On 7 December 2015 the Rose Bowl conference venue hosted an evening with London-based, highly acclaimed, writer, photographer and film-maker, David Hevey. David was invited to Leeds to discuss his work and approaches to documenting disability. His two hour informal and intimate talk was held in a lecture theatre, which utilised Well Met Conferencing’s audio visual facilities, allowing him to interact with and engage the 50 delegates.
The talk encompassed images from David’s ‘The Creatures Time Forgot’ photo-journal, clips from the three part BBC series ‘Disabled Century’ alongside feature-length documentary ‘Freakout’ which was also commissioned by the broadcaster. He also discussed his own experiences with epilepsy, his radical approach to journalism, and offered a Question and Answer segment as well as judging a UKDHM photography competition.
David Hevey said: “It’s a privilege to be here (in Leeds) to do a talk like this, every day I am astonished by where I am. I want to tell a story, and to challenge preconceptions as part of the radical media. I am glad that through this story telling I can create a different narrative and help the disability movement get somewhere.”
This event was one of a large programme which was organised by Leeds Beckett University in partnership with the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett Student’s Union, to celebrate UKDHM, running from 22 November to 22 December 2015. The focus of this month-long series was upon the changes to social attitudes and the portrayal of disabled people, which have been documented throughout time.
Amongst those activities also hosted in Leeds during the four weeks was a screening of ‘Lives Worth Living’, a documentary depicting the development of political consciousness of US-disability rights pioneers, a UKDHM Tennis Coaching Taster Session taught by Carnegie Coach Education Manager, Louise Assioun, and a comedy performance by disability rights campaigner and well-known comic Laurence Clark.
Katrina Tilbrook, Equality and Diversity Manager at Leeds Beckett University commented: “This is the second year we have celebrated UKDHM, and through working in partnership with the University of Leeds, we have been able to host a plethora of fantastic events to spark awareness about disability. It is magnificent to be able to host someone of David Hevey’s stature here for our UK Disability History Month. He has been progressive and brilliant in his changing perceptions of disability in through his work, and it is a real pleasure to be able to hear him discussing this at such an intimate talk.”
Well Met Conferencing’s venues and facilities offer great accessibility and assistance to disabled delegates, with every floor of The Rose Bowl venue fully wheelchair accessible and portable hearing loops available on request, while all of the University’s buildings have disabled access and the institution has an active Disability Action Group, compiling of both students and staff, who are seeking to constantly improve access for disabled people.