UK Disability History and Heritage Hub (UKDHHH) October Reading Group: Billy Waters

Activity: Public engagement and outreachPublic speaking engagements


Dear list,

This is a reminder email about our reading group session next week. As part of UK Black History Month, for this session we wanted to discuss race and disability. We are delighted to be joined by Mary Shannon, to discuss her research about Billy Waters. Waters was a black, disabled busker in late Georgian London, who became a figure in popular culture. We will discuss Mary's 2019 article on Waters, 'The Multiple Lives of Billy Waters: Dangerous Theatricality and Networked Illustrations in Nineteenth-Century Popular Culture'.

Please find the article attached to this email as a PDF. You may also be able to access it here. Note that the article contains images. Please get in touch if there are any issues access or accessibility issues with the article.

This session will also be facilitated by group member Elena Ghiggino, whose PhD research also focuses on Black Disabled Britons in the late Georgian period, 1750-1830.

Mary has also shared some discussion points to help guide reading and our conversation:

How do we manage the problems of exceptionalism or 'inspirational overcomer' narratives when writing or talking about famous figures from disability history such as Waters?
How/where do issues of race and disability meet in Black, and in blackface, performance in the Regency and Victorian eras?
Does the social model of disability fully account for the representation and experiences of disabled performers in the 19th century?

Estimated audience numbers (if applicable)

online - 70+
Period26 Oct 2023
Degree of RecognitionInternational