Kent professor and disabled rights activist celebrated in exhibition

Image courtesy of: Student Support and Wellbeing at the University of Kent

The Mike Oliver Exhibition in celebration of Disabled History Month (DHM) launched last night in the Keynes Teaching Foyer.

The exhibition was put together by services such as the Student Support and Wellbeing Service and the Kent Accessibility Network celebrating the life of Mike Oliver, a UKC alumni and professor who advocated disability rights.

Natalia Crisanti, the Events, Systems and Communications Officer of Student Support and Wellbeing opened the launch with a short introduction, followed by a speech by Mike Oliver’s close friend and academic, Gerry Zarb.

The exhibition included Mike Oliver’s sociological work in and excerpts from his academic essays as well as examples of the Social Model of Disability.

Poems, cartoons and images on the struggle of accessibility from the past three decades accessibility were also displayed alongside anecdotes of several disabled students’ experience at the University of Kent.

Students and staff can also sign an ‘Accessibility Pledge’ on the wall in the foyer to actively participate in a development of more accessibility at events and meetings.

The exhibition will be available to see from the 26th November to the 13th December upstairs in Keynes, above K-Bar.

Mike Oliver was a well-known sociologist, author and activist for disability and accessibility. Teaching in social work, he fought for the new Social Model of Disability, which overturned the original Medical Model.

After passing way earlier in March this year, the Mike Oliver exhibition intends to commemorate the work of the academic.

Oliver’s work was ground-breaking and encouraged a social responsibility to change negative attitudes and allow people with disability to participate in everyday society.

As well as celebrating his life in this exhibition, the Kent Student Awards have created a new award in memory of the professor.

The new ‘Mike Oliver Award’ intends to honour the work of an inspirational Kent student or group who has gone far in pushing development for accessibility. Nominations for the award opens on the 13th March 2020.

The Mike Oliver exhibition comes alongside many others included in Disability History Month at the University of Kent, including accessible film screenings, accessibility training and informative lectures.

Disabled History Month runs from the 22nd November to the 22nd December nationwide, and the theme of 2019 is Leadership Resistance and Culture.

DHM 2019 focuses on how leaders of the disabled community have fought for acceptance and individual or collective responsibility on this human rights issue.

You can find more information on University of Kent’s Disability History Month at