Celebrating the Work of Our Project Partner, WECIL
By Alice Willatt, 17th October 2022
In today’s blog post, Connecting Through Culture researcher, Alice Willatt, reflects upon her day running a project stall alongside principal investigator, Prof. Helen Manchester, and CTC co-researcher, Elanora Ferry, at WECIL’s 2022 Access All Areas event. We would like to say a big thank you to WECIL, one of the project’s project partners, for all of their support and advice so far.
Helen and I had a fantastic time running a stall at WECIL’s (The West of England Centre for Inclusive Living) 2022 ‘Access All Areas’ event. WECIL are a Bristol-based user led organisation dedicated to supporting independent living to create a more inclusive society. As a community partner on our project, they have provided valuable support in recruiting older adults as co-researchers and advised us on how to ensure our research and co-design practices are inclusive to those involved.
During the event we were joined by Elanora, one of our project co-researchers. Elanora shared a fascinating selection of albums and journals created during her involvement in the project, which document her love of arts and cultural activities across the City of Bristol and beyond (see photos). It was great to meet others at the event and tell them more about our Connecting Through Culture project, including representatives from Bristol City Council. We also enjoyed hearing about WECIL’s exciting 5-year strategy and the launch of their Business Support Services (check out Disability.Inc.!).
The highlight of the day for us was the fantastic selection of talks. Penny Germon (Bristol City Council, Neighbourhoods and Communities) spoke about the impacts of the Cost of Living Crisis on disable people, and the community-led response in the form of the ‘Can Do Bristol’ campaign (website and volunteer opportunities available here). We also heard from two generations of disability rights campaigners, Jane Campbell and Ellen Clifford. Ellen spoke about how today’s cost of living crisis follows over a decade of government austerity measures in which welfare reform and cuts to health and social care have had a profoundly disproportionate impact on the lives and rights of disabled people.
The talks brought home the importance of collective action in fighting for disabled people’s rights and building a fairer and more just society where diversity is valued.