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Keywords:

  • Collaboration;
  • digital media;
  • ethics;
  • history;
  • learning (intellectual) disabilities

Accessible summary

  •  This article is about how people with learning disabilities helped to produce a history about Australia’s oldest and largest purpose-built institution for people with learning disabilities, Kew Cottages.
  •  The study uses oral history to empower people with learning disabilities to tell their stories in their own words.
  •  I believe that it is important for oral histories to be accessible for people with learning disabilities. So I used a new form of history-making, digital storytelling/histories, to produce a DVD using text, sounds and images.
  •  This research is important for people with learning disabilities because it explains how traditional oral history techniques can be used with new media technology to create collaborative, meaningful and accessible publications.

Summary

The following article outlines the methodological approach used to include people with learning disabilities as active participants in an oral history produced in Australia. The history sought to document life inside Kew Cottages, Australia’s oldest and largest specialised institution for people with learning disabilities. This work furthers existing research being conducted with people with learning disabilities in the fields of oral history and life history. The article explores: research ethics, the value of oral history and the positive benefits for inclusive learning disability research using digital storytelling/histories.