"Coalition" was the magazine published by Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP).
It started out as a news sheet in 1986, the year after GMCDP was founded, and over the next few years evolved into a magazine featuring articles by many disabled writers and activists from Greater Manchester, the UK, and internationally (often reprinting articles from the disability movement in the USA, especially from Mouth magazine).
"Coalition" also contained reviews of books, films and music, letters from readers, poetry and other creative writing, cartoons, photographs, and regular columns such as "The Sting" which satirically commented on disability-related news stories, and "We Wish We Wouldn't See" which featured particularly bad representations of disabled people in newspapers and advertising.
"Coalition" became an important forum for disabled activists to debate key issues in the Disabled People's Movement, including the Social Model of disability, the terminology used to describe disabled people, public transport access, independent living and personal assistance, the movement's engagement with government and political parties, direct action, disability arts and culture, and much more. Often people wrote in to "Coalition" to reply to articles that were published in previous issues, so back-and-forth discussions happened within the magazine.
There were over 85 issues of "Coalition" published between 1986 and 2019, when an "Archive Special" issue was published. However, publication became less regular after the death of editor Ken Lumb in 2009. "Coalition" never officially ceased publication, and it is still possible that it may be revived again, perhaps in a different form. If you might be interested in getting involved with this, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As longstanding GMCDP member, Disabled People's Archive steering group member, and sometime "Coalition" contributor Brian Hilton says:
Throughout its run, the magazine was at the cutting edge of disabled people’s movement. It created a forum for debate and the exchange of ideas and opinions amongst members, activists, academics, artists and organisations.
It called out the hypocrisy of ‘disability charities’ and the damaging role the media plays in how disabled people are portrayed. As a result, the magazine was threatened with *legal action on more than one occasion.
Now in the age of instant messaging, social media and online publishing, it’s easy to forget what an important role the magazine played, particularly in 80’s and early 90’s.
It was a regional publication with a national and sometimes international outlook. Its readership was a mixture of individuals and organisations, and the topics it covered were seldomly given a voice or platform elsewhere.
The magazine often acted as a forum for debate on emerging and sometimes contentious issues such as Terminology, Anti Discrimination Legislation, Assisted Suicide, The Social Model and Disability Culture.
The magazine wasn’t the first or only publication of its type. However, both the length of its print run and the calibre of the articles have combined to create a unique time capsule of the disabled peoples moment during some of its most formative years.
Some articles first published in "Coalition" have been reprinted in Disability Studies books or put online in other places, such as Leeds University's online Disability Studies archive. However, the great majority of its contents has never been made available online.
In the Disabled People's Archive we have a complete collection of "Coalition" magazine. We are working through these, scanning and digitising them, and will be posting them on this website in accessible formats as each issue is finished.
For each issue of "Coalition", we will post:
- the "raw" scan of the original issue as a PDF, to show exactly what it looked like
- the full text of the issue, with image descriptions, in Word .doc format
- a large-print version of the issue (18pt Arial PDF), with the images from the original issue included with alt-text
- Easier to Read translations of the articles from each issue which we have agreed are possible to translate
We will only post issues of the magazine on the website when all adaptations have been completed. If there is a specific issue you are looking for and it is not (yet) on this page, please email email@example.com and we will do what we can to help.