In the past couple of years the Debrief has linked to thousands of stories, articles, and pieces of research. Over the break I was coding and cataloguing them to improve how they're organised on the website.
While I was doing that, Áine was updating and developing their guide to resources on climate change and disability. Between us we cover a fair bit of available disability news and we've picked out the very best items for you.
Alongside tweaks to the website, and a new logo for the Debrief, we're proud to share with you:
- A library with disability news and resources from 145+ countries and regions
- A hub on climate and disability with a resource guide and Áine's reporting.
Now partly I'm calling this the fastest-growing library of disability resources to get your attention. I share below others that you'll want to look at if you need even more disability news in your life.
But the other reason that I call it that is there's nothing else like it. It's a catalogue of almost 3,200 links hand-picked since the start of 2022, covering the majority of the world's countries and an extensive range of tech, social and economic issues.
Disability Debrief is supported on a pay-as-you can basis. Thanks to a new contribution from Nayeem.
This work has been made possible by support from our institutional partners including, among others, Sightsavers, the Center for Inclusive Policy, Ford Foundation, Light for the World and CBM Global.
For curiosity and for research
As before, the library can be explored by geography, topic, or search. The countries are now grouped by region, so it will be easier to find related news. Each topic, and many of the countries have highlights selected for you to see key references and most interesting resources.
The climate hub offers both introductory and in-depth material on the climate crisis and disability. Áine has split their resources into different sections to give an overview on connections, exploration of the impacts of climate breakdown, and adapting to it.
One of the important updates we've made is to pull out highlights and starting-points. So whether you're exploring out of curiosity, or researching more systematically, there's something for you.
Keeping up with change
Disability Debrief was born out of the mission of keeping up-to-date with what's happening and new resources.
There is ever-increasing visibility of issues affecting disabled people, and an ever-growing collection of tools and approaches to challenging discrimination. And so we need to develop the platforms to help sign-post and connect the emerging news and resources.
As Debriefers know, my curated news updates bring information from all over the internet and the latest in disability news. Those link collections feed into a catalogue that can be browsed online.
This gives us a unique view on how the world is changing for disabled people, and what disabled people are doing about it. It is the foundation for everything else we do on the Debrief.
Many meeting points of climate and disability
One of the critical areas that our curation has led us to focus on is the intersection of the climate crisis and disability.
When Áine started writing for the Debrief last year, it still felt like there wasn't so much information on how the climate crisis would interact with issues important for disabled people. I felt that the disability community more broadly needed to understand more, and that so did I.
Our new climate page shows Áine's work and the resource guide that they've put together. As the guide shows, there's now a much wider range of material available to understand the interactions between disability and climate breakdown, and also how they can be responded to in a disability-inclusive way.
Diverse resources for a diverse community
Our curation, is, of course, very personal. These resources aren't generated by the “intelligence” of a computer or a committee. Both Áine and I are disabled people who work on disability, and our selections guide you to what we think is most useful, relevant or interesting.
In my piece on a disability lens, I get into why disability makes it important to combine different types of knowledge and lived experience. As such, our collections put voices of disabled people alongside academic research and policy analysis. Áine in particular puts an emphasis on bringing out the wisdom of disabled people themselves, especially those who are multiply marginalized.
There are pragmatic sides to this too. Very early on in doing Disability Debrief I saw that the disability community online is as likely to share something to do with culture or lived experience as they are to share the latest issues with air travel or artificial intelligence. My curation responds to the fact we need entertainment, stories and reflections as well as evidence and research.
I'm proud to have gathered information from over 145 countries and regions. By necessity taking a broader geographic view also means we need to take into account different types of information. I have less information from Tunisia or Timor Leste, for example, so I'll take a wider view on what to include. But if it's the US or the UK, my criteria will be more demanding.
Our summer glow up
As well as structural changes, the summer was also a chance to sharpen some of the points on the web design. Thanks to designer Kinanty Andini, we have a new Debrief logo:
Kinanty is a freelance graphic design and digital artist and a psychosocial disability activist. I met her through her work with Disability Justice Project, which also inspired a reader to share a poetic response.
I was a bit lost on what kind of logo I wanted, so Kinanty patiently gave me twenty options. She made this one to capture the Debrief's combination of serious intent and being fun to read.
With help from a web designer I also made other changes, on the website and behind the scenes. Presentation on the website is a bit fuller, and hopefully some touches to improve navigation.
Behind the scenes, I did a rewrite of the code I use to generate the library pages. Most of that you don't need to know about, but one change in the content was reorganizing links into a category on Independent Living and Deinstitutionalisation. The growing number of resources on care are in there, too.
When I shared the library for the first time last year, I got into a discussion of web access. We also ran usability tests on changes we did this time, and we've made some keyboard navigation a bit sharper. But a new feature to mouseover on headings to get a link to those sections isn't yet operable only via the keyboard.
We're working on that, and please let me know if there's anything else. As ever, the work on the Debrief is evolving, and done in community with y'all.
Curating news in community
The only reason that I can find so much disability news is because of what's being developed and shared by others. Among many sharing disability news on social media, newsletters, and elsewhere, two are particularly worth highlighting:
- Jack McElaney has been writing Accessibility in the News for seven years and he recently published his 360th weekly edition. He's sharing well upwards of ten thousand links a year, and for weekly disability headlines from the US and beyond, there's no better source.
- Raul Krauthausen's Disability News Digest also trawls through disability news, with a relatively more European focus. Less organised, but with corresponding benefit of being more catch-all and responsive to online news.
I use Jack and Raul's work extensively, going through every email they send. The Debrief complements their weekly work by organizing news into a catalogue, and adding another layer of further curation and pulling out key information from the links.
Beyond these, another long-running reference for materials in international disability work is Ask Source. A newer player is Disability Evidence Portal offering briefing notes across a range of subjects. And recently a friend of the Debrief reminded me of the Institute of Ars Vivendi in Japan that has interesting collections in English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese.
A testament to the strength of our movement
Underneath those layers of curation and analysis, the only reason we can do this work is because disabled people and our allies are making the news and resources in the first place.
Not only can I find disability news from the majority of countries in the world, I'm confident that it's there for all of them, and just a matter of me finding it. The range of subjects that the news covers shows how its intersections are being explored in all areas of life.
Our resource collections are there to support our colleagues and friends in the fight for a better world for disabled people. And at the same time they're our testament to the extraordinary breadth and scope of the strength of our movement.
There are many people to acknowledge for making this work possible and contributing to making it better. As noted above, this work wouldn't be possible without the institutional partners mentioned, and support from K. Li.
Áine Kelly-Costello outdid themselves with their work on the resource guide, and I've benefited from our extensive conversations on curation and presentation, as well as support on access work and revision to this piece.
Kinanty Andini was patient and creative as we worked through logo options. Cathy Sarisky of Spectral Web Services was an invaluable support in improving the website, and other users of the Ghost platform should definitely contact her.
I got extensive advice and feedback from friends and colleagues. Among others, K. Li had careful suggestions for the library, as did colleagues from CBM Global, Tom, Kirsty and Sander, as well as colleagues from Light for the World, Dawn, Andreas, Julia, and Livia and from Sightsavers, Anna. As ever I count on advice from Kathy, Davey, James and Jutta. Shout-out to Dody who talked through my tech issues and in 30 seconds of looking at my code could see what I needed to rewrite.
Another support in this phase of work was Chat GPT. I am a beginner programmer and it gave me a lot of help with python scripts and SQL statements.