Disability

Teaching and Learning

There is a current focus on access in the College, and not just in terms of accommodating students with additional needs but of supporting all students. Jorie Lagerwey (SEDF) earned a Digital Badge in Universal Design for Learning after completing modules offered by UCD Access and the National Forum in 2020. When designing her project, she has made efforts to ensure that assessment is varied and includes assignments that encourages visual or audio outputs, rather than traditional essays. Varied outputs allow access for students of different competencies and interests, but also can be more accessible to students with learning difficulties and those who for a large variety of reasons do not thrive in very formal written work. 

Research

Georgina Hughes (School of Music) has recently completed a PhD on Dame Evelyn Glennie, the world’s first solo multi-percussionist, under the supervision of Wolfgang Marx. As a deaf female pioneer and role model, Glennie’s career has demonstrated how creativity offers myriad potential trajectories for forging more inclusive and accessible directions in both culture and society. Research is centred on musical innovation and entrepreneurship, but is also concerned with addressing the urgent imperatives for gender equality and disability rights in an infinite spectrum of disciplines. Glennie situates the contemporary performer as an advocate and activist, establishing music as a significant site for promoting discourse on ethical practice. Her vocation centres on an effort ‘to teach the world to listen’, challenging ideologies and stereotypes associated with deafness/disability and gender.  

Maria Stuart (SEDF) is PI of the Welcome-funded project ‘Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers’: connecting clinical, cultural and creative practice in the area of dysfluent speech. The project draws together researchers and practitioners from across speech therapy, disability studies, literary/cultural studies, and creative practice, many with a personal experience of dysfluency that informs research and practice. At the core of the project is shared investment in stammering less as a ‘disorder’ to be ‘fixed’ than as a form of communication that offers unique insight into the intricate relationship between vocal agency and cultural reception. Challenging medically inflected models of ‘recovery’ premised on concepts of ‘normal’ speech, the project foregrounds the role of the humanities in identifying and challenging the complex/disabling cultural assumptions around dysfluency, as well as the power of creative writers and artists to subvert concepts of ‘normative’ speech through the power and potential of an expressive, generative dysfluency.

Outreach, Impact and Service

Staying with the topic of speech and language, as part of Mary Farrelly and Stephen Lucek’s SPARC-funded project (SLCL), a seminar for staff and students was held entitled ‘Dyslexia and Sound-Letter Relationships: It’s Complicated’ (February 2020). Visiting speaker Emily Barnes (TCD) discussed how the relationship between letters and sounds affects dyslexia for speakers of different languages.

Emily Mark-FitzGerald (SAHCP) is the Vice-chair of the executive board of Arts & Disability Ireland (ADI), the national resource organisation which partners with the Arts Council to distribute its funding in the area of arts and disability. From 9-21 March 2021, ADI will be hosting online the major event ‘From Access to Inclusion: An Arts and Culture Summit’, featuring 21 presenters, from 16 cities, representing a range of international organisations such as theatres, museums and galleries, festivals, and cinema. The Summit includes workshops, a 3-day symposium, and a programme of evening online events. This summit is being delivered in partnership with VSA, the U.S. national resource organisation for arts & disability, based at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. More details are available here.



↖ Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 2019/20 Report