Online Editions

28th Sep, 2021

New exhibition at Northfield's Royal Orthopaedic Hospital highlights disabilities both visible and unseen

EIGHT members of staff from the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have come together to take part in a multimedia project, highlighting different disabilities, both visible and hidden.

‘Seeing beyond the stigma’ is a photography and video exhibition which aims to show the importance of destigmatising disabilities.

The participants, Vickie, Alex, Maureen, Clair, Monica, Richard, Suzie and Stephen, represent a number of disabilities between them.

Head of inclusion and organisational development, Clare Mair, said: “We wanted to pursue the project, as raising awareness of different types of disability and how they impact lives is incredibly important.

“Disability awareness campaigns highlight what daily life is like for somebody with a disability.

“We wanted our participants to tell their stories in their own unique way and a way in which they’re comfortable doing so.

“We also felt it vital to ensure we are representing our wonderful colleagues across the Trust who may have invisible disabilities, including mental health conditions.”

Some staff members have mental health conditions or learning disabilities, where others have physical conditions like osteoarthritis or partial sight.

Two participants are recovering from chemotherapy and radiotherapy from cancer treatment, something many people do not realise is classed as a long-term disability.

The exhibition was funded by the NHS Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) Innovation Fund.

The WDES is helping to inform year-on-year improvements in reducing barriers, driving changes in attitudes, increasing employment and career opportunities and implementing long-lasting change for disabled people.

One participant in the project said: “It has empowered me to talk about my condition, when I wouldn’t have necessarily done so.

“It made me think about my condition and how I have faced stigma in my life, and not realised it.”

At the unveiling, chief executive Jo Williams praised the participants’ ‘courage and bravery’.

Visit https://www.roh.nhs.uk/beyondstigma to see the whole exhibition.

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