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February 28, 2022

March Spark Newsletter

Hi everyone!

We hope you are enjoying the slowly increasing amount of sun light and that were weren’t too badly affected by the recent storms.

There is lot of interesting things in this months newsletter in terms of interesting webinars to attend, the next virtual Disabili-tea room and the opportunity to come and say hi to us (in person!) later this week!


Atrium Gather Event 3rd March, 11-2pm, come get your Spark merchandise!

We have got a stall at the Atrium gather event this week so if you are at City Campus on Thursday come and say hi and collect some Spark merchandise! We have pens, notepads and whatever else we can find that has been sat in storage for the last two years! For those who can’t make the event we are looking at the possibility of sending things out to members via the internal post and will provide updates on this in future newsletters.


Autism Acceptance Week 28th March – 3rd April

For World Autism Acceptance Week 2022 the National Autistic Society are celebrating a shift in focus, from raising awareness, to increasing acceptance and understanding of autism. As part of this week there will be an exhibit of work from autistic students on the theme What Autism Is in the main entrance of Owen Building throughout the week.


The third virtual “Disabili-tea” room has now been scheduled (12-1pm, 6th April)

If you need a place to let your guard down a little bit and chat to other disabled staff about how you are really doing this is the place!

Following the success of the first session we are going to offer Disabili-tea sessions every four to six weeks. These virtual catch ups are a safe space to chat with other disabled staff about absolutely anything from how work is going to things going on in your home life or the wider world.

The next Disabili-tea Room is going to 12-1pm on Wednesday 6th April on MS Teams. You can join the session using the link provided or email us for a calendar invite to

Spark Disabili-tea Room MS Teams link.


Do you have concerns about returning to on campus work?

Are you clinical vulnerable and considered about the risks of catching Covid? Have you found working from home has allowed you to manage your health better?

 We are keen to collate these concerns (named or anonymously) to help inform HR on their guidance for staff. If you have any suggestions for adjustments, such as having a dedicated desk to cut down on risk of surface transmission, we would also love to hear from you. Please send any thoughts to


Purple Day 26th March

Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26th annually, people in countries around the world are invited to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness. Last year, people in more than 85 countries on all continents participated in Purple Day! Canada is the only country in the world who officially recognizes March 26th as Purple Day through the Purple Day Act implemented on June 28, 2012.


Sensory Needs Workshop, 8th March 12.45-2pm (Webinar hosted by Birkbeck Parent Network)

Does your child complain that labels on their clothes scratch them? Or cry when the hand dryer goes on in a public toilet? Or only eat food with particular textures? If so, this session is for you! The Parent Network at Birkbeck are excited to welcome you to our first joint event with our Birkbeck’s Disability Network on Tuesday, 08th March from 12.45 – 2pm on MS Teams. We are taking a deep dive into sensory processing and how it affects our children and their behaviour. The session is suitable for all parents – those with neurotypical children, neurodiverse children and children who struggle with meaningful social communication. Sensory Needs Workshop MS Teams Link.


Disability Matters Seminar, 11th March 12 – 1.30pm (Webinar hosted by NADSN)

In this talk Dan will present on the development of the Disability Matters proposal that was submitted to the Wellcome Discovery Award which was developed in collaboration with NADSN, disabled researchers and organisations of disabled people in Australia, India Singapore, Canada and the UK. In this talk he will tease out a number of general concerns that will be relevant to anyone interested in foregrounding the aspirations of disabled people in research and universities:

  • The ‘absent presence’ of disability in the vast majority of health and social research
  • The need to engage research and researchers with critical disability studies
  • The benefits of centralising disability as the ‘guiding subject of inquiry’
  • The imperative to co-produce research with disabled academics, researchers and organisations of disabled people
  • The innovation that occurs when disabled academics, researchers and representative organisations are leading the way in developing positive research / university environments
  • The key offerings of disability to the realisation of ambitions around equality, diversity and inclusion

Disability Matters Seminar Google Meet Link.


Call for new committee members

The network is in need of more committee members in order to help sustain and continue to grow the work we can do. Please email Spark at if you might be interested in joining the committee. We will invite you to the next committee meeting so you can get a feel for what is involved and there is absolutely no pressure if you decide it is not right for you.


Best wishes,

 Nick and the Spark Network Committee.