This book traces the development of paid work for visually impaired people in the UK from the 18th century to the present day. It gives a voice to visually impaired people to talk about their working lives and documents the history of employment from their experience, an approach which is severely lacking in the current literature about visual impairment and employment. By analysing fifty in-depth face-to-face interviews with visually impaired people talking about their working lives (featuring those who have worked in traditional jobs such as telephony, physiotherapy and piano tuning, to those who have pursued more unusual occupations and professions), and grouping them according to occupation and framed by documentary, historical research, these stories can be situated in their broader political, economic, ideological and cultural contexts. The themes that emerge will help to inform present day policy and practice within a context of high unemployment amongst visually impaired people of working age. It is part of a growing literature which gives voice to disabled people about their own lives and which adds to the growing academic discipline of disability studies and the empowerment of disabled people.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Visually impaired people and employment: An historical overview
Chapter 1. Manual work and the workshops
Chapter 2. Professional and commercial work
Part 2: The Stories
Chapter 3. Careers in health, rehabilitation, social work and social care
Chapter 4. Careers in music
Chapter 5. Careers in teaching and computing
Chapter 6. Manual and commercial occupations
Chapter 7. Miscellaneous careers and occupations
Chapter 8. Commonality and diversity: insights from the stories
Recommendations and conclusion
Sally French has worked in higher education since 1978 and has worked at the University of East London, The Open University (as a tutor and course-writer), The University of Winchester and Hatfield University all in the UK.