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SHLD launches Keeping in Touch events!

This year the SHLD group will run a series of FREE online Keeping in Touch events. These events will replace our annual conference that usually takes place at The Open University in Milton Keynes.

Keeping in Touch days are designed to help us keep connected during the pandemic and share exciting developments in learning disability research and practice. They are inclusive sessions (on Zoom), involving a mix of presentations and discussion.

There are four Keeping in Touch events scheduled for 2021:

Tuesday 11th May 2021, 3-4.15pm

Strength through Story

The Surviving through Story website has been collecting personal stories from learning disabled people about how they are getting through the extraordinary challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic. The site has been a place to deposit stories about everyday life.

The event will feature stories from the site selected by the Surviving Through Story advisory group and will show a short film by journalist and author Saba Salman. 

This is an interactive event and there will be opportunities for participants to join in discussion and share stories.

Tuesday 13th July 2021: 9.30-11.30

Loss and Survival: remembering and staying strong

This event focuses on how people with learning disabilities face death and dying, loss and bereavement, and recovery. Our Keynote Speakers are:  Irene Tuffrey-Wine, Professor of Intellectual Disability and Palliative Care at Kingston & St. George’s University, whose work on bereavement is internationally renowned, and Richard Keagan Bull, co-researcher and self-advocate. Following their talk, Sue Pigott and Talkback will share their practical toolkit for coping with loss.

There will be time for discussion with an optional extension to the meeting from 11.30-12.30 for anyone who would like to share personal experiences.

The event is aimed at adults with learning disabilities and those who support them, including families, social care workers, health workers, teachers, therapists and counsellors, advocates and friends.

Anyone experiencing loss of a loved one during this difficult time can phone the CRUSE helpline which is available on 0808 808 1677-opening times each day are on the website 

Tuesday 21st September 2021

In Response: Making academic journals more inclusive

In 2020 The British Journal of Learning Disabilities (BJLD) launched a new feature In Response, giving people with learning disabilities the chance to provide feedback on published journal articles. In Response has highlighted important issues about who does research, how and why. It’s also raising some big questions about how people with learning disabilities can access published research and in what formats.

One year on, join us to hear In Response reviewers from Barod CIC, Sunderland People First and Cardiff People First talking about their experience of doing In Response pieces with BJLD journal editor Professor Melanie Nind.

December 2021

This event will be focused on marking some key anniversaries in the history of learning disability policy, for example the White Papers of 1971 and 2001.

Details to be confirmed.

Invites will be sent out before each Keeping in Touch event, but if you would like to register an interest in any of the sessions, please contact

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

About the website

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