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Tue., Oct 23, 2018
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Department of Nursing, Health Sciences and Disability Studies hosts
Re-Imagining Disability Equality Conference

On Tuesday 22nd May 2018 the Department of Nursing, Health Sciences and Disability Studies held the Re-Imagining Disability Equality Conference at St. Angela’s College, Sligo.
Conference organiser Susan Carton, Programme Director of the BA in Disability Studies courses in St Angela’s, said that “the purpose of the conference was to facilitate a discussion on how disability is perceived and responded to in Ireland in the 21st Century. The idea that the disadvantage that disabled people experience arises not from the condition or impairment they might have, but from having to live in a world made by and for non-disabled people is not new. Yet disabled people continue to experience inequalities in Ireland despite developments in strategy, policy and law”. Barriers to participation, discrimination and exclusion still exist. A fundamental shift in thinking is needed in order to change these patterns. What has been lacking in Ireland is a robust theoretical framework to underpin work done for and with disabled people in Ireland.

The conference was designed to discuss this and consider a better way of working, led by disabled people, which would have the capacity to deliver on the letter and the spirit of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021 (NDIS) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The speakers were Chris Ledger, who has been CEO of the University of Atypical (previously known as the Arts & Disability Forum) in Belfast since 2009, Dr Colin Cameron, Senior Lecturer in Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne and Peter Kearns, Lecturer, Community Development Advisor, Mentor & Disability Artist.
Among the eighty delegates in attendance at the conference were disabled people, family members of disabled people and people working for and with disabled people. Also there to avail of the chance to hear the speakers were Disability Studies students past and present, alongside public representatives Councillor Marie Casserly and Councillor Sinead Maguire who said that she “appreciated the opportunity to listen to such great speakers, whose eloquence and depth in message was hard to match".  
Other attendees were very pleased with the conference and wrote in the evaluation that they had found the day informative, thought-provoking and very enjoyable. One attendee wrote “this day surpassed all, each speaker added a new note I shall not forget”.

Conference organiser Susan Carton can be contacted at scarton@stangelas.nuigalway.ie

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