Inclusion Now 54

Being Seen: Being Heard

ALLFIE has been awarded a grant from the National Lottery under their Lived Experience Pilot programme to deliver an 18 month project titled ‘Being Seen: Being Heard’. ALLFIE’s Interim Director Michelle Daley introduces the project.

The Being Seen: Being Heard project has been co-produced with RIP:STARS and ALLFIE. The RIP:STARS (Research into Practice/Policy: Skilled Team with Ambition, Rights and Strength) are a group of disabled young researchers from Coventry. The group were trained by academics Anita Franklin and Geraldine Brady to co-lead research. They previously examined quality and rights in Education, Health and Care Plans and presented this evidence to the Education Select Committee SEND Inquiry.

The project brings together the RIP:STARS with twelve leaders of the Disabled People’s Movement to provide a space:

  • to share intergenerational experiences of what makes a good leader
  • to examine what the barriers are for Disabled people in becoming leaders
  • to learn what Disabled people have done to challenge disablism and discrimination to create change.

Together young people and leaders will reflect on their lived experience and identify their values and passions, strengthen their skills and better understand the qualities of a leader. These intergenerational exchanges will address the disconnect in deep conversations, uncovering the importance of what makes a leader and the need to create new leaders.

As Tom, a RIP:STAR says:

“It is important that disabled young people learn about the history of the disability movement. Until we became RIP:STARs we had not heard of it. That made us angry. It is good that we can now turn our anger into learning skills and working with these important people to make a change for all disabled young people – we can’t wait to make and share our graphic story.”

The leaders will bring to life the history and principles of the Disability Rights Movement and encourage and support their successors to become the next generation of leaders. The project will create an online graphic story communicating the history and unique role of the movement.

There will be opportunities for participants to lead sessions on areas related to their interests. Disability rights leaders have developed skills in conveying their messages, and this project offers an opportunity to share those techniques.

The project will look at how current leaders in the movement have influenced others. One of the most influential figures in the UK movement is Baroness Jane Campbell, who worked her way up from grassroots activism to promoting the messages of the Disability Rights Movement in Parliament. Baroness Campbell used her skills and experience to create a story that would influence others to take action. We also have Richard Rieser, a lifelong campaigner for inclusive education and the instigator of Disability History Month. This is exactly what the Being Seen: Being Heard project is about: turning talk into action.

Leadership is necessary to help change and challenge perceptions but also to ensure the continuation of the principles and values of the Disability Rights Movement. This project will remind others of the many achievements by activists at the heart of the movement and the importance of leadership in increasing influence, conveying messages and achieving action.