Purple Light Up 2018


Purple Light Up 2018

for the International Day of Disabled People

3rd December 2018


The United Nations designated 3rd December as the International Day of Disabled People (or the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), as they put it). Every year, since 1992, disabled people, organisations and governments all over the world celebrate this day in a wide variety of ways. The UN’s theme for this year is empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.

Last year, taking inspiration from the familiar LGBT+ rainbow flag, the phenomenal Kate Nash OBE, Creator and CEO of PurpleSpace, tweeted a simple idea: How about celebrating IDPD with a #PurpleLightUp?! The response was mind-blowing and NADSN was so proud to be part of the vibrant movement that ensued! The colour Purple provided a unifying identity for all disabled people (regardless of impairments), our experiences, struggles, strengths and ambitions, and the contributions we make to our economy as employees! Why Purple? Watch this PurpleSpace YouTube video on The Story of Purple.

You can see how our Networks lit up Purple last year here.

This year, Kate and her Team at PurpleSpace want to take this movement global and go #Bigger #Bolder #Brighter! They have assembled a group of #PurpleLightUp Ambassadors to help engage a wider audience, led by the incredible Sarah Simcoe. Dr Hamied Haroon (Chair of NADSN) is honoured to have been appointed as one of those Ambassadors. Jacquie Nicholson (Vice Chair of NADSN) is kindly helping Hamied in this role.

Kate was interviewed by Debra Ruh and the AXSChat Team to talk about the #PurpleLightUp in 2018 and this is available on YouTube here. Please do watch this as it gives the core messages of the movement.

NADSN is really eager to see our Disabled Staff Networks in the HE and FE sectors and others in the UK and beyond, and our partner organisations across the world, join #PurpleLightUp in 2018. We cordially invite your Network to go Purple!

How can your Network get involved, we hear you say? Well, …

On a personal level, we would also encourage colleagues to try this …

  • Add the #PurpleLightUp banner and plain text to your email signature – copy from this Word docx.
  • Contact other disability-related groups, organisations and mailing lists that you know of and invite them to get involved in the #PurpleLightUp movement too!
  • It would be fantastic if colleagues could invite their respective professional bodies, national and international, to celebrate IDPD by doing something for the #PurpleLightUp !
  • Hamied has asked Wellcome to take part in the #PurpleLightUp ! Could academic colleagues invite their respective funding bodies to do the same?
  • Please let Hamied, Jacquie and Jonathan know how you get on and if you have any other ideas. We look forward to hearing from you.

Let’s celebrate in Purple this 3rd December!

Many thanks for your involvement and support.

Here’s what we’ve heard from our Networks so far (in no particular order):



from Eleanor Osmond, Chair, & Nina Frentrop   @wellcometrust @ExploreWellcome

At Wellcome we’ll be celebrating #IDPD with a week of activity and articles.

On Monday 3rd December, we’ll be supporting #PurpleLightUp by illuminating Wellcome Collection, the free museum and library from Wellcome.

We’ll be sharing our support of #PurpleLightUp on Twitter to more than 56K followers.

Our network will be producing daily articles to be shared on Wellcome’s Trustnet (staff intranet) throughout the week to raise awareness and share the work the network have been doing throughout the year.

Disability Interest Group will also be hosting a take over of Wellcome Collection’s *Zine Club. Members of the public and Wellcome Staff will come together in Wellcome Collection’s Reading Room to make and read zines. This event will be themed on the topic of International Day of Persons with Disability.

Anyone can drop-in to this event, so please come and join us! Wednesday 5th December 12.00-14.00 at Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE.

*(/ziːn/ ZEEN; short for magazine or fanzine) is a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier)



KING’S COLLEGE LONDONStaff Disability Network

from Samina Zaman, Diversity & Inclusion Consultant   @KingsCollegeLon @KCLdiversity

I am pleased to say King’s College London is participating in the #PurpleLightUp. Our Science Gallery (based at London Bridge) will be lit up purple on the week prior to and until 3rd December: @scigallerylon





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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