Oxford Brookes goes purple for International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Wednesday, 05 December 2018

Purple Light Up 3 news

University joins international celebration of the social and economic contribution of persons with disabilities

Oxford Brookes has a long-standing reputation for offering outstanding support to disabled students, but what is less well-known is its inclusive and supportive approach to its disabled staff. We are valued, respected and able to engage in constructive discussions about reasonable adjustments.

Frances Jenkins, Staff Disability Network Coordinator

On Monday 3 December, Oxford Brookes was one of hundreds of disabled employee networks, education providers and employers around the world to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This globally recognised date brings together a united voice to celebrate and empower people with disabilities.

Professor Anne-Marie Kilday, Pro Vice-Chancellor Student and Staff Experience, said: “Joining #PurpleLightUp and going Purple helps to raise awareness of the University as a place where it is safe and welcoming for individuals to share information on disability and long term health conditions. A place where disabled people and allies work together on a solution-focused approach, and where talents and contributions are recognised and valued.

“Oxford Brookse is committed to creating a more inclusive environment to work and study in the future. Our new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy will bring together various strands of work to help us achieve this.”

IDPD falls within Disability History Month, which the university has been marking with a series of events coordinated by the Staff Disability Network and Equality Diversity and Inclusion team. The events will culminate with the Disability History Month Open Lecture, ‘ Leadership and (dis)ability’ with Dr Ossie Stuart and Dr Alex Donnelly, on Wednesday 12 October at 6pm. The lecture is open to everyone and can be booked online via the University events pages.  

Frances Jenkins, Staff Disability Network Coordinator, commented “Oxford Brookes has a long-standing reputation for offering outstanding support to disabled students, but what is less well-known is its inclusive and supportive approach to its disabled staff.  We are valued, respected and able to engage in constructive discussions about reasonable adjustments. The University's commitment as a Disability Confident Employer will now hopefully give more focus to career development and progression.”

To mark IDPD itself, the Oxford Brookes Headington campus joined the global #PurpleLightUp movement. Like many organisations across industries, sectors and continents, buildings were illuminated with purple lights, staff and students were encouraged to wear purple, and people could buy purple-themed offers from our food outlets. Professor Kilday also created a special vlog to mark the occasion.

Other shows of solidarity from across the globe included websites adopting purple themes, CEOs, MPs and senior leaders sharing messages of support, awareness events being run, and company Twitter accounts becoming purple for the day using #PurpleLightUp banners and twibbon.

PurpleSpace Creator and CEO Kate Nash OBE said: "I want disabled people to use the power of their networks and resource groups, with their champions and allies to help forge a global identity based around purple symbolism; one that puts the positive contribution of disabled people in the spotlight."

Organisations that took part in #PurpleLightUp span the world, with institutions in Africa, Canada, Europe, Middle East, New Zealand, India, US and UK all going purple.

More information, including the vlog from Professor Kilday, can be found on the Disability History Month website