1981 IYDP

Disability Perspectives

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Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of The United Nations International Year of Disabled People 1981 through the postage stamps issued to mark the occassion.

Commissioned and supported by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists, with funding from Arts Council England.

1981 Postage Stamps:
United Nations International Year of Disabled People.

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1981 IYDP Stamps
United Nations  International Year of Disabled People 1981 Global Stamp Issues

About the BOOK:

On the 40th Anniversary of the International Year of Disabled People (IYDP) in 1981, Paul Darke has developed a book revealing the complete 1981 global stamp issues for the United Nations International Year of Disabled People.  With over 200 images of every one of the 1981 global stamp issues supporting the IYDP this is the first publication to bring the stamps together alongside several critical essays by leading disability and cultural thinkers.

In 1976 the United Nations declared 1981 as the International Year of Disabled People with a call for nation to create an ‘equalization of opportunities, rehabilitation and prevention of disabilities’ with the theme of “full participation and equality”.  One objective was to ‘increase public awareness; understanding and acceptance of persons with disabilities; and encouraging persons with disabilities to form organizations through which they can express their views and promote action to improve their situation’.

Significantly, the book was commissioned by a disability arts organisation, UnLimited (supported by the Arts Council of England) as part of a creative “lockdown’ initiative.  The publication has been created by the disabled artist and academic Dr Paul Darke, who is based in Wolverhampton but is originally from Camberley in Surrey.  Dr Darke has brought key disability studies and critical theorists to offer additional insights to the stamp issues as well being a complete colour photo collection of the stamps from every corner of the world.

Dr Alison Wilde (University of Durham)

Stamps present significant visual representations of contemporary national cultures, yet they remain overlooked in the field of visual culture. This is especially true of this collection of stamps, from the UN International Year of Disabled People (IYDP) 1981 – there has been little analysis of how disability issues and disabled people are portrayed on stamps.

Dr Miro Griffiths (University of Leeds)

I’m not convinced that these images, and celebratory days/years, will help to realise emancipation and bring about opportunities for disabled people to participate in inclusive and accessible environments. Nevertheless, they remain important. They capture a moment in time that provides us with avenues of critique, reflection, and debate.

Professor Simon McKeown (University of Teesside)

When I opened the folder of over 300 images of stamps, I felt that I was on an international adventure, with so many countries represented. Many of the stamps were immediately personal to me and operated on a level of a shared commonality.

Nigel Smith (Digital Strategist)

As a child, it was always a pleasure to receive airmail from distant relatives in the Caribbean or North America. The stamps offered colour, excitement and variety. Domestic editions, meanwhile, featured the United Kingdom regent’s head in two or three colours, so it was the stamped airmails and their references to distant adventure and to exoticism, that fired the imagination in my small, dreary corner of Albion.

Paul Darke (Director of Outside Centre)

I think it was Pierre Bourdieu, the great French philosopher, who wrote that a collector is collecting themselves.  I was, I am, perhaps attempting to give myself meaning in a commodified, reified, society where the value of disabled people is never more than less. 
Commissioned and supported by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists, with funding from Arts Council England.


Click here for free download 1981 IYDP Stamps PDF with alt text.

View online here on ISSUU:

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