Scope to Speak for Themselves

Catherine Allen describes a new oral history project that aims to create an archive charting the experiences of disabled people throughout the twentieth century.

How do you begin compiling an oral history of disabled people? Scope, the national disability charity, will employ a team of volunteer interviewers, themselves disabled, and train them in oral history techniques in order to explore the life experiences of an older generation of people with cerebral palsy.
The initiative was conceived by Scope and disabled activists compelled by the absence of a historical account of disabled people’s lives. The project forms part of the charity’s 2002 Time to Get Equal campaign launched in its fiftieth anniversary year, and will continue Scope’s campaign for equality for disabled people by informing future generations. The charity has secured Heritage Lottery funding to recruit a full-time project co-ordinator to work with other disabled people to create their own history.
‘This is a great opportunity for disabled people to create a collective history. Through personal testimonies this initiative will bring together the voices of one of the most overlooked minorities in the UK today,’ says Alex White, Scope’s project leader.

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