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.

As our senior champion, the awesome Professor Anna Lawson, Director of the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Leeds, has provided a fantastic one-minute VLOG in support of #PurpleLightUp. This is available on Twitter here and on YouTube here.

Hamied was also interviewed by Neil Milliken and Antonio Santos for AXSChat as a #PurpleLightUp 2018 #Ambassador and this is available on YouTube here. There was then a vibrant Q&A discussion about #PurpleLightUp on Twitter on 27th November 2018 between 20:00 and 21:00 (UK time) on #AXSChat!

Channel 4 have created this emotionally-provocative two-minute ad-funded film in celebration of #IDPD2018 and #PurpleLightUp, which first aired on Channel 4 after the #TheLastLeg on Friday 30th November:

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


from Mona Patel, Equality & Diversity Specialist   @manmetuni @MMUEqualities


For the second time, Manchester Met intends to mark International Day of Disabled People (IDDP) in collaboration with PurpleSpace and in doing so, we join a national conversation about the power of disabled people as consumers (the purple pound) and the talents of disabled people in employment, creating a purple identity for disabled people.

Last year, the theme was #PurpleLightUp, but this year, we are going #BiggerBolderBrighter with our #VirtuallyPurple themed event for staff, focussing on the power of virtual reality and assistive technology in supporting everybody, not just those with a disability.

The event takes place on Monday 3rd December, 12pm-14.30pm in the North Atrium, Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Contact: Equality & Diversity Team
T: 0161 247 6494 or E: equalities@mmu.ac.uk

Interested? Please download this invitation as a PDF file.


from Moni Akinsanya, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager   @LJMU @LJMUEquality

Please find here an invitation to attend a talk at LJMU on Disability and Mental Health scheduled to take place on 3rd December 2018 which is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The main speaker at the event will be Liz Sayce OBE, former Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK, current member of Health Watch England and the Social Security Advisory Committee. Liz’s talk will focus on Mental health, equality and human rights: developments in policy and practice. Mental health has become a huge priority nationally – including in universities. Everyone from celebrities to business leaders seems to be talking more openly about mental health challenges – but are things changing for people experiencing distress? This talk will focus on developments in policy thinking on mental health and disability rights; and implications for work, study and practice.

The event has been scheduled as follows:

• Date: Monday 3rd December 2018
• Time: 12:00 – 15:00
• Location: Sensor City (31 Russell St, Liverpool, L3 5LJ)

Guest Speaker: Liz Sayce OBE (Former Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK, current member of Health Watch England and the Social Security Advisory Committee)
Event Chair: Gary Graham (Deputy Chief Executive, Organisational Enhancement)

To register your interest, please visit our Eventbrite page.

For more information, please visit our webpage.


from Carol Vickers and Phillip Ross, Co-Chairs   @UniofBradford @nablebradford

n-able, the University’s Staff Network for Promoting Disability Equality, is turning Bradford Purple on Monday, 3rd December, in support of the International Day of Disabled People. This annual celebration was started more than 25 years ago, by the United Nations General Assembly. The day aims to promote understanding of disability issues and raise awareness of the dignity, rights and wellbeing of people with disabilities. n-able has organised a Purple Light Up of prominent buildings throughout the city, including:

  • Bradford City Hall
  • University of Bradford Atrium
  • Margaret McMillan Tower
  • Forster Square Arches
  • City Park Mirror Pool
  • Alhambra Theatre
  • Media Museum
  • Bradford College David Hockney Building

For more information contact n-able@bradford.ac.uk and share your photos of the #PurpleLightUp at https://www.facebook.com/nablebradford/ #MakeBradfordPurple

Download this poster.


from Equality, Diversity and Inclusion   @UniOfYork @EqualityatYork

Monday 3rd Dec is #PurpleLightUp Campaign

@MyPurpleSpace‘s campaign celebrates the economic contribution of disabled employees.

To celebrate we are encouraging @UniOfYork staff to wear purple and to decorate their office’s purple, while posting pictures via twitter!


from Kirsty Hutchison and Sara Fernandez, Co-Chairs   @OfficialUoM @UoMDSN

This coming Monday 3 December 2018 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This is a globally recognised day that brings together a united voice to celebrate and empower people with disabilities.

To mark the day the University is encouraging staff and students to wear purple. So if you have a purple top, jumper, whatever – please wear it and get involved!

It is also lighting up lecture theatres in purple and raising awareness of disability equality across campus.

The colour purple is recognised as the symbol for people with disabilities, with the spending power of disabled people often referred to as the ‘purple pound’. Purple is a vibrant colour that communicates the importance of disability equality.

To mark IDPD, we the Disabled Staff Network is launching its new logo which incorporates a purple worker bee inside a pentagon hive. Bees commonly work in hexagon shaped hives and the pentagon hive represents a reasonable adjustment to the workplace enabling the disabled bee to work, contribute and thrive. Furthermore, the pentagon is taken from the branding of the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks and signifies the DSNs wider connections. We will send the new logo to all our members on Monday.

As Sara, our new Co-Chair who came up with the brilliant concept for the new logo says: “By launching our new logo we aim to raise awareness of the positive impact disabled staff make at the University on this important day. We want as many staff and students as possible to support the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, so please get involved and wear purple!”

Thank you and please get involved!

ITV and BBCITV Careers and BBC Diversity & Inclusion

from Bertille Calinaud, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, ITV   @ITV @ITVCareers @BBC @BBC_Ability

ITV and BBC Ability are opening up the conversation about hidden disabilities by hosting a session, A Visible Me, in Salford on Monday 3rd December from 12noon to 2pm. Cherylee Houston from Coronation Street will be sharing her story. Guests will also hear from ITN’s Angus Walker and Elaine Wilcox from ITV Granada will host the day. Colleagues and managers from ITV and the BBC will also be sharing their stories.

On top of that at ITV, to support International Day of People with Disabilities, we’ll be adding touches of purple to our buildings on 3rd December. Look out for purple flowers on reception and even purple lift lights!


from   @chron_ac

Our friends at Chronically Academic will be hosting a #IDPWD #IDPD #PurpleLightUp takeover on their Twitter feed using the hashtag #IDPD2018CA! See this post on Twitter.


from Stuart Moore, Diversity and Inclusion Manager   @NHS_HealthEdEng

On 3rd December, Health Education England we are working with Disability Rights UK on encouraging our staff to engage in disability awareness training. Initially it will be a pilot session for colleagues in the North, but I’m hoping to roll the training out further across the organisation in 2019.

PurpleSpace Annual Reception and #PurpleLightUp Celebration 3rd Dec 2018

Jacquie Nicholson, our Vice Chair, attended this event on behalf of NADSN and sent this photo:


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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