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My thoughts on accessibility by Patricia McCalla

With eyes weather you can see or not it’s good to be seen.

With ears it’s great to hear but good to be heard.

With your hands it’s good to hold/feel but good to held and be felt.

With your feet it’s good to walk but to be reassured that your walk is safe.

Finally with your mind which does control the above with thoughts and for others to be thoughtful and be aware of others thoughts.

So therefore I feel this is starting to work within our group and leaves me with positive views and therefore there is no going back but to move forward and expand.

Patricia McCalla, March 2021

10th December 2020 - Disability Rights and Robotics: Co-producing futures online event.

A UWE Bristol Social Science in the City event to celebrate Disability History Month

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In this time of rapid social change to our social and work lives, relationships, and leisure, new technologies might support disability rights like ‘driverless cars’, smartphones, social media, and new robotic technologies. Using co-production methodology 25 co-researchers from the University of the West of England, Fairfield Farm College and Wiltshire Centre of Independent Living came together to ask -

How can robotic technologies support disability rights?

To share this project and our experience of using co-production methodology, the Social Science in the City event offered an online tour of the UWE Bristol Robotics Laboratory Assisted Living studio and a mini knowledge café. Accessibility was the theme of Disability History Month. The option of live captioning, a BSL interpreter was available for the tour and evening café, and a script and a pre-recorded tour was available in advance and is available here.


The telepresence tours gave attendees a sense of being inside the Assisted Living Studio. This direct experience of telepresence demonstrates how it may improve access to many aspects of life such as work, school and cultural activities. Attendees could then consider using different robotic technologies such as telepresence robots, sensors and mobility technology to ease living at home. The quick survey many attendees completed will be used to develop future public tours of the laboratory.


The mini knowledge café welcomed fifty participants from all over the world who were then encouraged to become co-researchers. The team started with presenting their project, the possible uses and limitations found and the key messages pressing for public involvement from the outset of design, ethics issues relating to consent and control and equality around access and accessibility.

The discussion that followed echoed these key messages with concerns regarding personalised functionality, personal data management and the necessity for robots to respond to stammer, sign language, and varied communication forms. There were also exciting discussions about the potential of robots and ideas about uses of robotics technology for young children, companionship, prompts, and the possibilities of breaking down barriers to enjoy life to the full like anyone else. Public involvement, we heard, needs to start at the research bidding stage to create the questions, build the team and design the research process. For that to happen, welcome, safety and trust need to be built at a comfortable pace.The Participation Cube (Gibson et al., 2020) evaluated the attendees' experience of accessibility of the mini knowledge café and opportunities to make their voice heard. The visual image of responses showed that most people found the event accessible and provided a valuable forum for discussion. The learning from this event will inform a Planning for Accessibility resource to ensure inclusivity and meet the legal requirements now in place for all public events.


This event was an excellent example of inter-faculty collaboration between FET and HAS, which included public involvement. For further information about the project, see our Disability Rights and Robotics website – www.disabilityrightsandrobotics.co.uk for reports, events and resources. Please contact Sophie Savage, Associate Lecturer or Tillie Curran, Visiting Fellow – emails on the website.


Collaborating with 10th Chippenham Cubs group


Presentation to 10th Chippenham Cubs group - http://10thchippenham.org.uk/

Thursday 3rd December Disability Rights and Robotics – making dreams come true?

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We were invited to the 10th Chippenham Cubs Group to talk about disability awareness and to explore how robotics technology might support disability rights together.


We would like to thank the cubs for sending in their drawings, and for taking part we learned a lot together.


Below is our script.



Hello! We are Tillie and Sophie we are researchers at the University of the West of England. Research is asking questions and finding things out to make knowledge. Today you are going to be researchers!


The question we are starting with is what are your hopes and dreams for the future?


In one of our projects we asked disabled young people the same question – and this is what they said – IMAYDIT link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzcRjK51azk


Were their dreams like yours?


Rights are about having dreams and being able to choose your future. Now it is is Disability History Month and the theme is Access.

Access is about making the choices accessible to all.


So we have talked about the future, disability rights and accessibility. You may already know about disability.


Now we are going to talk about robots


Can you draw a robot – what you think a robot looks like?

Here are some drawings made in one of our research projects!


Now we shall see some real robots in action – we showed a short film made by Praminda and Alex at the BRL with Pepper and Double.


How might these robots help your dreams come true? Draw your robot or one like Pepper or Double and show them helping you to achieve your dream


Now you have made knowledge! You know how a robot might help your dreams come true. Think about how robots might help disabled children achieve their dreams. More drawing!


To celebrate lets learn from the robots – lets dance – https://twitter.com/st_monica_trust/status/1011994872457330688?lang=en


To the left are the drawings from the Cub group demonstrating the knowledge we generated in the session.


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A reflection on co-research.

This research project really helped to open my eyes. I did not know what to expect when I first joined the group but soon realised how important the project, and the questions we raised were to consider. Working collaboratively with individuals from different courses, as well as those with lived experiences, highlighted the different perspectives we have and varying ways of looking at things. Each question we formed was an important part of the whole. I was really lucky to be a part of this project and see the way it has developed over the past year, and although the coronavirus has had a big impact on what we thought it would be, I hope that we continue to research and question.

Rebecca Halliwell, 9/12/20



Rebecca Halliwell

A Narrative Personal Profile – Dr. Jackie Clarke.


Jackie Clarke is a Family Carer working for improvement and change for over 38 years and counting. She is the Family Carer of her adult son who has Autism & Complex Needs. She has two grown children and two grown grandchildren.
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Jackie Clarke is a Family Carer working for improvement and change for over 38 years and counting. She is the Family Carer of her adult son who has Autism & Complex Needs. She has two grown children and two grown grandchildren.

This is a small part of her journey as a family carer from 1972 – 2010

(NB: But there is whole other story, not told here, about her professional life in the theatre)

Starting at the beginning of the 1970’s with Family leadership in nursery provision for the 'differently able’ d. Setting up Parent / Staff Ass. Support for Parents & fund raising

Then on to Education - Governor of Special Educational School throughout her son's school life. Set up Parent / Staff Ass (Secretary) Support for parents /staff also fundraising.

Founder member of ‘Campaign for the Mentally Handicapped' in the early 1970’s, Highlighting the plight of people living in long stay hospitals;

Then the ‘ Action Group’ consulting and planning about the closures of long stay hospitals, and getting good community services for people leaving them and people already living in the community at home with families.

Founder member of ‘Hartcliffe Friends of the handicapped' Self support for families running play schemes in the holidays for siblings and children with complex needs.

When a school governor at New Fosseway School Bristol, set up very first feasibility study for family respite, which was then taken up by social services and was used as a model, now also developed as an adult respite service. This is now standard practice in respite provision

Made the first ever approach, with the Head teacher of New Fosseway School , to the further educational college South Bristol, to have the first ever further educational course for school leavers with a learning difficulty. This took a lot of relationship building and lobbying to achieve. This is now standard practice.

Family Carer rep on Community Health Councils special focus on (as was then commonly termed) the Mentally Handicapped; As a result of our constant campaigning to government - Local implementation groups came into being, so did the government paper ‘Valuing People’ the implementation groups are now called Learning Difficulty/ Disabled Partnership boards .

Family Carer Representative on Learning Difficulties partnership Board for many years. (now retired member)

Founder member ‘Inclusion South West’. A group of ‘thrivors and survivors’; people with a passion for inclusion and self determination. Self advocates from the fields of mental health, learning difficulty, autism and family carers, professionals and movers & shakers.

Founder of ‘Trusts R Us’ a group of families who are helping their loved ones receive/ run their direct payment for care & support with a family trust and circle of support. Sharing knowledge and assets with each other and mentoring others who wish to do the same.

Workforce Confederation. S.W. Regional Family Carer Representative

National Workforce Reference Group. Family Carer rep

Key mover in getting the first University Accredited Courses for People with Learning Difficulties & Family Carers for example Person Centred Planning ; Facilitation; Going on to other developments = Train theTrainers - Training / teaching; Public Involvement:

Founder member of Inclusion South West.

Visiting lecturer at UWE teaching on Health & Social Care modules.

Member of UWE - HUB (University)

Member of SUCI - UWE - Service Users & Carers Involvement.

National Challenging Behaviour Strategy Group

Regional Challenging Behaviour Strategy Group.

Member of LINK Self Directed Support Group ( Direct Payments etc)

Member of Circles of support for service users and also family carers.


Her philosophy is this:

“ What will it take?’ - ‘Does it exist at the present time?’ - ‘If it does, how good can we make it?’

If not - go and create it. “


Part Two.

Jackie Clarke

Working for improvement and change for 36 years, Family Carer of Adult who has Autism & Complex Needs

Founder member of Inclusion South West. A network of people from the field of Learning Difficulties and Mental Health including 'thrivers & survivors', families and professionals, working in and for leadership and inclusion.

Founder of ‘Trusts R Us’ a small group of family led trusts supporting their disabled relative to receive and run a direct payment for their care and support. Most of the trusts have teams of over eight people to manage.

This is an on going life's work of getting a good life for people who have been historically excluded from things we all take for granted, there is a great upward trend, but still loads to accomplish.


In my other life I am a singer and musician and I was a dancer,

I have two children a son and daughter, two grandchildren.


I have been a member of St Augustine’s since it was built, before that St. Nicholas, Whitchurch. I was confirmed in Manchester Cathedral along with four other members of the cast whist playing at the Manchester Palace Theatre, in the late 1960’s.


I am working with Rev Ian Wills (Soundwell, St Stephen’s) producing a series of Rock Communion’s which he very skillfully and creatively writes. Currently there are three finished

i.e.: ‘Margins of Eternity’ - ‘ Have you seen Him?’ - ‘Meet me in the Light’


This is very much a collaborative effort of all concerned, musicians, technical support etc.


This is a bit of me, but as the saying goes, it is not over till the ‘fat lady sings’, well I sing and I’m getting towards the other bit!


Jackie Clarke 09/12/20


Dr. Jackie Clarke