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This paper will highlight some of the stories uncovered during my doctoral research which explores the intersection of gender, sexuality and disability activism in twentieth-century Britain. The wider project illuminates the neglected histories of three grassroots disabled women’s groups, plus the pioneering work of disabled women artists and writers. In this paper I will demonstrate the centrality of disabled women’s narratives to the broader landscape of liberation politics in modern Britain, and reflect on some of the methodological and theoretical challenges encountered during this research. I will discuss the issue of how scholars can begin to historicise the transformative theories animating both the Women’s Liberation and Disabled People’s Movement, focusing in particular on intersectionality and the social model of disability.

Beckie Rutherford (she/her) is in her final year of PhD research at the University of Warwick. Her recent article ‘“We Moved Together, We Breathed Together”: Disabled Women On Stage In 1980s Britain’ won the Social History Society Postgraduate Exchange Prize 2022. Beckie is currently an RHS Centenary Fellow at the IHR.


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