UK Disability History Month 2020

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UK Disability History Month (UKDHM) is an annual event focused on the history of disabled people’s fight for equality and human rights. The theme this year is Access: How far have we come? How far have we to go?

UKDHM 2020 will take place from the evening of 18 November until Friday 18 December. The University is helping to mark the awareness month by lighting up the Parkinson Building for International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), highlighting relevant online events and sharing the support available for disabled staff and students.

The organisers of UKDHM have collated some useful resources to explain more about the significance of this awareness month;


International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December 2020)

The Parkinson Building at night lit with purple light

The #PurpleLightUp of the Parkinson Building marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December 2020)

International Day of Persons with Disabilities takes place during UK Disability History month on 3 December. The University of Leeds will be marking this day by taking part in the #PurpleLightUpThe Parkinson building will be lit in purple to show our support for our disabled staff and students and our dedication to improving disability equality and inclusion. 



Details of more UKDHM events will be listed below. Please check back regularly for new additions.

UKDHM Online Launch event 2020
Date: 18 November, 7-9pm
About: The organisers of UKDHM are hosting a launch event evening with guest speakers discussing the topic of Access ‘How far have we come? How far have we to go?’

Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (CCDS) Disability History Month
Date: 18 Nov -18 Dec
About: As part of UK Disability History Month, the University of Leeds Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (CCDS) is promoting a series of resources including a YouTube playlist of 6 CCDS seminars. The playlist covers different aspects of disability history including both World Wars, the history of asylums, the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act and much more.

Inclusive Public Space Research Presentation
Date: 26 November, 12-2pm
About: Professor Anna Lawson, Joint Director of the University of Leeds Centre for Disability Studies, will deliver a research presentation discussing ‘Inclusive Public Space’ as part of the University of Bradford’s UKDHM events programme.

Leeds International Day of Disabled People 2020
Date: 1 – 4 December
About: A series of free online, accessible, inclusive performances, stories, exhibitions, discussions, information and activities have been organised to celebrate Leeds International Day of Disabled People 2020. The programme of events is being supported by Leeds City Council (LCC) ward Councillors and the LCC Equality Hub. Please visit to register for the live events or contact or 0113 242 1321 for assistance with booking.

Employ-able: Celebrating Disability in the Workplace
Date: 2 December, 1-3pm
About: A Careers Centre panel event featuring experts in disability rights and guests with lived experiences, who will be celebrating the diversity of bodies and minds in the job market whilst exposing the discrimination they often face. Students and recent graduates can book an online place via Blackboard Collaborate.

Please note, the link above only works for current students, but staff and other non-students are more than welcome to join in. If you are interested, please use this direct joining link on the day of the event.

Autism Awareness In Healthcare
Date: 2 December, 1-2pm
About: The School of Medicine have organised a first-hand account talk focusing on the impact autism awareness can have on those on the spectrum. Freddie Cooper, an alumnus of the University of Leeds, is a specialist radiographer with a passion for sharing his personal experiences about facing the barriers of Autism awareness across all aspects of healthcare. This talk will aim to give you an insight into the impact autism awareness can have to those on the spectrum, and how as professionals, we can aim to overcome this.

24-hour Global Broadcast #PurpleLightUp
Date: 3 Dec
About: The full programme of events includes panel discussions, interviews and webinars from across the world with the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN) and the Business Disability Forum (BDF) welcoming people to the Europe segment of the event programme.

Disability Rights and the Pandemic: A Story of Survival? (Caroline Gooding Memorial Disability Law Lecture 2020)
Date: 11 December, 12-13:30pm
About: Baroness Jane Campbell, a pioneering campaigner and adviser on disability rights, will reflect on the impact of the Coronavirus Crisis on disabled people in the UK and on implications for disability rights. This lecture is funded by the School of Law at the University of Leeds and hosted jointly by the University’s Centre for Disability Studies and the School of Law’s Centre for Law and Justice.

Leeds University Union (LUU) Disability History Month Events
LUU is dividing this month into four categories: Disability & Stigmas, Disability & Academia, Accessibility and ‘Fun Week’. They will be publishing a blog series, hosting workshops and creating a DJ music mix. Check out some of the events planned for this awareness month including British Sign Language taster sessions and Autism Awareness Workshop with Living Autism.

SU Disability History Month Events
Student unions across the country have collaborated to create a UKDHM website with a variety of events and opportunities that are open to all.

York Disability History Week
Date: 28 November – 5 December

About: There will be a range of events across York, including art exhibitions, workshops and forums. Find out more on the York Disability History Week website.


Support available for disabled staff and students at the University