Launch of the George Padmore Collection Easy Read Series

July 2, 2024

We are delighted to launch the George Padmore Collection Easy Read Series following the George Padmore Institute’s (GPI) participation in a collaborative project with The Open University (OU) and Generate Voices, a forum of people with learning disabilities who campaign for positive change.

The project enabled Paul Christian, actor with the theatre company Access All Areas, activist and Researcher with the OU, to create easy read documents to help make the GPI’s archives about Black British history more accessible for people with learning disabilities. Paul has been assisted throughout the project by co-worker Dr Sue Ledger, OU Visiting Research Fellow and member of the OU Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group. The project was achieved with support and funding from the OU.

Paul and Sue first visited the GPI  in January 2022. Making history and archives more accessible to those with learning disabilities is essential as records are often difficult to find and catalogue descriptions can use complicated language, a concern that Paul continues to address through his work: ‘I was never taught about black history at school. As an adult, this information was not available in a format I could understand. Because of that, I feel I lost a part of myself.’ (Paul Christian, ‘Black history is brought to life’, Community Living, Spring 2023).

Members of Generate Voices met regularly with Paul and Sue and acted as critical reviewers, giving feedback on the easy reads as they were created. Valuable guidance was also provided by Nicola Grove, Speech and Language Therapist and Researcher with the OU. GPI Archivist Sarah Garrod assisted Paul and Sue on research visits to view the GPI archive; supplied selected images for the easy reads; and helped edit the documents.

You can download the easy reads by visiting the Discover page on our website and clicking on ‘Resources’. You can also download the easy reads by clicking on the links below. There are three documents written by Paul Christian: 

- ‘Introduction to the George Padmore Collection Easy Read Series’, which includes Paul’s background and his motivation for creating the easy read documents

- ‘The 1981 New Cross Fire’ about the New Cross fire archive collection;

- '1927-2006 The Life of John La Rose’ about John La Rose and his work to fight racism.

Paul Christian at the George Padmore Institute. Photo credit: Sue Ledger.

We hope that you find the documents clear and easy to use.

You can also read more about the project in two articles by Paul Christian, published in Community Living:A light on black history’ (December 2022) and ‘Black history is brought to life’ (April 2023).


The GPI is an independent charity (1003001), it is not associated with any other organisation. We rely on grants and individual donations to continue to preserve and make available the stories of many black and Asian communities. See details below for ways to make a donation.


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