The Inclusive University

There is no them! 7th Child, Youth, Family & Disability Conference, University of the West of England, Bristol

Posted by Vicky Swinerd | 0 Comments

The seventh in the series of Child, Youth, Family & Disability Conferences took place at the University of the West of England in Bristol this week. The conference is the result of collaboration between colleagues from University of the West of England (Tillie Curran, Sarah Manns & Wendy Merchant), The University of Sheffield (Kirsty Liddiard), The University of Cardiff (Dawn Pickering) and Manchester Metropolitan University (Katherine Runswick-Cole). The aim of the conference is to create a space for disabled children and young people, family members and allies, as well as practitioners and academics, to discuss the issues that touch their lives. Over the two days more than a hundred people came together to share their experiences and ideas.

The conference theme this year was “There is no them!”. The title was a challenge to ways of speaking about and working with disabled children that assume that ‘they’ are all the same or only defined by their ‘disability’. Many of the sessions were delivered in workshop formats using creative approaches such as cartoons and drama and this enabled attendees to explore a range of complex issues including: ethical practices; and unlawful exclusion. Presenters shared information on recreational activities, communication support and the costs associated with living in a disabling world.

Over the course of the conference, it became clear that disabled children, young people and their families continue to experience discrimination and disabling practices, but it was also clear that people are resisting such practices and finding ways to work together to demand change in children and young people’s lives. This conference provides opportunities for attendees to build networks and to gain information and to make positive impacts on disabled children and young people’s lives.

Dr Katherine Runswick-Cole, Senior Research Fellow Disability Studies and Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University said: “As a team of people working together, we are really proud of this conference and the opportunity it gives to bring people together from a range of backgrounds and experiences. The discussions that follow are always thought provoking and challenging, demanding us all to think differently about childhood and disability and to advocate for change.”

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Jackie Longworth to be awarded Honorary Degree

Posted by Valerie Russell Emmott | 0 Comments

UWE Bristol will award the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration to Jackie Longworth in recognition of her contribution to gender equality, both locally and nationally.

The Honorary Degree will be conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the Faculty of Business and Law on Thursday 16 July 2015 at Bristol Cathedral.

Jackie chairs the regional women's equality network, Fair Play South West, which identifies the issues, policies and practices needed to improve women's equality and campaigns for their adoption. She is also a member of the SWTUC Women's Committee, which she has chaired in the past, and is currently a Vice-President of the Women's Engineering Society, having served as President in the past. These voluntary activities largely fill her time since she retired from the electricity industry in 2001.

Jackie graduated from the University of Bristol with a BSc (Hons) degree in physics and joined what was then the Central Electricity Generating Board in 1967. She worked for 34 years in nuclear plant safety: as a Research Officer at the Berkeley Nuclear Laboratories; as a nuclear safety engineer Group Leader; as a Manager of the Health, Safety and Environment Branch; and as Manager of an organisational change project to ensure that nuclear safety was fully considered in staff reductions. She worked continuously for one company as it changed its name and structure through Nuclear Electric to British Energy; it is now EDF.

Throughout this period, Jackie was an active member and representative of her Trade Union, then the Engineers' and Managers' Association, becoming its President in 1994. She was the first women delegate to the Union's annual conference, the first woman on its national executive and its first woman president. She was active in negotiations as the industry was split up and privatised and went through massive redundancy programmes. She was awarded an MBE for services to engineering management in 1996.

When she became a manager she represented her Union (now merged to become Prospect) at the SWTUC, serving on the Regional Executive, a role which she continued after her retirement. She represented the TUC as a social partner at the SW Regional Assembly, becoming the first woman chair of any regional assembly.

Jackie witnessed culture changes towards women engineers both within the Union and at work, but was disappointed that after 34 years women were still not equal in numbers, nor were they fully accepted as equally competent by male colleagues. In each new job and promotion she felt she was having to prove herself over again. Her experiences, and those of her fellows in the Women's Engineering Society, developed her passion for women's equality and made her a feminist.