Enabling people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to belong in public and community archive collections

Tilley, Elizabeth; Ledger, Susan and de Haas, Catherine (2020). Enabling people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to belong in public and community archive collections. In: Nind, Melanie and Strnadová, Iva eds. Belonging for People with Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities: Pushing the Boundaries of Inclusion. London: Routledge, pp. 176–195.

Abstract

Having the opportunity to access and participate in heritage is an important element of being included, on an equal basis, in society. Public archives have a role in fostering a sense of belonging, connection, recognition and accomplishment. Recently, people with learning disabilities have been recovering their history and reporting it in their own words. But amidst such progress people with profound and multiple learning disabilities have continued to be neglected from history; their lives, experiences, memories and contributions remain hidden and silenced. The Inclusive Archive of Learning Disability History Project sought to address this inequality by engaging directly with people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, their families, carers and service providers, as well as the heritage sector, to explore their wishes and any barriers to their inclusion in history. We worked collaboratively with families, lawyers and archivists to tackle the legal uncertainties, safeguarding concerns and lack of experience and confidence. In this chapter we report on project methods and findings and outline the co-produced archive depositing pathway for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

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