University event challenges perspectives on disability
Published Thursday 29th September 2011
The University’s Alumni Association welcomed alumni, students, staff and other guests to the ‘Challenging a Disabling World’ lecture and networking event.
The event was held on 27 September at Sunley Conference Centre.
Amongst the inspirational speakers was Tony Giles, a BA American Studies graduate who is blind and predominantly deaf. Tony talked about his backpacking adventures around the globe and his recently published book, 'Seeing the world my way'.
It's difficult to explain to people with sight how someone with no sight can travel from city to city. I'm not a blind person who travels, I'm a traveller who just happens to be blind.Tony Giles
BA English and Drama graduate Victoria Curtis was born deaf, and currently works with Northampton-based organisation DeafConnect. She has also worked with Hollywood studios to enable millions of deaf people to enjoy signed versions of films.
After a bad experience during my school years I was reluctant to return to education, but I was shocked at how the system had moved forward. I had a note taker in the room with me so I could finally look at the tutor all the time and I could interact with other students.Victoria Curtis
The event was also attended by John Wood, Chief Executive of Northamptonshire Association for the Blind (NAB), who said:
We wouldn't be able to offer the services that NAB does without the amazing help from over 400 volunteers in the county who assist with a variety of services such as home visits, driving and audio description.John Wood
Joanna Steer, Chief Executive of Deaf Connect, added:
There are over 100,000 people in Northamptonshire who suffer with some form of hearing loss but only 1,000 are able to use sign language, which results in isolation for those individuals and challenges for their families and friends.
Communication is a basic human need and we all need it to get by.Joanna Steer
Debbie Greaves, Head of Development at the University explained that the University's intention in organising and hosting the event was to "demonstrate our pride in our extremely talented and inspirational alumni."
There are many students and staff members with hidden disabilities and events like these make us aware of some of the challenges and opportunities faced by our colleagues and friends.Debbie Greaves