Neglected Voices

Scope and Content

‘Neglected Voices’ is a work about disabled people’s experience, consisting of four sequences of transcription poems: ‘Proud’, ‘In Memory’, ‘This Hearing Thing’ and ‘Dan Dare Braces’.

The ‘Proud’ poetry sequence, consisting of c.47 poems, is based on an interview with Jennifer Taylor, a person with a Learning Disability.

‘In Memory’ is a poetry sequence of c.32 poems, based on the words of Catriona Grant whose life was affected by a stroke at a young age and who sadly died of a second stroke over the period she was being interviewed by Allan Sutherland.

‘This Hearing Thing’ is a set of c.47 transcription poems based on the words of Wendy Bryant (a former member of Brunel University Staff), who gives an account of growing up with a hearing impairment.

‘Dan Dare Braces’ is a set of c.52 transcriptions poems based on the words of Peter Moore, who tells the story of how he survived abuse.

Also in the collection is a copy of the lecture given by Allan Sutherland entitled, ‘Transcription poetry as a vehicle for documenting the lives of disabled people.’ It was presented at the Fifth International Disability Studies Conference, which took place at Lancaster University in September 2010.

Contains the transcripts of each of the four interviews carried out by Allan Sutherland, as well as the audio recordings of each interview.

Administrative / Biographical History

Allan Sutherland, who has grand mal epilepsy, is a leading figure in the Disability Arts movement, and is the author of the multi-award-winning book “Disabled We Stand,“ (1981) and co-writer of the award-winning BBC Radio 4 drama “Inmates“ (1997).

Sutherland spent five years developing a method of creating poems through editing the transcripts of oral history interviews with disabled people, which then led to his securing two major commissions from Disability Arts Online and a Leverhulme-funded residency at the Centre for Citizen Participation, Brunel University, 2010.

Over the years 2010-2011, whilst residing at the Centre for Citizen Participation at Brunel University, Allan Sutherland interviewed four disabled individuals on their life histories; recording their stories on audio, then transcribing these interviews with as much accuracy and detail as possible, and then finally experimenting with editing the transcript and creating poetry from them.

The transcription poems, which he created, are available on the Disability Arts Online website.

Allan Sutherland also delivered a paper about his transcription poetry at the Fifth International Disability Studies Conference, which took place at Lancaster University in September 2010. His paper was entitled Transcription poetry as a vehicle for documenting the lives of disabled people and is available to read online.


One box, 10 folders with audio recordings kept separately

Access Information

Available to researchers, by appointment. Please email:, giving at least two working days notice.

Further details about access to our collections are available on our website.

Access to archive material is subject to preservation requirements and must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited at Brunel University Library after the creator’s residency.

Other Finding Aids

Publications of the poetry collections can be found online at Disability Arts Online.

Audio material of the interviews can be accessed at the British Library.

Archivist's Note

Prepared by Jemima Jarman, with edits by Katie Flanagan.

Conditions Governing Use

The material, unless otherwise indicated, is protected by copyright. You are unable to publish, in full or in part, without the permission of the copyright holder. However, you may use the material as permitted under statutory exceptions in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, e.g. quote for purposes of scholarship within the limits of fair dealing.