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The Model Conversation

Exploring the histories of people with disabilities to inform the future of everyone

By the Cambridgeshire Alliance for Independent Living (CAIL).

CAIL was an independent organisation, which represented the voice of disabled people, older people and carers in Cambridgeshire. They passed on the lived experience of their constituents to organisations that deliver activities and services. Their aim was to make sure the voices of disabled people were heard.

“Creating Dialogue is Never Bad”

By the end of it the project leader, Justin Craig, had facilitated in-depth interviews with 20 people with disabilities recording their spoken memories by recruiting and training a team of volunteers to conduct the interviews.

The Interviews

The Model Conversation enabled local volunteers to discover the history of people with disabilities. They gained interviewing and multi-media experience and received accredited training from the Oral History Society. In addition the project gave a voice to people with disabilities, documenting their lived experiences in their own words.

This  short documentary was also made about the project and the people interviewed.

One of their roles was to document the impact of the Social Model of Disability The Model Conversation (2016)  project collected oral histories from 20 disabled people to evaluate how things have changed from the past and to make suggestions for the future.

The Blog

By using the interviews as a basis materials were developed for use by schools and other organisations as a training and educational resource.  These modules were developed for KS3 students but can easily be modified for use with other age groups and in other settings.


The Educational Resources



Funded by the National Heritage Lottery


I AM  Cambridge: Inclusion and Access in Cambridge

Disability History Month 2020: Gathering, sharing, celebrating, campaigning and archiving experiences of inclusion and accessibility in Cambridge. Raising awareness to bring about change through stories, memories, history and the arts.

Please email Ariadne, Community Development Officer at Cambridge City Council to contribute

Join the conversation on our facebook page: I am Cambridge

#disabilitypower100 #IamCambridge #camdisabilityheritage


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