Jo Campling died a few days ago after several months living with cancer. Jo was one of the disabled people’s movement’s earliest and staunchest allies and supporters.
She was especially influential in her own writing and also behind the scenes by bringing the work of disability activists and scholars to the fore through her involvement with organisations such as RADAR, the British Association of Social Work (BASW) and publishers Virago, Macmillan and the Policy Press.
Her first two publications: ‘Better Lives for Disabled Women’ (1979) and ‘Images of Ourselves; women with disabilities talking’ (1981) provide a clear and accessible insight how disabled women were and remain
economically, politically and socially disadvantaged in contemporary society.
‘Better Lives’ contains 11 short chapters covering many aspects of disabled women’s lives including sexuality, motherhood and employment. ‘Images of Ourselves’ is as the title suggests the unedited experiences of twenty four disabled women of various ages with a variety of impairments.
In 1981 she organised a conference for the BASW and Central Council on the Education and Training of Social Work (CCETSW) entitled ‘The Handicapped Person: a new perspective for social workers’ with contributions from now familiar disabled activists and writers such as Merry Cross, Micheline Mason, Frankie Raiher, Pat Rock, and Mike Oliver which ushered in what we now know as the social model of disability.