series event

Historicising the social model of disability

Beckie Rutherford will present research based on her PhD examining the history of the social model of disability, using three case studies of disabled women's groups to highlight how it has been deployed:

  • Gemma (a support group for disabled lesbians) 
  • Sisters Against Disablement (a collective of disabled women and non-disabled allies) 
  • Liberation Network of People with Disabilities (a national network open to disabled people of all genders predominantly consisting of disabled women) 

Each of these demonstrates that disabled women engaged with the social model in diverse and sometimes contradictory ways. Their stories offer keen insight into how the social model gained traction within different communities and how disabled women negotiated it in relation to their everyday lives. Understanding this history is crucial to informing present-day debates about the ongoing usefulness of the social model.


Beckie Rutherford (she/her), University of Warwick 

Beckie is a PhD researcher based in the History Department at the University of Warwick. Her research examines the life stories of disabled women in late twentieth-century Britain, particularly seeking to uncover their involvement in grassroots activism and liberation movements.  

Please note that the recording link will be listed on this page when available 


Follow webinar link. Free and open to all. No registration required.


LSHTM Centre for History in Public Health