RIX 20! event

It’s hard to believe that only a week ago we were all together in the Royal Docks Centre for Sustainability celebrating 20 years of Rix.

Our 20th anniversary event on Wednesday 1 May, RIX 20!, was a resounding success and was attended by over 120 people, a lively mix of academics, practitioners, people with lived experience of disability, and co-researchers. There was a buzzing atmosphere of inclusion, we were all equal in the room, and this created a real feeling of community and connectedness.

three women
Rix co-researchers Kiran and Baljit enjoying the show

After opening remarks from UEL vice-chancellor and president Prof Amanda Broderick, we were treated to a trip down memory lane with Andy Minnion and Jonty Rix, son of Lord Brian Rix who co-founded the Rix Centre with Andy. They chatted about the challenges along the way and the early experiments with multimedia that would develop into the Multi Media Advocacy approach and the Rix Wiki.

Jane Abraham and Catherine de Haas spoke touchingly about their friend Gloria Ferris and we all admired Gloria’s lovely knitted tea cosy.

Nicola Grove from the Rix team talked about the meaning and purpose of storytelling and shared some videos of interactive story making sessions at Charlton Park Academy.

bust of Lord Rix
Nicola Grove speaks about storytelling under the watchful gaze of Lord Rix

The highlight of the morning was undoubtedly the mesmerising Diabolo performance from Oskar Schenck who had brought along his mum Stana as interpreter and his brother Jakub to capture the event on his phone. Oskar gave a confident and skilful performance with his blue Diabolo set and had the audience gasping with wonder at some of his moves.

man performing diabolo
Oskar performs his Diabolo magic

During and after lunch there were a series of workshops for people to enjoy before coming back together for a delightfully sweary presentation from Not Your Circus Dog Collective! who have been touring their cabaret show, Not F**kin’ Sorry! Many thanks to the show’s co-writer and director, Liselle Terret, for supporting the troupe with their brilliantly outrageous performance.

cabaret troupe
Not Your Circus Dog Collective! show us what they think
woman gestures with hands
Everyone joined in the fun
man with VR headset
The VR workshop proved to be very popular

The event ended with the book launch for Rights in Practice for People with a Learning Disability: Stories of Citizenship. Liz Tilly and Jan Walmsley talked about how they came to write the book and invited several of the people whose voices are captured in the book to talk about their experience. Our Rix co-researchers, who had co-written a chapter about employment supported by Gosia Kwiatkowska and Kanchan Kerai, also shared their experiences with the audience.

The Rix team would like to thank all of those who attended RIX 20!, including the stall holders with their share and tell tables, the amazing performers, all our friends from the local community, and the UEL staff and social work students who helped us with the event. 25 here we come!