Over the last two months we have been writing blogs based on our chosen topic of child disability and disability in a broader perspective. We will now reflect on our project as a whole so far thinking about what we’ve done well and what improvements could have been made. These are our personal views towards the project:
For me, disability history was something that I‘ve never looked at and it was good to get involved in something that not many historians have touched upon. We have always looked at significant events in history rather than focusing on a person’s identity. I enjoyed looking at primary documents in the archives, it’s an authentic experience- as it makes you realise that history is very real and not just based upon history books. I believe that disability history is something everybody should learn about, including the discrimination faced by disabled people and the solutions that we can find to help them lead a more fulfilling life. I wrote two blogs for this project introducing people to Disability History Month and Children In Need. I liked informing people about Disability History Month as it is not a widely known event and I believe it’s important to learn what the perceptions of disabled people are today as well as in the past. This project has given me the inspiration to write a new blog, maybe not based on disability history but on a completely new and different topic.
Before starting this project, I had given no thought to disability history. Although the topic is quite specific, we’ve all been able to find our own interesting topic within disability history. For example, I enjoyed writing my Victorian literature blog. I was able to look at contemporary well-known novels and get the reader engaged with the theme of disability. I enjoyed using social media for public output and not only receiving feedback from fellow students, but also from people within the historical field. It was interesting to follow our progress with our Facebook and Twitter pages and pleasing to find that the public were interested in our topic. Blogging gives you the chance to be less formal in comparison with an academic essay. I am also thinking of running a blog based on another topic of interest, perhaps based on my dissertation.
Before becoming a part of this project, I had briefly touched on disability history within the Tudor period. Disability is not something that directly affects my life, I have no close family members or friends who consider themselves disabled but, as David Turner has taught us, it eventually affects us in one way of another, whether it be in our family history or our futures. That for me is a key factor as to why disability history should be more prominent. One key issue that as a group we wanted to address was not to speak for the Disabled, but to share their stories and inform people of disability history without telling our audience what we want them to think or hear. We wanted to spark debate and change mind-sets on and hopefully we have achieved these aims. If we could alter anything in our project, it would be more variation in our output such as Q and A sessions. We could have also targeted a younger audience, to how see they feel about certain topics within disability.
This module has certainly broadened my mind into an unknown and sensitive area of history which I knew little about. I have enjoyed using the archives and believe their use will help me next year with the dissertation. Early on in this module I wanted to look at something different and interesting to gain an audience and I chose to write a blog on animal assisted therapy, being an animal lover myself and knowing many others who also are. I enjoyed looking at something different and I particularly enjoyed the opportunities this project has given me in writing blogs and using a media output to gain a following, as it is something I am not very confident with. Also giving a presentation at the end and seeing how well we have all done gave me confidence in my presenting skills which is something I struggle with. I have also gained knowledge of an interesting topic that before I knew very little about, but when you just scratch the surface you realise the true emotion and depth.
We’d like to thank David Turner for providing us with an enjoyable course, Mike Mantin and Daniel Blackie for their support and the ladies at the Richard Burton Archives for their help!
Thank you for reading our blogs- we’ve enjoyed writing them!
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