International Day of Persons with Disabilities Conference 2022

02 December 2022, 3:30 pm–5:30 pm

Sunflower field

Join us on 2 December to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This online conference will focus on this year’s theme, which is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world”.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Student Support and Wellbeing

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing are very excited to host our second conference spotlighting the amazing work and research from departments across UCL in celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities and UK Disability History Month. The event will be held online on Friday 2nd December 2022 on Zoom.


Please see below for the conference schedule. You are welcome to attend some or all talks; you may join at any time, and we will admit you.

1. Welcome

Louise Grimmett

Speaker: Louise Grimmett, Student Support and Wellbeing Manager (Disability & Specific Learning Differences)


2. Sickle Cell

Chantelle Clarke

Speaker: Chantelle Clarke, Disability Adviser

Putting the spotlight on sickle cell anaemia and the impact of it being overlooked nationally as a significant life-long condition.


3. Digital Inclusivity


Fiona Strawbridge

Ben Watson

Speakers: Fiona Strawbridge, Director of Digital Education, and Ben Watson, Head of Digital Accessibility

Fiona Strawbridge and Ben Watson will present on digital accessibility. The Digital Education team and Student Support and Wellbeing will consider the Disabled Students UK 'Going Back is Not a Choice' report, and discuss how the new Digital Accessibility Policy and effective digital transformation will lead to a more accessible range of choices for all staff and students at UCL. 


Break (5 mins)


4. Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL)

Indie Beedie

Kearsy Cormier

Speakers: Indie Beedie, Disability Equity Lead and Executive Officer, and Prof Kearsy Cormier, Professor of Sign Language Linguistics

Indie Beedie and Prof Kearsy Cormier, from UCL's Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL), will be presenting on their recent work and research into sign language linguistics, language development in deaf children and the deaf brain. The speakers will share how the centre delves into how society views sign language and deaf people, and how they are using scientific research to empower deaf people.


5. Psychological First Aid

Speakers: Dr Charlie Cole, Clinical Fellow and Team Lead and Amal Issa, Team Deputy Lead

Charlie Cole

Amal Issa

Dr Charlie Cole and Amal Issa will present their work in supporting students affected by war, conflict, natural disaster and other major incidents: an apt topic considering the world we are presently living in. Charlie and Amal will provide an overview on the new Student Support and Wellbeing team that are supporting students impacted by traumatising events via the provision of Psychological First Aid (PFA). They will also share the outcomes of the support offered so far and student feedback, as well as a case study to demonstrate how PFA can support students in Higher Education. 


Break (5 mins)


6. Mental Health and Neurodivergence - do they always come as a package?

Lucy Smith

Speaker: Lucy Smith, Specific Learning Differences Coordinator

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing's Lucy Smith will discuss her personal view of living with mental health problems as a neurodivergent person. Lucy will also explore a professional view of working with many neurodivergent students who experience mental health problems, diagnosed or not. 


7. Co-designing Inclusive Learning Spaces for hybrid education

Ben Menuier

Speakers: Harry Ortiz Venegas and Benjamin Meunier, Director of Operations (Library, Culture, Collections and Open Science)

This collaborative project, funded by the UCL Grand Challenges Small Grant, is exploring how to co-design inclusive learning spaces. It assembles diverse academics and professionals, as a joint initiative from the UCL Institute of Education and Society (IOE), The Bartlett and Library, Culture, Collections and Open Science (LCCOS).

This initiative builds on shared concerns about making evidence-based practical improvements to learning environments that better support UCL's new hybrid educational modes for disabled/neurodivergent students during and post-pandemic. There is already well-documented evidence that the pandemic has adversely affected higher education students' study and wellbeing. However, the impact of material settings remains seriously under-researched. As students have attempted to adapt to online lectures, seminars and other forms of learning by joining classes from their bedrooms or other unsatisfactory spaces, inequalities in access to space, time and technologies and their differential impacts on learning have become much sharper.

University libraries have been at the forefront of providing campus-based spaces to enable these students to study effective and safely, supplements increasingly by university-provided informal learning hubs and centres.

This presentation will outline the project's aims, methodologies adopted, and next steps expected after the research project concludes in early 2023.


8. Closing remarks

Speaker: Louise Grimmett, Student Support and Wellbeing Manager (Disability & Specific Learning Differences)


The event will be fully accessible with BSL interpreters and a speech-to-text reporter. A subtitled version of the recording will be made available soon after the event has taken place. If you have any concerns or accessibility requirements, please email us at ssw-comms@ucl.ac.uk.