Anglia Ruskin stages activity workshop for disabled people in the run up to international 'awareness' day

Published: 6 December 2005 at 13:10

Anglia Ruskin University has linked up with Cambridge City Council to stage an event for disabled people in the build up to the International Day of Disabled People 2005 (3 December).

The free Writing Workshop event entitled Activism, Creativity and Celebration, at the University's East Road, Cambridge campus, attracted around ten participants, not all of whom were disabled.

While a limit on the number of participants was set for the day, any number of people who wish to join in the project can send in their work by email or post. The results of the workshop will be posted on a special webpage to follow on from the event at

The event began with discussion of a newspaper article about disabled people brought in by one of the participants. The article's attitude to two disabled people - one a wheelchair user, the other blind - provoked a range of responses. The common thread was that when disabled people are represented in the media we often are not given a view of them as a whole person. 

These responses were put to creative use in writing produced during the afternoon, ranging from poems and short stories written from the perspective of a disabled person to activist writing responding to images of disabled people in the media.

Katy Price from Anglia Ruskin's Department of English & Media, said:

"We wanted as many disabled people with different levels of writing experience to participate in this project. Our aim is celebrate and question through writing the everyday experiences of disabled people.”

"The fact that we had a mix of able and disabled writers participate in the day made the event even more interesting. The issues that people face on a daily basis are universal. People can face discrimination because of age, social status, employment status or simply because of the way that they look. What the participants in this workshop identified is that we all need to look at the 'whole' person and not to be judgmental based on initial appearances or thoughts. It is appropriate that we should explore this theme in the run up to one of the key days in the year which helps us to celebrate equality and diversity."

The annual observance of the Day aims to increase awareness and understanding of disability issues and trends and to mobilise support for practical action at all levels, by, with and for persons with disabilities.

More than half a billion people are disabled as a result of mental, physical or sensory impairment and wherever they live, their lives are often limited by physical or social barriers.