Nothing About Us Without Us

  • Discussion
  • British Sign Language
  • Speech-to-text
Photograph of a laptop on a wooden desk with a pot of pens and a houseplant. The laptop screen is displaying portraits of two men and a woman. There are video call icons "People" and "Chat" at the top of the screen and a red telephone icon.
Exploring Research: Nothing About Us Without Us, Photo: Kathleen Arundell. Portrait of David Turner (left) by Kathleen Arundell. Portrait of Christopher Samuel (middle) © Brigita Skopaite. Portrait of Dolly Sen (right) by Thomas S.G. Farnetti. Source: Wellcome Collection.

What you’ll do

Join artists Dolly Sen, Christopher Samuel and disability historian Professor David Turner to hear about their experiences as users of Wellcome Collection and the methods they used to research the suppressed histories of disability.

Dolly will discuss her current project, ‘Birdsong From Inobservable Worlds’. Using literature, performance and film, Dolly’s work explores and challenges the mental health archives as a gay, biracial woman with personal experience as an inpatient and student of the mental health system.

Christopher will discuss his project ‘The Archive of the Unseen’. This multi-format interactive project tells the wider story of what it was like to grow up black, disabled and working class in 1980s Britain. Using the collections, Christopher addresses differences and similarities in the challenges faced historically by disabled people, and how this has been mediated over time through advocates such as Scope.

Professor David Turner will discuss how disabled people’s experiences have been erased from histories of work and industrialisation, and how this history might be recovered from the archives and/or presented in public spaces such as museums. His current research explores the long history of disabled people’s political activism in Britain since the 18th century.

PhD candidate in the History of Art and Medieval Studies, Jess Bailey will chair the event. She has recently published research on disability based on her placement at Wellcome Collection.

You will be able to watch this event on Wellcome Collection’s YouTube channel, and submit questions in advance or during the event using Slido. Your microphone and camera will not be on. After booking a ticket you will receive an email with joining instructions. 


About your contributors

Photograph of Jess Bailey

Jess Bailey


Jess Bailey is a PhD candidate in the History of Art and Medieval studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She has published research on disability at Henry Wellcome’s Historical Medical Museum in ‘Kritische Berichte’ and on sex work in 16th-century drawing culture in ‘Disability and Art History’ from Routledge.

Photograph of Dolly Sen

Dolly Sen


Dolly Sen has a brain of ill repute. Because of this she is a writer, artist, performer and filmmaker.  Since 2004 she has exhibited and performed internationally, and recently received a combined arts project award in collaboration with Unlimited and Wellcome Collection to develop ‘Birdsong From Inobservable Worlds’, which explores and challenges the narrative in existing mental health archives, and adds missing voices to the current archives of madness.

Photograph of Christopher Samuel

Christopher Samuel


Christopher Samuel is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice is rooted in identity and disability politics, often echoing the many facets of his own lived experience. He has exhibited widely and recently received a combined arts project award in collaboration with Unlimited and Wellcome Collection to develop ‘The Archive of the Unseen’, which seeks to interrogate his personal understanding of identity as a disabled person impacted by inequality and marginalisation. 

Photograph of Professor David Turner

Professor David Turner


David Turner is Professor in Disability History at Swansea University. He has published several books on his research, most recently ‘Disability in the Industrial Revolution: Physical Impairment in British Coalmining 1780–1880’ (co-authored with Daniel Blackie), published by Manchester University Press in 2018.



Need to know

Guaranteed (online)

Booking a ticket guarantees you entry to the online event. You will be given joining instructions in your confirmation email. If you have any access requests or requirements, for example a transcript of the event, email us at or call 020 7611 2222.

British Sign Language

This event is British Sign Language interpreted. An interpreter will be embedded in the event stream/visible to all attendees and will interpret what is discussed into BSL for d/Deaf, hard of hearing and deafened attendees.


This event will have live speech-to-text transcription which may be useful for people who are D/deaf, hard of hearing, deafened or neurodiverse. The text will be embedded in the event video window and ticketholders will also receive a link to open subtitles in a separate window.

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