We began with the question ‘What is the value of a human life?’ What does this question mean for people living with disabilities, for their families, for society, for those who might not even be born yet? Join the conversation…

10.30 – 11.30: Panel 1  Economics of Care: The United Kingdom is undergoing hazardous times, affecting many such as care services. How is austerity affecting care? How have those who require care throughout their life been impacted by budget cuts? How could the negative outcomes of austerity be counteracted? Whose responsibility it is when austerity changes the dynamics within the care sector?

Speakers: Lucy Burke, Frances Ryan, Tanvir Bush and Richard Butchins

11.45 – 12.45: Panel 2 – Technology: In a century in which technology is increasingly pervasive, what role could it have, or should it have in improving the lives of people living with disabilities? Can innovative technology benefit care providers and facilitate care processes? Do robotics increase agency for those in need or distance them from any social interaction? What is the future of care with upcoming technological innovations? 

Speakers: Stuart Murray, Praminda Caleb-Solly and Connor Ward

12.45 – 13.30: BREAK 

13.30-14.30: Panel 3 – Media and Representation: This panel considers the ways in which disabled people are represented and represent themselves in contemporary culture, in film, television, literature and theatre. It explores the role of culture in shaping, shifting and disrupting attitudes towards disability. 

Speakers: Lucy Burke, Laurence Clark, Cherylee Houston and Jackie Hagan

14.45 – 15.45 Panel 4 – The Right to Exist: It seems that the very right to exist of people with disabilities is under threat at both ends of life. Genetic screening provides a mechanism whereby whole groups of people with particular conditions can be prevented from ever existing. At the end of life too, it appears that the lives of people with disabilities are valued less than others. The Learning Disability Mortality Review points to systemic failures that leads to lower life expectancy among people with learning disabilities.

Speakers: Becki Bennett, Esther Fox, Dennis Queen, Simone Aspis and Lucy Burke


One man in a wheelchair stands beside three women with visible disabilities. The text reads ' Let's Talk About It. Disability and Society'.