What My Disability Can Do!

In May 2022, in partnership with the University's Disability Support Network, we launched a competition for students to submit a piece of original art to raise awareness of all disabilities on campus.

This project aimed to educate and raise awareness of all disabilities on campus and allowed students to share their artwork as well as promoting accessibility, inclusivity, and community themes.

We recieved many entries from students who identified as disabled or who are affected by physical or invisible disabilities. Submissions included illustrations, paintings, photography, graphic design and drawings.

The judging panel was made up of representatives from DSN, LU Arts and the Staff Inclusivity Group. Together they chose the winning submissions below.

  • 1st place - Invisibility Doesn't Invalidate My Disability by Lauran Perkins
  • 2nd place - More Than A Bad Period by Charlotte Boundy 
  • 3rd place - The Invisible War by Hibah Khan
  • Special commendation - Thinking Outside The Box

Winner - Lauran Perkins

"Hi, I’m Lauran, a third year Graphic Communication and Illustration student. When I saw this competition, I felt inspired to take part as I have a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. EDS is a rare, genetic condition that affects the body’s collagen. There are 13 different types, and it is a non-visible disability. I was grateful for this opportunity to create artwork to raise awareness of my disability – especially due to its rarity and lack of visibility. With a prevalence of 1 in 5000, any awareness is incredibly important. As an illustrator, it’s become quite a big part of my portfolio so far and I hope to continue to build awareness of my condition through my work.
My artwork is specifically about the hypermobile type of EDS (hEDS). The artwork shows my personal experience with my symptoms. In the illustration, my character looks seemingly well, though the symptoms on top highlight what I, and many people with EDS face daily, despite not ‘looking ill’. People who have EDS can be told they ‘don’t look ill’ due to the nature of the condition, so my artwork stands to be a step in breaking down the barriers surrounding non-visible disabilities."

Second Place - Charlotte Boundy

"My name is Charlotte Boundy and I am a final year Fine Art student whose work aims to generate awareness of Endometriosis through painting and drawing. I have suffered with this condition for over ten years now, have been hospitalised and in a wheelchair for the pain and when I heard about the What my Disability Can Do competition, I was excited to enter.
More Than a Bad Period aims to convey the pain and discomfort caused by endometriosis and is part of a wider collection exploring individual experiences of endo pain, making the invisible pain visible in an uplifting but raw way."

Third Place - Hibah Khan

"My name’s Hibah Khan and I’m a 1st year psychology student! I’ve struggled most of my life with my mental health issues. Alongside that struggle comes the stigma, the invalidating comments, and the toxic positivity; people who don’t know what we go through are so adamant to tell us who we are and what we need. It can feel like you’re at war with your mind and the world all the same time. I drew my surrealist self-portrait with the aim of illustrating the empowerment of reclaiming your own narrative; only when I do that can I find growth from my struggles, and the beauty in my growth. We all deserve to feel proud of how far we have come, and no one has the right to take that away from us.

The two dividing heads in my piece are my way of visually illustrating what it feels like to struggle daily with draining and intense mental health symptoms; this part was important for me to express because when you’re struggles aren’t visible, so many people feel the need to invalidate you. The flower symbolises growth, because we all still have the potential to grow and become a beautiful version of ourselves despite any invisible or visible struggles we face."

Special Commendation - Thinking Outside The Box

"I'm a first-year Creative Arts student here at Loughborough. I really believe in the communicative power of art to promote positive change. This competition was a chance for me to use art to express a little of my own experience being autistic, and how it can be a benefit for me in my field of study.

A lot of non-autistic people might not understand the way the autistic mind works, or the way an autistic person may communicate or express themselves. I think a lot of people see difference and equate it with incorrectness. In this illustration I wanted to show that it can be more colourful to think outside the box and to see the world in a different way. This kind of diversity should be celebrated. We need different minds and different points of view to be creative and innovative. I hope after seeing this work, the non-autistic viewer might reconsider their views on autism, and reframe it as something different, not something wrong."

All the winners above will have their work displayed in the bus shelters on campus, on LU Arts and DSN’s social media channels and presented on digital screens.