Virtual event

Defiant Lives: The History of the Disability Rights Movement 

A prerecorded conversation about the Disability Rights Movement with the makers of the film Defiant Lives.

30 October 2023
6-7 pm
Did you attend this event?
Leave feedback

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Defiant Lives: The History of the Disability Rights Movement 

Watch the full film at –

Defiant Lives tells the story of the rise and fight of the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain and Australia, introduces the world to the most impressive activists you’ve never heard of. 

In this prerecorded conversation, filmmakers Sarah Barton and Liz Burke join educator and advocate Sinéad Burke to talk the movement over the last five decades, the making of the film, and the extraordinary people who put their lives on the line to create a better and very different world where everyone is valued and can participate, regardless of impairment.  

Please note this is a prerecorded event. Captions are available.

Speaker biographies

Headshot of Sarah Barnton

Sarah Barton is a 2010 Churchill Fellow with more than 25 years’ filmmaking experience mainly with the disability community. Her first film Untold Desires (1994) about sexuality and disability won the first Logie Award for SBS television and an AFI Award.  In 2003 Sarah created and produced 70 episodes of the award winning disability community television series No Limits. In 2017 Sarah’s feature documentary Defiant Lives about the disability rights movement premiered at Sydney Film Festival and also screened at the United Nations in New York.  Sarah runs a video on demand service dedicated to streaming great films about disability.  

Headshot of Liz Burke

Liz Burke is an award – winning documentary filmmaker and producer.  She has had feature and television hour documentary films commissioned by ABC and SBS Television in Australia. This includes Defiant Lives (2017), about the history of the disability rights movement in the USA, UK and Australia. She is a lecturer in  film producing at Swinburne University of Technology, in the BA (Film, Games & Animation). She is currently producing the feature documentary, Stella: I Am Not Your Inspiration, about the late great disability activist Stella Young. She is the co-editor of Constructions of the Real: Intersections of Documentary-based Film Practice and Theory (2023). 

Sinéad Burke is a Disabled educator, advocate and author who champions accessibility, equity and social justice to build a better world for everyone. In 2020, she founded the accessibility consultancy Tilting the Lens on the three pillars of education, advocacy and design. Advising major global brands including Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Netflix, Pinterest and Starbucks, Tilting the Lens guides clients in their move from awareness to action by creating more accessible practices, policies, products and services, places and promotions.

Watch recordings

Power trip event season event flyer


Our Autumn 2023 programme of events explored leadership in all its forms – from the seats of power to the front lines of activist movements and even in our own workplaces.

Watch recordings
Love Machine event season digital flyer

Love machine

Our Spring 2023 programme of events explored the interconnections of AI and data with humanity through conversations, performances, and workshops.

Watch recordings
First Breath Autumn Event Season brand leader. Image of dandelion and umbrellas on orange background. Text reads: 'First Breath: Autumn Event Season'. Includes Edinburgh Futures Institute logo.

First Breath

Our Autumn 2022 programme featured more than 20 events exploring crisis, migration, displacement and equality coalescing around the theme of Climate Justice.

Watch recordings

"The production and intellectual content of your recent events has been fantastic! Thank you for the opportunity to attend and learn. This is probably the best event I have been to all year."

Event attendee, Love Machine Spring 2023

"Really, really impressed with Futures Institute events. Properly impressive speakers, and seamless technical management. Thank you for keeping them hybrid/online – it's a really nice way to keep in touch!"

Event attendee, Love Machine Spring 2023

"Amazing! I hope that Utopia Lab can ring in every event season, the dream space that you curate and allow to flourish is an important and novel lens that Edinburgh Futures Institute offers partners, students, staff, researchers and anyone with an interest in collaborative thinking and doing."

Event attendee, Love Machine Spring 2023

Our public events seasons are co-created with people from across the University of Edinburgh. If you'd like to contribute ideas for the programme please contact the events team.

Call for proposals

Meet the events team

Headshot of Alice Carr

Alice Carr

Events Co-ordinator
Headshot of Fraser Pringle

Fraser Pringle

Project & Events Administrator
Headshot of Ioannis Kalkounos

Ioannis Kalkounos

Programme Manager
Lewis Williams

Lewis Williams

Events Technician

Join us to challenge, create, and make change happen.