Promoting a more inclusive society

June 10 2017, 8.51amUpdated: June 5 2017, 3.02pm

I’m the director of Dundee based charity PAMIS (Promoting a More Inclusive Society). PAMIS is the only organisation in Scotland that works solely with people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

They provide a range of services and projects including; Family Support Service, Information & Library service and campaigns for equity in services for people with profound and complex disabilities.

We are hosting a conference (June 14-16)) that will give a platform to discuss, debate, share practice and build networks. Together with the University of Dundee we’re spending a day of the conference harnessing the talents and ideas of the many designers in the city who have been instrumental in Dundee for our ‘Inclusive Design’ day – a conference within a conference.

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The conference is timely because we have just celebrated the 10th anniversary of the adoption of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006 – 2016). This has led to a heightened awareness about the need to engage with those who use services – people with disabilities, children and young people, and family carers, to ensure we build the communities which they value and can participate in.

The aim of the Inclusive Design day is to bring together those who use services and spaces with those who design and support inclusion. This will be an opportunity to access parts of the Promoting Inclusion Transforming Lives 2017 conference but with parallel sessions for people passionate about design to make Scotland the most inclusive country in the world.

We welcome people who need their communities to be inclusive and accessible: Scotland’s Business Tourism, Changing Places Toilet Champions, Access Panel Members, Local Authority Planners, Architects, Transport providers and Leisure and Culture leads to get involved.

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Sessions include ‘Enablers and Barriers to inclusion – accessible and inclusive design and ‘Getting it right for Scotland – Building inclusive communities.’

Then there will be an open space session – an opportunity to meet and discuss projects and ideas in greater depth, and/or personal/group reflections on implementing learning and ideas into practice.

We want to have a mix of the brilliant designers in Dundee and the community together in one place to be able to tackle some hard topics.

We are delighted to have secured Pat Graham as one of our keynote speakers. Pat is an active researcher and one who applies research and learning straight back into practice. She highlights that this research started the day her daughter who has profound and complex needs was born. Pat is inspired by both of her daughters and has practically combined their collective wisdom into supporting others to be more inclusive within their local communities.

Pat will gently but effectively challenge us all to consider how to be inclusive. She tells us her life has been transformed by her daughter. We know she will transform our thinking.

Claire is a 22 year old woman who was born with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy and uses a wheelchair 24/7. However, she has never let her disability stop her from living her life to the fullest.

Last year she started writing a blog ‘A Journey in my Wheels‘ where she hopes to diminish the negative views that some people have on people living with a disability and spread disability awareness by talking about issues and barriers that she and people like herself face including the big topic of accessibility. To go along with her blog, she started a YouTube channel called ‘Claire’s A Journey in my Wheels‘ where she visually shows everything she talks about in her blog as well as sharing what she does on certain days and showing most importantly that her disability doesn’t own her, she owns it.

This is not a separate conference, but rather a conference within a conference. Due to space limitations, the maximum registration for the Inclusive Design event is 60 individuals. If inclusive design is (or should be) your focus then please register at http://pitl.org.uk/programme/inclusive-design/

We are thrilled to have attracted delegates from as far afield as Australia and Japan, as well as Europe and the UK. There are a number of family carers as well as those who use services and academics locally, nationally and internationally. We have representatives from the Scottish government, from health and social care and from the third/voluntary sector. And still room for plenty more!


Jenny Miller is director of PAMIS. 

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