Rediscovering 800 years of disability history

Rediscovering 800 years of disability history

Group of people standing looking at camera

Heritage Grants

FOLKESTONE, Kent, South East
Screen South
The Accentuate History of Place focuses on exploring disabled people’s lives from the Middle Ages to the present day, in relation to built heritage.

Screen South's Accentuate programme explored what it meant to be a disabled person from the 1100s to the 1970s. They received £956,100 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to research these 800 years of history.

From 2016 to January 2019, their History of Place project worked with over 100 volunteers who conducted surveys and attended archival, oral history and disability equality training. They collected 31 oral histories and made five films with deaf and disabled people. Their findings were exhibited at 57 galleries, museums and archives, including MShed in Bristol, the Museum of Liverpool and the V&A in London.

Person looking at historical document
Conducting project research 

Their workshops and research have uncovered fascinating stories, including Edward Rushton’s story, a blind anti-slavery campaigner and creator of the first School for Blind people in Liverpool in the 18th century. Some of these stories were developed into interactive games and other digital resources available on their website.

Esther Fox, Head of Accentuate, said: "We want to ensure that this relatively hidden history is known by the wider public.”