In aging societies people are living longer, raising the likelihood that they will experience disabilities. Disability history is an underutilized source for generating solutions to this societal challenge. DisPLACE (Disability in Public Life and Cultural Expression) is a digital platform for the collection and interpretation of experiences of disability, past and present, by students, researchers, disability service organizations, and the creative industries. The platform includes:
1) a digital archive, to share historically-significant documents, images, and multimedia
2) an interpretive space, where curators, researchers, and students will engage with these sources to answer research questions about disability history, resulting in online exhibitions, digital documentaries, and scholarly essays, and
3) a network zone, facilitating the exchange of information and advice on potential new research questions the hub can be used to answer. This will be the first archive in the Netherlands to gather and analyse a wide range of historical sources on disabilities together, the first shared virtual environment to utilize the cultural heritage of disability to foster and disseminate new scholarly research and creative industry solutions to the challenges of aging societies, and the first to make these accessible online to people with a wide variety of disabilities.
The protoype is funded by an NWO Creative Industry – KIEM Grant of €18,000 for the research project ‘Digital Disability Archive’ (1 September 2017 – 31 August 2018), awarded to Manon Parry and collaborating applicants Paul van Trigt (LUIH), Paul Bijl (KITLV), Disability Studies in Nederland, and multimedia partner Driebit.
The project is part of a larger initiative by the BIB Network (Bronnen voor inclusieve burgerschap), working to stimulate the collection and interpretation of disability history.