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Conference 2010

Staff stories and stories about staff

Held on 1st and 2nd July 2010 at The Open University, Milton Keynes

Day one - 1st July 2010

Morning session


Keynote speech - Blow the rules
Professor Kelley Johnson

This paper looks at some of the ways in which the views of people with learning difficulties have changed about staff who support them.
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The role of support workers in my life, past and present
Christopher Blunt

I have received support from different staff in different settings during my life. When I was a teenager I was supported in a residential care unit in North Wales.
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Staff as liberators: liberation from what?
Sue Dumbleton

This paper will examine the impact of history on the ways in which people who have a learning disability are supported in the 21st century.
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St Lawrence's staff then and now
Mabel Cooper, Gloria Ferris and Jane Abraham

Mabel Cooper and Gloria Ferris both spent their early adulthood in St. Lawrence’s Hospital. They have clear memories of the nursing staff who worked with them and other patients.
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The way it was ... Stories from and about staff working in learning disability services, in the Highlands of Scotland, between 1966 and 2009
Karrie Marshall

This presentation is based on stories I collected from over 150 people in the Highlands of Scotland. Most of the interviewees lived or worked in Inverness long-stay hospitals (Craig Dunain and Craig Phadraig), and community learning disability services, between 1966 and 2009. Read the full abstract

During the lunch period, delegates were invited to view the exhibition and poster competition entries

Afternoon session


'He is a poor, foolish lad'. Before there were staff-informal family and social networks of support in the 18th and early 19th century London, and how the asylum system broke them up
Simon Jarrett

This paper is based on an examination of the transcripts of 42 trials held at the Old Bailey between 1710 and 1907 involving people with learning disabilities – either as the accused, the victim or as someone whose disability impacted on the case.
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Let us then be up and doing
David S Stewart, OBE

In November 1878 a large number of wagons and carriages conveyed the children from the old Asylum in Clapton to the new Schools at Darenth.
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Memories, stories and identity
David Wilberforce and Kate Mountford

Why do we (as staff) remember some service users that we have encountered and not others? Why do some episodes (sometimes just moments) from our past seem so much more significant than others, such that we retell these memories again and again to both ourselves and others?
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Staff stories from the 1980s
Allan Mayer

I want to talk about the experiences of staff during the 1980s who were assisting people in moving from large hospitals, back into the community.
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Day two - 2nd July 2010

Morning session


Staff now and then - what has changed?
Eygló Ebba Hreinsdóttir and Gudrun Stefansdóttir

This paper will explore the role of staff at different times. Ebba will tell about her experiences of the staff when she lived at an institution in Iceland. Gudrun will describe her experiences from the staff point of view but she worked at the same institution Ebba lived.
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A personal journey through different roles from 1973 to present day
Robert Henstock

This paper will review and examine the different roles I have experienced as a member of staff working in services that support people with learning difficulties (Open University terminology) since 1973 up to the present day.
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My stories of staff from Cell Barnes Hospital
Ivy Bozer and David O'Driscoll

I first went to Cell Barnes in St Albans, Hertfordshire in 1942 when I was 7 and I did not leave till the 1980s. I went there with some members of my family. I was there a long time; I met lots of staff some of whom I will talk about in this presentation.
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The leopard has changed its spots
Daniel Docherty

In this paper I am going to describe my experiences of support staff in the early 1970s when I was living in Calderstones. This was a large institution near Blackburn, in Lancashire.
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Stories we tell about ourselves and others - narrative theory and 'stories about stories' on the truth and ownership in a share of stories
Frank Bylov

I have chosen to do my presentation in a kind of 'double voice'. In the 'power-point' I shall show you some conceptual models taken from narrative theory, to give an abstract but also generalised view on stories, storytelling and the sharing and strengthening of 'the voice of our own'.
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During the lunch period, delegates were invited to view the exhibition and poster competition entries, after which the winning poster was chosen

Afternoon session


'... what is the kerfuffle going to be like?' Managing the closure of an institution: an oral history
Nigel Ingham

Remembering the early 1980s, Dave Spencer, then a trainee student nurse at the Royal Albert Hospital, Lancaster, wondered, 'What is the kerfuffle going to be like?'
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Hello and goodbye
Deborah Williams, Sue Spencer and the Reminiscence Group at Woodbine, Wanstead

This presentation will look at the different expectations and experiences between people with learning disabilities and the staff that support them within Redbridge day care and supported living.
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From community activists to 'jobs brokers': how has the job of supporting people towards employment changed over the last 30 years?
Lee Humber

I will be looking at how the job of supporting people towards employment has changed since the beginning of the 1980s based on my interviews of people with learning difficulties and social care workers in the London Borough of Camden.
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'And the people said they would never do it!' Staff stories about working in the community after working in institutions
Melanie Chapman and Professor Duncan Mitchell

In the North West the long stay hospitals for people with learning difficulties closed during the 1990s. This paper will look at the findings from a research project.
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Contact us

About the Group

If you woud like to get in touch with the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, please contact:

Liz Tilley 
Chair of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

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