Purple Light Up 2017


The Purple Light Up for the International Day of Disabled People 2017

3rd-9th December 2017


In 1992, the United Nations designated 3rd December as the International Day of Disabled People (IDDP). Every year since, Member States and disabled people’s organisations around the world, including our own Disabled Staff Networks, mark and celebrate this day in a wide variety of ways. The UN’s Theme for IDDP in 2017 is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”.

In line with this Theme, Kate Nash OBE (@KateNashOBE, our friend and the Creator of PurpleSpace) has launched a ground-breaking new initiative for IDDP this year called “Purple Light Up!” celebrating the economic contribution of disabled employees.

NADSN is very excited to support and take part in this inspirational initiative!

Please see details and ideas on how you, your Disabled Staff Network and organisation can get involved by clicking the following links:

Join the #PurpleLightUp #IDPD social media THUNDERCLAP here!

As 3rd December is a Sunday this year, Purple Light Up events will run throughout the week beginning 4th December.

You can be added to the “Purple Light Up” roll-call on the PurpleSpace platform by emailing the PurpleSpace Team from 1st October.

Here’s to a Purple IDDP 2017! 🙂

We’d love to collate how our Disabled Staff Networks will mark IDDP, so please contact us and let us know what your Network plans to do. Here’s what we’ve heard so far (in no particular order):




from Anna Button, Deputy Chair   @WYP_DA

Our Network is holding a coffee and ask session where we will be raising money on behalf of Scope, and using one of our positive role models Nick Rook – who is visually impaired to do an informal chat to celebrate disability in the workplace. Also at the moment we are promoting our positive role model campaign which has been utilised by the National Disabled Police Association in terms of our Chief Constable Dee Collins, reported on in the local press. Our event will be on 30th November, which links in with Excellence in Diversity Awards which we have been nominated for, as 3rd December is a Sunday.




from Cath Rose & Gill Cockburn, Co-Chairs   @nablebradford

To date we have the following confirmed for our event on Monday 4th December:

  • Staff and students will be invited to wear purple for the day and donate 50p (optional) to our chosen local charity
  • n-able stands 11am – 2pm at both Emm Lane and City Campus with information for disabled staff and purple freebies including those donated by Chewits and Ribena
  • Purple themed food / cakes in University catering outlets
  • The Library and Students’ Union will also be holding purple themed events
  • Pictures, tweets and posts on social media!
  • City walk / scoot / wheel from the Atrium at 3.30pm to view the purple buildings in Bradford
  • Lighting up University buildings in purple (from 3-8 December).

We are also spreading the purple theme into the city to #makeBradfordpurple and are really excited to have support from:

  • Bradford Council – they will light up the Mirror pool, City Hall Clock Tower, Forster Square Arches and the Old Library in purple and put our event advert on the big screen in City Park
  • The Alhambra will light up purple
  • Bradford College will advertise our event, ask their staff / students to wear purple and see if they can light up purple too

It looks set to be a fantastic event thanks to the support we’ve received from University staff, students and the Bradford community.




from Charlene Linton & Kirsty Hutchison, Co-Chairs   @UoMDSN

Asking staff and students to turn purple for disability equality

We would like to let you know about the activities which have been organised to mark the 25th anniversary of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) which takes place on Sunday 3rd December, and let you know how you can be involved in supporting this day. To ensure students and staff can participate, we are marking the occasion on 4th December as well.

Central to the activities on 4th December, is the invitation to staff and students to wear purple. The colour purple is growing in its recognition as the symbol of disability and groups across the UK are joining together in a purple light-up!

Why this day is important

This is one of the most significant days in the calendar for focussing on contributions disabled people make to our communities and the barriers disabled people face. We feel that disability equality suffers from a lack of visibility, and that by making an impact around this day, this year – and in future years – that disability equality will gain the profile which other equality campaigns have.

While this alone does not mean our day to day experiences will change, it may help open up conversations an increase awareness.

What is happening?

  • The Whitworth art gallery is holding its first autism friendly early opening on 3rd December to mark this date and launch the campaign. The early opening will also benefit others who may prefer to avoid crowds. Staff will be on hand to discuss disability and art. The following Saturday Manchester Museum is holding a similar early opening which will bookend the week
  • A social media campaign will begin on 3rd December on @UoMDSN #purplelightup
  • Our working for disability equality visual image will be displayed around campus on plasma screens, on communal PC screensavers and on banners. Catering services will be putting up A4 posters in their outlets and Lecture Theatres A and B in University Place will be lit purple on Monday 4th December with the visual image projected onto the side screens
  • Central Communication and Marketing team will be running a feature on eNews

Other plans are still in the planning stages, we will let you know if they become concrete.

How you can help

  • Engage with the Twitter campaign
  • Attend the early openings, take a selfie and tweet
  • Download and display the poster attached to this email and encourage your colleagues to do so
  • And don’t forget, come to work on Monday Dec 4th wearing purple – even tweet a selfie of yourself wearing purple with #purplelightup

Let’s bring disability equality into view.

We have a piece in Pos’Ability magazine: here

Manchester Town Hall lit up in purple & events in Manchester for Disabled History Month

Manchester City Council are lighting up Manchester Town Hall in purple to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) this Sunday 3rd December.

The Council will accompany this with some promotion via @ManCityCouncil and/or Facebook which will include a link directing people to information about IDPD. We will also be re-tweeting, so please keep a look out!

Manchester City Council has also teamed up this year with the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People @GMCDP, Manchester Central Library @MancLibraries and HOME @HOME_mcr to mark UK Disability History Month 2017 @UKDHM, with the theme ‘Disability and Art’ this year. A series of events are happening in early December – to find out more, please click here




from Marije Davidson, Equality and Diversity Adviser   @ysjequality

York St John University is hosting York Disability Pride cabaret, the launch of a weekend-long of celebrations: please find out more here




from Erica Alabaster, Co-Chair (designate)   @cardiffuni

I’m delighted to have the support of Tracey, our DSN Chair, in this: the flying of a purple flag to celebrate the IDDP has now been added to Cardiff University’s protocol. It’s my understanding that, in line with this, as the 3rd December falls on a Sunday, the flag is scheduled to be raised over the University’s Main Building on Friday 1st and lowered on Monday 4th. The flag is on order and hopefully will arrive in time.




from Marina Matosic and Emma Cox, Co-Chairs, and Mona Patel, E&D Specialist   @MMUEqualities

The Disabled Staff Forum invite you to a #PurpleLightUp Lunch

The International Day of Disabled People (IDDP) was created by the UN and is observed globally on 3rd December. The day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the rights and well-being of disabled people. The UN’s snappy theme for this year is ‘Transformation Towards a Sustainable and Resilient Society For All’.

This year, we are aligning our celebration with a vibrant initiative called #PurpleLightUp, developed by Kate Nash OBE, CEO of PurpleSpace and in doing so join a national conversation about the power of disabled people as consumers (AKA the ‘Purple Pound’) and the talents of disabled people in employment, creating a purple identity for disabled people. This new identity will put a spotlight on the positive contribution that disabled people make to society.

Come and join us for a special #PurpleLightUp Lunch taking place on Friday 8th December 2017 to celebrate the great efforts that you and our University have made in building a strong community of disabled staff, students and external partners.

Be part of the celebration.
Be part of creating history.
Join us and help us be inspirational on 8th December.

Remember: Wearing purple is optional, eating purple food is not!




Recent Posts

NADSN to partner with Prof Kate Sang on EPSRC-funded “Disability Inclusive Science Careers” Project


NADSN (@nadsn_uk) is delighted to be a partner with Professor Gareth Pender (@garrypender) and Professor Kate Sang (@katesang) at Heriot Watt University in an innovative project: Disability Inclusive Science Careers (DISC). This is an exciting project funded by the EPSRC (@EPSRC) via the Inclusion Matters call and we will be collaborating closely bringing the experiences of our members and contributing to each stage. Our own experiences suggest that the DISC project has the potential to effect positive change in academics’ working conditions in the sciences and possibly beyond.

Professor Sang presented her earlier research into Disability and Academic Careers at NADSN’s 3rd Annual Conference in 2017 at the University of Edinburgh. Dr Hamied Haroon, Chair of NADSN, stated: “Kate’s work and findings connected all of us emotionally.” Accessibility for disabled University staff, as Kate’s research showed, is about workplace relationships as well as car parking, it’s about inaccessible lecture theatres, lack of opportunities for promotion and the pressures faced by disabled staff in a competitive environment. Jacquie Nicholson, Vice Chair of NADSN and Regional Lead for Scotland, commented: “NADSN is delighted that this exciting project is highlighting disabled University staff in science careers and we look forward to contributing to positive change.”

Founded in 2016, NADSN is a super-network that connects and represents disabled staff networks. We are a collective platform to share experiences and good practice, and examine challenges and opportunities, focussed on the tertiary education sector but open to any individual and organisation with an interest in the equality of disabled staff https://nadsn-uk.org/news/

For any enquiries related to this press release, please contact Jacquie Nicholson at the University of Aberdeen: jacqueline.nicholson@abdn.ac.uk

An article can also be found in the Times Higher Education: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/minority-scientists-mentor-senior-professors-equality-drive

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