Speaking Up for Disability

Speaking Up for Disability was a HLF-funded disability history project using oral history and personal testimony to explore the lives of disabled people in West Sussex in the 20th century.

The project recruited disabled and non-disabled volunteers from across West Sussex to be trained in oral history techniques and to record the stories of disabled people in the second half of the 20th century.

Over two years, Speaking up for Disability interviewed people across West Sussex, recording the unique experiences of disabled people across the county. The stories told included first hand accounts of the 1950s polio epidemic, of the challenges of independent living and of the early days of the West Sussex Association for Disabled People. A  Key Stage 3 Citizenship pack for use in schools was distributed across the county, along with a touring exhibition. All interviews, images and ephemera gathered through the project are now archived at the West Sussex Records Office.

Esther set up the project, overseeing all areas of its development, including the challenging transition phase from Voice for Disability to Independent Lives when the former organisation closed.