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US Telethons: Disabled People to the Rescue
Thu 2 June 2016, 16:00 – 18:00 BST
Leonard Cheshire Disability is proud to host a lecture by disability rights scholar Professor Catherine Kudlick, Director of the Longmore Institute on Disability, on Thursday June 2nd 2016, at UCL, University of London.
Based on the recently published book by scholar-activist Paul K. Longmore, “Telethons: Spectacle, Disability, and the Business of Charity” (OUP) Professor Kudlick’s lecture will explores how disability is portrayed by charities, particularly in the USA, as a means to evoke pity and sympathy, and ultimately raise funds.
The lecture will also examine how the large charities and corporations involved in the round-the-clock televised fundraisers needed people with disabilities on stage to prompt viewers to give money, as much as disabled people needed the partial services that resulted from the events. In Britain, events such as Comic Relief, Children In Need and Sports Aid rely on this type of event.
“Too often people write off telethons as insignificant,” Professor Kudlick, who completed the book after Longmore died unexpectedly, says. “But Longmore understood that the yearly shows shaped American thinking about healthcare, disability and related corporate images."
Professor Kudlick’s lecture will be based on the eagerly-awaited work started by activist Longmore, an internationally recognized historian who had been working on the book for over two decades. Until telethons finally went off the air in 2015, hundreds of millions watched as celebrities, jugglers, gospel choirs, corporate executives posing with over-sized checks and smiling children in leg braces, all paraded across the screen to raise billions of dollars for disability charities.
Professor Nora Groce, director of the Leonard Cheshire Disability & Inclusive Development Centre, University College, London said “We are proud to invite different voices to investigate the ever expanding debates around disability. We welcome Professor Kudlick to London and look forward to the discussions around her work.”
For more information on the event or interviews, contact: Emma Bird email@example.com, Leonard Cheshire Disability Inclusion Centre, UCL
For Additional information about the book: contact Oxford University Press Publicity, NY at: Alana.Podolsky@oup.com, tel: 001 212 726 6265