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 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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