17 Mar 2017 NADSN Conference Edinburgh

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NADSN Conference at The University of Edinburgh

Friday 17th March 2017


The National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN) and The University of Edinburgh‘s Disabled Staff Network have collaborated to proudly present a one-day national conference for NADSN

Please BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE HERE – All Welcome!

PROGRAMME: Word docx | PDF

This NADSN Conference, held for the first time in Scotland and hosted by the University of Edinburgh’s Disabled Staff Network, provides a great opportunity for disabled employees in Higher and Further Education, friends and supporters, HR Equality and Diversity teams to meet up and share ideas. With a focus on benchmarking, attendees will hear from inspiring speakers about current good practice and find out about new research into the experiences of disabled staff in the workplace.

There will be opportunities to chat with people who have extensive experience in growing networks and to be involved in new regional networks across the UK.

We are delighted to have as our key speakers:

Kate Nash Associates developed PurpleSpace which is the UK’s only learning, networking and professional development hub for disabled employees, employee network leaders and allies from all sectors and trades. PurpleSpace has a community of over 300 Disability Employee Networks (DEN) or Employee Resource Groups (ERG) and the estimated 850,000 disabled employees that they represent. Their 300 clients include Fujitsu, Barclays, EY, Metropolitan Police Service, Home Office, Thomson Reuters and RBS.

Bela Gor has over 20 years’ experience of all aspects of disability discrimination law and best practice. Bela has worked closely with BDF Partners in the financial, retail, broadcast media and health sectors and advises on a variety of subjects ranging from the law and reasonable adjustments in both employment and customer contexts to consumers in vulnerable situations and accessible technology and mental health. She is a lawyer who took some of the earliest cases under the then new Disability Discrimination Act 1995 while working for the Disability Law Service, a nationwide law centre for disabled people, and has since influenced the development of the legislation.

Stephanie Millar is a leading member of the ECU team working with universities and colleges in Scotland.

Dr Kate Sang has been funded by an EPSRC career acceleration grant to record the experiences of disabled academics in the physics and engineering fields. Dr Sang will share her early research findings with the conference.

We cordially invite all colleagues in higher and further education institutions across the UK, who are members of disabled staff networks or have an interest in disability, to attend this exciting event!


This conference will include the first meeting of the NADSN Steering Committee

Steering Committee members are encouraged to attend this meeting, and will be contacted directly with details.


This event has been organised by Jacquie Nicholson at The University of Edinburgh

Recent Posts

NADSN Black Lives Matter Statement

The tragic killing of George Floyd and others in the USA[1] along with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement serves to remind us that there are continued inequalities and fundamental differences that exist within our society.  Differences which are not acceptable.

The National Association of Disabled Staff Networks (NADSN) stands in solidarity with the BLM movement in speaking out against racial injustices and inequalities faced by our communities in the UK and beyond[2].

The pandemic has served to highlight further racial disparities in the UK. Death rates from COVID-19 were higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups when compared to White ethnic groups. This disproportionate impact is multiplied for Disabled Black and Asian people. The Public Health England Report found that structural racism plays a part.

“Together We Can – and Will – Transform”.[3]

Our purpose as a super-network remains vital.  As members, we seek to inspire support and success.  As a community, we share our opinions, values, culture and best practice and deepen our understanding of each other, our world and how we can have a positive impact. At this challenging time, we urge all our members to look out for each other and empower one another. When we work in collaboration, we can achieve great change.

Ableism Has Much in Common with Racism.

We understand that ableism and racism are not equivalent.  However, the experiences of ethnic minorities and Disabled people have some similarities. Disabled people regularly face systemic and institutional discrimination within society, education, work, and healthcare settings. We have been pitied, abused, excluded, stereotyped and met with disdain and platitudes. Disabled people have been underrepresented and misrepresented in entertainment and media. Our narratives and achievements have been appropriated and used as inspiration for non-disabled people. These forms of barriers are compounded for Disabled people from ethnic minority backgrounds, particularly those of us with a mental health condition or those of us who are neurodiverse.

Our Work.

Throughout our work, we strive to embed an intersectional understanding and approach. In 2019, we co-hosted a National Intersectionality Conference with the LGBT+ Network of Networks in Higher Education. We also appointed an Intersectionality Lead and two Intersectionality Partners onto our diverse Steering Committee. We will continue to work to better understand the inequalities and barriers Disabled people from ethnic minorities face and work to challenge and combat these. We will continue to work in partnership to support all members of our community, as well as seeking to set an example for others.

We strive to be a part of the solution.


[1] The wave of protests in the USA over the killing of George Floyd are the outbursts of anger and injustice that have erupted after the deaths of many other black Americans whilst in police custody. Data: US ‘Mapping Police Violence’ – https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/ and in the UK since 1990, 184 people from ethnic minorities have died as a result of police actions (20 due to police shootings and 164 in custody).  https://www.inquest.org.uk/bame-deaths-in-police-custody

[2]Many of the Black people killed by police are disabled. Inquest notes that ethnic minorities were twice as likely to die after restraint or use of force, and twice as likely to die if they had a mental health condition. https://rudermanfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/MediaStudy-PoliceDisability_final-final.pdf

[3] Slogan: “Together we can – and will – transform” – https://blacklivesmatter.com/


This paper is also available as a Word docx and PDF.


For Further Details

Email: uk.nadsn@gmail.com | Twitter: @nadsn_uk | Facebook: NatAssDSN | Web: nadsn-uk.org

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