Happy New Year! We’re back with a new installment in our series of interviews with role models in dwarfism communities. We spoke to artist and academic, Dr Debra Keenahan.Read More
RGA UK Chair, Gill Martin, reflects on a whirlwind year. Read More
We’re back with another great interview in our role models in the dwarfism community. This time, we spoke to Dr Will Christian – a consultant in paediatric emergency medicine – who had some excellent advice for us all. Read More
Continuing our popular series of interviews with role models in the dwarfism community we spoke with John Young, teacher, coach, athlete and marathon runner. Check out what he had to say. Read More
My name is Jacob. I always introduce myself as a twenty-something software developer, gamer; who has a Christmas cracker sense of humour; a slight affinity for caffeine; and who just happens to have Achondroplasia.
I saw the RGA was running the #SpreadTheWord campaign – asking libraries and schools to stock books that show a positive image of dwarfism. I wanted to take part and contacted my old primary school to see if they’d welcome the books into their library. The current generation there would not have grown up with any real-life representation of dwarfism. They accepted my request and wanted me to revisit the school to deliver a presentation.Read More
Wowzers! We’ll be hosting our annual Mega Weekend event between October 26th and 29th 2017 at the Woodland Grange hotel – of which we have exclusive use – in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
Three full days in which people with dwarfism and their families can attend a range of interactive workshops, informative talks, and fun activities, including:Read More
“You’re attention-seeking!”, “these characters are fictitious!”, “they’ve existed for years!”. These were some of the charges levelled at us this summer when we spoke out about an ‘Evil Dwarf’ collectors card, based on the popular LEGO figures. Here I must express an interest: I am the charity’s Vice-Chair and have dwarfism myself. From that position I feel it’s important I address these criticisms – not because I’m ‘sensitive’ or ‘a snowflake’, but because they provide a valuable lesson in power.Read More
We’ve learned LEGO has a popular ‘Evil Dwarf’ toy for children. So we’re urging them to produce figures with dwarfism that are positive, realistic, and don’t reinforce damaging stereotypes.Read More
Our series of interviews with role models in the dwarfism community is back! This time, we spoke with Matt Hepburn – ex-political hack, campaigner, and commentator. Think you know someone who is a great role model for people with dwarfism? Let us know…Read More
Welcome to the fourth installment in our series of interviews with role models in the dwarfism community. We spoke to Tom Shakespeare, Professor of Disability Research and radio show presenter. Here’s what he had to say to us:
Please introduce yourself: who are you and where are you from?
My name is Tom Shakespeare, I was born in Aylesbury, Bucks, and now I live in Norwich, Norfolk.
And what do you do?
I am Professor of Disability Research at the University of East Anglia. I teach medical students, and I also conduct disability research, both in UK and Africa.
Do you enjoy it?
Yes, I enjoy my work very much. It is very varied: teaching here, interviewing someone there, writing a paper after that. I enjoy meeting different people all the time. In particular, I really like my medical students, they work very hard and they are committed to what they’re trying to do. I also do media work – particularly giving talks on Radio 4 – which I find very rewarding because I get instant feedback from listeners. It’s always very satisfying to write a book – the feedback is not instant, more like a slow burn of appreciation.
How did you end up doing it?
I left Uni and worked for a couple of years in the co-operative sector. I then went back to Uni and did a Masters and a Doctorate. After that, I worked as an academic for most of my career, with one five year break working at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, and another three year break to do arts activities.
If you were 21 again, would you do something different?
I sometimes wonder about that. I love media work, and maybe I could have tried to have become a journalist, either on a newspaper or in BBC radio. But I feel mostly content with what I’ve done with my life.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Meeting different people is always rewarding. But I also love learning things, and this job is about continually finding new things out.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
My first paid work was counting laundry in a hospital for people with learning difficulties for a week. The laundry was soiled. I don’t think it’s possible to find a worse job.
What are the best and worst aspects about being small?
Best aspect is that everyone remembers you. Worst aspect, from the age of 50, has been the health problems – back pain for years, now paralysis and being reliant on a wheelchair.
If you could pass on one piece of advice to your teenage self what would that be?
Don’t worry about relationships. If you have a positive personality, people will love you.
Which living person do you most admire and why?
Maybe Barrack Obama. He’s very clever. He’s very funny. He had a great impact on the world, and above all, he’s so cool.
How do you like to pass the time, outside of work?
Cooking, reading, watching films, listening to music.
What’s your favourite book?
Possibly The Blue Flower, by Penelope Fitzgerald. Or maybe The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brian. Or To The Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf. So many books, so little time!
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
I once used the word ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’
When your time comes, how would you like to be remembered?