If you are unable to attend our Plenary session in person this year, we will be live streaming from 5pm on the 3rd of April here.

This year’s plenary follows a theme of ‘Arts and Accessibility’, with two speakers and a live dance performance.  The session will explore the concept of ‘accessibility’ in disability law, and the idea that it is a much wider concept than ramps for wheelchairs.  Professor Anna Lawson of the School of Law at the University of Leeds will discuss the legal concept, but also discuss her own experience as a blind woman visiting the theatre, and the way that experience is currently made accessible (and perhaps how it could be made more so!).  Lynn Shaw is a dancer and choreographer who has made a number of works exploring her experience with Borderline Personality Disorder through her project ‘Dancing Along the Borderline’.  The session will open with a performance from two of her colleagues, Will Hodson and Rachel Morgan, and Lynn will speak about the process of translating her experience into dance, and the importance of representation and accessibility in the Arts.

Anna Lawson

Anna Lawson is the Professor of Law at the University of Leeds, where she is also director of the University-wide interdisciplinary Centre for Disability Studies and co-ordinator of the Law School’s Disability Law Hub.  Her work focuses on disability equality and human rights at national international levels.  She has been a member of the board of the European Union’s Academic Network of Experts on disability since its inception in 2007 and led its work on accessibility from 2011-12.  She will lead the University of Leeds East Asia Disability Forum (U-LEAD) from 2018-21.  Anna has acted as an expert advisor for various governmental and inter-governmental bodies, including the Council of Europe in connection with its disability strategy 2017-23 and the UK’s House of Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee in connection with its 2016-17 inquiry into disability and the built environment. She participated in the Ad Hoc Committee set p to draft the CRPD and is a member of a number of disabled people’s organisations – including Disability Rights UK, the National Federation of the Blind, the Royal National Institute of the Blind and Partially Sighted People, the Alliance for Inclusive Education and the European Network for Independent Living.

Lynn Shaw

Lynn Shaw is a dance artist, choreographer and mental health advocate who has recently completed her MEd in Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts (Dance), at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Lynn is developing a new piece of professional work inspired by the documentary “Borderline” which was commissioned to be screened as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (2016). In the documentary she explores her own experiences of BPD through the medium of dance and a series of interviews. Having toured the documentary internationally, Lynn’s interest now lies in developing an ethnographic multi arts live performance production, based on the dissemination of research findings from focus groups with lived experience of BPD, family members and health care professionals.

Dancing Along the Borderline

Dancing Along the Borderline aims is to stimulate conversations around Borderline Personality Disorder using dance, film and other art forms as the vehicle. How can dance representations explore peoples lived experience of Borderline Personality Disorder and make their experiences more accessible to the wider public, health care professionals and family members? By applying artistic portrayals, we aim to contribute to educating, raising awareness, increasing understanding and lowering the highly stigmatised perceptions of BPD and other mental health difficulties.