In 1967, 20 years after it opened, Ely Hospital hit the headlines following allegations of the ill treatment of residents. A subsequent series of inquiries led to reform and the eventual closure of all such institutions across Wales.
Cardiff People First (CPF) is a self-advocacy group run by people with learning disabilities; some of its members are former residents of Ely Hospital who now live in the community. Over 18 months CPF set out to produce 20 digital stories, an exhibition at the Cardiff Story Museum and an animation. It also created a series of workshops designed to help people understand changes to disability rights as well as the impact Ely Hospital had on those who lived there. Guest speakers, including social work students from universities in Cardiff, led some of the workshops.
Former residents and ex-staff at the hospital were invited to tell their story using a method of their choice: email, voice or video recording. Older participants conducted the interviews and made research visits to Glamorgan archives. Younger participants were tasked with preparing interview questions, creatively interpreting the stories and actively planning the exhibition with museum staff.