'Disability and Industrial Society' is funded by a Programme Award of £972,501 from the Wellcome Trust and runs for five years, finishing in September 2016.
It asks how understandings and experiences of disability were affected by industrial development from the late eighteenth century until the end of the Second World War. Since coal mining was associated with particularly high accident rates and widespread workplace diseases, the project focuses on the coal industry and compares three coalfields in south Wales, north east England and central Scotland.
Between 2011 and 2014 the project was co-directed by Professor Anne Borsay and Professor David Turner of Swansea University, experts in the field of disability history. Following Professor Borsay’s death in August 2014, the project is now led by Professor Turner. He is collaborating with other colleagues in Swansea, including Dr Kirsti Bohata, and with partners from Aberystwyth, Northumbria, Glasgow Caledonian and Strathclyde Universities.
Ideas from social and cultural history will be applied to a wide variety of sources, including parliamentary papers, official reports, medical texts, records from mining companies, trade unions, charities and the poor law, newspapers, diaries, and novels.
The academic results of the project will be set out in books, articles, and conference presentations. Public events will also be held in the three coalfields and an exhibition will tour Wales in partnership with the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.