Disabled activists and researchers at Bath Spa University have been awarded a five-year Wellcome Trust grant to develop a research network for the South West.
The group, called We Are The People (WATP), will bring together disabled people and non-disabled allies in the region to design grassroots networks and research that focuses on issues that matter to them.
Disabled in this context includes anyone who self-declares as disabled, people with chronic conditions, neurodiversity, temporary disabilities, carers, support workers and non-disabled allies and family members.
Through its work, WATP aims to identify key issues around disability that urgently need research and innovation, such as accessible town planning, support for carers and information around benefits and local support for disabled people. By engaging and supporting disabled research fellows, the network hopes to affect positive change locally and across the region.
This week, WATP will be showcasing its latest research through a ‘Mini Festival of Inclusion, Disability and Community Action’ taking place in Corsham, Wiltshire from 5th until 10th September, uniting disabled researchers, artists, performers, local activists and allies to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
The network is working with partners including community activists, Pound Arts Centre, Springfield Community Centre, Corsham Town Council and Misfit Theatre to host the event.
Over the week, WATP will host several public engagement events, culminating on Saturday 10th September when researchers will participate in the annual Corsham Street Fair. Pound Arts Centre will also host a series of workshops, exhibitions and performances at the Fair, ending with a panel discussion of disabled activists, artists and community members.
Dr Tanvir Bush, WATP Research Fellow, said, “We Are The People represents the intersection of disability within every aspect of the human condition. At its heart, this network will involve disabled activists and non-disabled allies working together to create social change using new and creative ways of working that are truly innovative and exciting.
“Our aim is to explore the idea and purpose of ‘grassroots’ research with our communities to find ways to support research partnerships. We’d like to learn and understand, from local disabled and non-disabled people, what makes an accessible and inclusive environment and culture, and to form a network of community and disabled-led groups across the South West.”
To express an interest in taking part in or supporting WATP, please contact Dr Tanvir Bush on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured above: Corsham Court