Sam Brady

@SamB24 (Twitter)


Research title: A socio-political and technical history of the Sports Wheelchair

Research Summary

I am an AHRC CDP funded student researching the social, political and technical history of the Sporting Wheelchair. This project combines disability history and activism, wheelchair sport and the history of technology. To achieve this, my research utilises Science and Technology Studies (STS) theories such as the Social Construction of Technology.

I utilise archival data and oral history interviews for my research. I have worked closely with the National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) in both cases. I have interviewed a number of athletes/wheelchair users, manufacturers and sporting professionals in order to preserve the history of this technology. Moreover, I have accessed the NPHT's collections throughout my research, and assisted in their ongoing archive projects as part of a placement. 

As part of my PhD research, I am writing a series of blog posts for the National Paralympic Heritage Trust, which can be found here and here.

As part of my placement with the NPHT, I have also led on the Paralympic Heritage Trail App, highlighting my interest in digital technologies, heritage and public engagement.


Samuel Brady (2022) ‘A small leap for disabled man’: the athlete-led evolution of the sports wheelchair and adaptive sports, Sport in History, DOI: 10.1080/17460263.2022.2049634


PhD Studentship funder – AHRC Central Doctoral Partnership programme.


  • Panel appearence: The role of Oral History: Disability Voices Rising. Temple University, Insitute on Disabilities. Online. 22nd Feburary 2023 (Video recording avalible)

  • ‘A small leap for disabled man’: The athlete led evolution of the sports wheelchair and adaptive sports, British Society of Sports History 2021 Conference, St Mary’s University, 26th August 2021.
  • “Sporting Wheelchairs: A technological and political history”, Sport and Leisure History Seminar, British Society of Sports Historians, Institute of Historical Research, Virtual event, 28th June 2021 (Podcast recording avalible)
  • “A Socio-Political and Technical History of the Sports Wheelchair: Review in Progress”, British Society for the History of Science Postgraduate Conference 2021, Virtual event, 14th April 2021 (Video available)

  • “Undatable or superhuman? Perceptions of disability in Jewish community”, Joint talk with Hannah Brady, Limmud Australia and New Zealand Virtual conference, Virtual event, 14th June 2020.
  • “The History of Disability: Where are the Jews?”, Finchley Reform Synagogue ‘Jewish at Twoish’, Virtual event, 4th May 2020
  • ‘Disability in early Twentieth Century Leeds and the role of Jewish Social Welfare”, University of Glasgow Centre for Disability Research Seminar, 31st January 2020

  • “Immigration and disability: two postgraduate theses from the University of Leeds”, Joint presentation with Susanna Goldstone, UK Limmud Festival, 22nd December 2019
  • “Leeds Jewish Disabled People, their Welfare in the History of the Jewish Board of Guardians 1870-1928,” Leeds Jewish Historical Society, 2nd December 2019 (Audio available)
  • ‘Disabled New Negroes? Disability and impairment in the literature of the Harlem Renaissance, 1919-1929’, CDS Postgraduate Conference 2019, University of Leeds, 12thJuly 2019

  • ‘Disabled working Jews; Disability, Race and Leeds Jewish Community, 1870–1918’, University of Leeds, 14th December 2018



GTA Role 2020/2021 - History 1A and 1B. 

I have led two seminars in 2019: a week on Black Internationalism MA course at the University of Leeds on the link between Black Panther (2018), George Schuyler’s literature and Pan-African movements in the 1930s; and a week for the Harlem Renaissance BA module focusing on Disability.

During my MA I assisted BA students with their Dissertations as a project mentor, providing extra support alongside their supervisors. This was alongside my Master’s degree, and I supported 5 students.  



Additional Information

My research interests also include matters of race, gender, class and religion, and in particular how these intersect within the lives of disabled people. My Undergraduate thesis, submitted in 2018 at the University of Leeds, focused on the representation of impairments in African American literature during the 1920’s Harlem Renaissance. My Master’s thesis, also submitted at the University of Leeds in 2019, shifted focus to explore the experiences of disabled people in the Jewish community of Leeds in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As such, I have strong interests in Race studies and Jewish studies.

I am currently the Social Media Co-ordinator for Historical Perspectives, a cross-disciplinary postgraduate network for historical research. I am also the co-founder of the UK Disability History and Heritage Hub, following the success of a conference I helped organise. Finally, I am on the team for the New Generation Group, the PhD-focused wing of the Jewish Historical Society of England. In these roles, I have worked significantly on event organisation, communications, website and image design, and administration.

I also have work experience in student recruitment, as well as working as a University Ambassador and helping run employability and Alumni events for students at a school level.