The ‘Fighting for our Rights’ project (2016-2018), was a Heritage Lottery funded collaboration between Kingston Centre for Independent Living (KCIL), two social enterprises, two university departments (School of Nursing and School of Education) and a local special school. It collected and shared stories from people involved in the Disability Rights Movement (DRM), from 1960s to 1990s, within the local community, in order to inspire future generations of care professionals and teachers in working with people with disabilities.
The aim was to improve awareness, knowledge and understanding of student nurses and teachers about disability and inclusion in their developing professionalism in higher education (HE) and beyond. This would be facilitated by learning about local disabled people’s activism, by finding out about independent living and by embedding information in the given HE modules through collaborative work and co-production, while building relationships with people with disabilities and the wider community.
The Project was a huge success, with the commitment of its collaborators in developing experiential and inspirational educational approaches resulting in several awards, including the 2018 Inclusive Curriculum Award at Kingston University, a 2019 National Teaching Award, as well as being short listed for a Nursing Award. We can see an excellent, local example of successful use of the curriculum at Dysart school, who adapted and tailored it to fit their children’s needs, becoming pioneers in their approach to tackling disability and identity related concepts with children who have severe and profound learning difficulties.
Key to its success was the multi-disciplinary collaboration on curriculum design, from both universities and schools, and combining this with actual narratives taken from a relevant community – in this case disabled people, as allowed through the amazing work of KCIL. A great example of a user-informed resource used to benefit a local community.
The Special Interest Group on Inclusion and Social Justice aims to continue this collaboration with Heritage 2 Health, KCIL, schools and the community in order to create “a world that works for all, where professionals seek to understand the experience of people, of all ages, with complex and profound disability, and push for inclusive, socially just practice.”
For more information on integrating this fantastic resource into your core curriculum and to join this movement to help create a more inclusive society, contact Dr. Paty Paliokosta on [email protected].