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Arnolfini - est 1961

Presented by Untold Stories, Brigstow Institute & The Urban Word Collective | This event aims to bring people together to explore the histories, untold stories and different meanings of disability and activism in our city.


Bristol has a rich history of activism and people fighting for equality, rights and social justice. However Disabled people are often missing from these stories.

It is a year since people gathered in Bristol for ‘Disability and Migration’ in solidarity with Disabled asylum seekers. 30 years ago, Disabled people protested outside at the Arnolfini itself. Throughout June 2019, autistic people, people with learning disabilities, mental health system survivors and families are campaigning against institutions and cuts to education.

The event will include a screening of Sarah Barton’s documentary ‘Defiant Lives’, which tells the story of the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain and Australia.

Then through poetry, talk and discussion we hope to uncover some of the barriers between the different communities and groups working for equality in our city.  Above all, we aim to offer a space to share stories and ideas about how we build on what we have learned, together.

BSL Interpreters will available for talks and discussions from 13:30 – 16:00

About the film Defiant Lives:

‘Defiant Lives is a triumphant film full of extraordinary characters who put their lives on the line to create a better and very different world where everyone regardless of impairment is valued and can participate.’

You can watch the trailer here:


We aim to be welcoming and accessible to all. If there are ways we can make our events more accessible for you or your group please contact 

There is wheelchair access throughout the building. We can provide padded seating upon request. We have accessible and gender neutral toilets and a designated quiet space. There is a hearing loop by request in advance.

The nearest parking spaces for blue badge parking is at the Grove car park. 

For our full access guidelines please click here.

Supporters:  Arnolfini, Brigstow Institute – University of Bristol, Arkbound, Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers Campaign, South West Doctoral Training Partnership and The Urban Word Collective)