - uncovering our social history
Rachel Barker, Emily Moorhouse, Vicky Ackroyd and Helen Atherton

Purple Patch Arts is an organisation based in Bradford. They work to improve the lives and life chances of people with learning disabilities by delivering inclusive arts education across the Yorkshire region. Read the full abstract ...

Afternoon session

A choice of workshops or presentation

Between 2pm and 3pm, people can choose to attend a workshop or to listen to presentations. Each workshop will be limited to 12 participants, booked at Conference registration.

Presentations

Sixty years of living with Down's Syndrome
Debbie Race

My sister and my son, they were both born with Down’s Syndrome. Read the full abstract ...

A letter to ... Amazing and resilient women ... I thank you!
Deborah Phillips

This presentation stems from a recent personal experience when I received a 'return to sender' card. Read the full abstract ...

Workshops

Workshop 1 - Towards good practice
Towards good practice: how people with profound and multiple learning disabilities are living good lives and sharing their stories
(Noelle McCormack, Catherine and Johanna de Haas)
(Chaired by Sue Ledger)

Workshop 2 - The ethics of life story work
The ethics of life story work
(Liz Tilley)
A bad experience
(Angela Still)
(Chaired by Janet Bardsley)

Workshop 3 - Telling life stories
From project hunter to Raspberry pi: a snapshot of a teenager's life story through his schooling experience
(The Woodbine Group, Tom Smith and Hilra Vinha)
(Chaired by Nigel Ingham)

"I do not have to travel to the temple" - Stories of becoming a parent of a child with disability in Thailand
Dr Michelle Proyer

I collected two life stories in Thailand. One story of a mother of a daughter with a learning disability and one of a father of a daughter with learning disability. The stories were told in Thai. Read the full abstract ...

Our lives - telling our life story our way
Building Bridges Training

Building Bridges research group is an inclusive research group of people with a learning disability who live in the West Midlands.  Most people have no support from services, and a couple have just a little tenancy support. Read the full abstract ...

Day two - 19th June 2015

Morning session - Chairs: Jan Walmsley and Craig Hart

Introduction

Keynote speech - Lives into story
Nicola Grove and Robin Meader

The ability to share stories about what has happened in our everyday lives is one of the most important communication skills that children can develop. Read the full abstract ...

Some life stories from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
Simon Jarrett

Life stories help people to belong, because they enable individuals to be heard and understood as a fully-rounded human, rather than be labelled in a particular way by those who know nothing about them. Read the full abstract ...

The Hidden Now Heard project
Paul Hunt

The Hidden Now Heard project is collecting the oral histories of people with a learning disability and staff from six former long-stay hospitals across Wales. Read the full abstract ...

"Time with Larry ... Pray for ownership of your dreams" - A short film and book presentation about a man who emigrated to Ireland
Larry O'Bryan and friends

In 2003, at the age of 58, Larry O'Bryan emigrated from Bath in Avon, UK, to live in Kilrush, Co. Clare in the west of Ireland. Read the full abstract ...

Telling it like it is - the experience of storytellers with disabilities
Zoe Hughes

There have been lots of projects around the world where people with disabilities have told their stories. These stories are interesting and important. But what is it actually like to tell your story? Read the full abstract ...

Afternoon session

A choice of workshops or presentation

Between 2pm and 3pm, people can choose to attend a workshop or to listen to presentations. Each workshop will be limited to 12 participants, booked at Conference registration.

Presentations - Having a good life: growing older with a learning disability

Jimmy - an Eastender's story
Michael Shamash

My name is Michael Shamash and I am a freelance researcher with ties to Middlesex University and the University of Bedfordshire. Read the full abstract ...

The lived experience of older women
Alison Pointu

People with learning disabilities are living to a much older age. Read the full abstract ...

Workshops

Workshop 1 - Towards good practice
Towards good practice: how people with profound and multiple learning disabilities are living good lives and sharing their stories
(Noelle McCormack, Catherine and Johanna de Haas
(Chaired by Sue Ledger)

Workshop 2 - Be your own adventure
Be your own adventure: hero tales in everyday life
(Nicola Grove and Robin Meade, open story tellers)

Defining moments
Changing Scenes (Oxfordshire Older Carers)

'Defining moments' tells the life stories of three families from the point of view of family carers. Read the full abstract ...

Working together to create a new living archive of learning disability history
Sue Ledger, Vicky Green and Nigel Ingham

Three universities and two self-advocacy groups have been given money to work together. The project is to put people with learning disabilities at the centre of recording and telling their own history. Read the full abstract ...

Closing remarks
Jan Walmsley