The University of Dundee are proud that we celebrated UK Disability History Month from the 18 November until Friday 18 December 2020. We hosted a programme of events aimed to raise awareness, to understand and to improve the position of disabled people in society.

Find out more about how you can get involved by emailing the Public Engagement and Major Events team

Named 'Disability' Professors - what does this mean for Dundee: A Conversation

Wednesday 18 November - 11:00-12:00

The School of Education & Social Work and Disabled Staff Network hosted this event. They were joined by Professor Graham Pullin, Professor of Disability and Design, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell, Professor of Disability and Ableism Studies, School of Education and Social Work. Their conversation discussed the significance of named disability Chairs and possibilities for centring disability research at the University of Dundee.

Why Disabled Staff Networks Matter

Friday 20 November 14:00 - 15:00

Jacqueline Nicholson, Mental Health Policy Adviser, University of Aberdeen presented 'Why Disabled Staff Networks Matter', which drew on the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN) Experience.

Autism and Reasonable Adjustments in the Workplace

Wednesday 25 November 2020,  11:00-12:00

Dr Catriona Stewart OBE, Scottish Women's Autism Network (SWAN) and Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell, University of Dundee

This workshop raised many questions and answers, such as: The Equalities Act stipulates the requirement for employers to make 'reasonable adjustments' for employees with protected characteristics. What if, for autistic people, no-one knows what those adjustments might be, including the autistic employee? What about the barriers to gaining employment in the first place for autistic people? And what if, even when they scale those barriers, issues of communication in the workplace are so profound, they marginalise and discriminate in ways that are 'invisible' to all except the autistic employee? What is the cost and who pays it?

View the recording of this event on the University YouTube channel.

Disability Consciousness-Raising and COVID-19: Possibilities and Challenges

Wednesday 2 December 11:30 - 12:30

Prof Fiona Kumari Campbell

This event was a speaker swap which has been co-ordinated by the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN)

Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell (FRSA) explained that the COVID-19 epidemic has had horrific consequences in terms of life, social isolation, the demonization of disabled and aged people, and challenges to the economy. However, it has also acted as a moment to reappraise the meaning of ‘disability' and affords the opportunity to build up the disability rights movement.

This presentation discussed the convergence of these new realities. It considered the COVID-19 crisis as a moment of opportunity to harness the role of consciousness raising strategies, in order to bring together disparate groups of disabled people in conversation, reflection and action around institutionalised ableism.

University's Annual Disability Awareness Lecture - In honour of Eddie Small

Thursday 3 December 16:00 - 17.00

This was the inaugural The University of Dundee Annual Disability Awareness Lecture, in honour of Eddie Small. The late Mr Eddie Small was an active member of the Disabled Staff Network. Eddie was a historian, playwright, creative writing tutor and Public Engagement Officer in the School of Humanities. In this year's lecture John Horon shared his background as a disabled barrister, and the reasons why others should follow him by joining the legal profession.

View the recording of this event on the University YouTube channel.

Changes and challenges in higher education for disabled students and staff

Friday 4 December 11:00-12:00

Changes and challenges in higher education for disabled students and staff - a personal perspective over 25 years

Dr. Shirley Hill, Head of Disability Services at the University of Dundee

Shirley Hill is Head of Disability Services at the University of Dundee. In this role, she is primarily responsible for managing the delivery of a range of confidential services for disabled students and staff. She is a Chartered Psychologist, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and has a Doctorate in Education. For her doctoral research, Shirley investigated the experience of disabled students on professional practice placements and subsequently published the key outcomes of this research in the peer-reviewed journal Disability & Society. Prior to her role in Disability Services, Shirley worked as a research psychologist on various projects, including research on dyslexia and literacy development, and peer-supported learning in higher education.

Integrating Tacit Knowledge

Wednesday 9 December 12:00 -  13:00

Integrating Tacit Knowledge into Students' Learning: good practice from the Schools of Computing and Education & Social Work - Rolf Black, Susan Levy and John Dow

This presentation provided insights into the approaches and models adopted in the Schools of Education and Social Work, and Science and Engineering to involve service users and carers in students' learning. The integration of user perspectives is effectively supporting students to co-produce outcomes through design and social work practice that is inclusive and can enhance the lives of people with disabilities. Discussion of current good practice in the two Schools was used as examples that could be adopted by other Schools.  The presentation provided a space for exploring opportunities to develop a University wide user group for collaborative work, true to the One Dundee approach.

Peripheries Research Group – Disabled Researchers – Threats and Possibilities?

Friday 11 December 2020 - 09:00 - 10:30

As part of the University's 2020 Disability History Month programme, this event featured disability scholars from around the world. It covers the challenges that disabled researchers face on a daily basis and features the personal experiences of disability scholars.

M/C: Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell, University of Dundee,


  • Dr Huhana Hickey, Independent Researcher, NZ;
  • Professor Anita Ghai, Ambedkar University, India;
  • Dr Anne Ferguson, Central Queensland University, Australia;
  • Dr Camit Noa Shpigelman, Haifa University, Israel;

View the recording of this event on the University YouTube channel.