What Can British Media Do To Include Disabled People?

British media does not provide great representation for people living with disability. An analysis conducted by the University of Birmingham notes how many roles given to disabled actors are discriminatory, and little if any media properly reflects the realities of disabled life in the UK. The media landscape needs to do more to curb alienation and instead help people living with disability to feel like they’re part of society. In Sheffield, there are a few trailblazers showing how it’s done.

Established advocates

One of the most successful programmes when it comes to disability advocacy is The Paralympics. Studies have shown that simply watching the games has helped people to reform their attitude and ideas about disability, and that’s crucial. Disability is as much about emotional as physical change; it can have a huge impact, right from childhood. One CP resource guide notes how emotional and psychological inclusion can be wonderfully helpful in managing a diagnosis and boosting independence later in life. Sheffield Paralympian Jack-Hunter Spivey, himself diagnosed with cerebral palsy, has become a fantastic ambassador for the city and country in terms of representation.

New challenges

Grace Clough is another of Sheffield’s Paralympic stars who won Gold for Great Britain in 2016 and at four world championships. Since retiring this year, Grace has moved into teaching and is perhaps doing more important work in terms of raising disability awareness across the country. Having influential sports people delivering their training and experiences to a wider audience is an important way to help improve representation and improve disability awareness in terms of the national consciousness.

Future markets

As the Examiner Live outlines, the newest forms of media are perhaps a more welcoming place than classic TV and radio. The Examiner highlights Tess Daly, a Sheffield-based Instagram star and influencer who has raised the profile of people diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. Social media and the tools used in it enable advocates and everyday people to reach audiences without needing too much help, and are a powerful tool for the future.

Sheffield has provided a wealth of stars to the disabled sports and media scene. Through them, awareness of disabled issues and matters of disability are actively being raised throughout British and, indeed, world media. Sheffield is a trailblazer, an exemplar for how disability issues should be approached.



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