Dave Clements, Dr Katherine Runswick-Cole and Denis Joe introduced a discussion on the changing perceptions of disability and the impact of the Paralympics.
It is widely reported that attitudes towards, and discrimination of, people with disabilities are getting worse. Institutional abuse revealed in recent scandals points to the shocking treatment some disabled people still face. The charity Scope argued that London’s Paralympics would ‘play a positive role in raising the profile of disabled people’. Chris Holmes, LOCOG Director of Paralympic Integration, predicted a ‘step-change in attitudes towards and opportunities for disabled people’. Has society become more hostile, as campaigners claim, or are we just more sensitive about the words people use? While the games may lead to greater participation in sport, will they have any impact on wider attitudes or on participation in the public sphere? Has the treatment of people with disabilities really changed for the worse anyway? Are some people still disabled by society?
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Some background readings
Attitudes towards disabled people are getting worse, Scope 8 September 2011
Let’s have a proper debate about the welfare state, by Brendan O’Neill, spiked 18 January 2012
Tanni Grey-Thompson and welfare reform, by Caroline Crampton, Total Politics 18 January 2012
The Paralympic Games will help change attitudes towards disability, by Chris Holmes, London 2012 Blog 27 January 2012
Disabled by Society? by Dave Clements, Huffington Post 19 February 2012
On Autism: Who Are They Fooling? by Dave Clements, Huffington Post 10 April 2012
Is autism just another identity? by Sandy Starr, spiked 23 April 2012
Could exoskeletons help disabled people to be more active? by Alex Rayner, Guardian 12 August 2012
Behind the Paralympics, the reality for disabled people in Britain 2012, by David Brindle, Guardian 20 August 2012
Martine Wright: from 7 July victim to Paralympic athlete, Guardian Sport 27 August 2012
Disability campaigners block road in anger against Atos Paralympics sponsorship, Mule 29 August 2012
Why the Paralympics must celebrate disabled entrepreneurs, by Robert Craven, Business Zone 29 August 2012
Paralympics. It’s all about the biceps, by Victoria Wright, Independent 29 August 2012
The disabled: the hardest hit? by Dave Clements, 29 August 2012
Turning the Paralympics into a political tool, by Brendan O’Neill, spiked 4 September 2012
Atos is doing a good job – as the government's flakcatcher, by Zoe Williams, Guardian 5 September 2012
Dave King: Down with the Paralympics! Down with Channel-4-liberalism! Disabled People Against Cuts, 8 September 2012
Venue and Time
In the main hall of Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester M2 1NL. If you're familiar with the area, it's diagonally opposite the Royal Exchange Stage Door.
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