'Amplifying Inclusion: Living Disability Narratives and Law for the Next Generation'
Knowledge Exchange Fellow (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation):
Dr Marie Tidball | Faculty of Law, Centre for Criminology | University of Oxford
My Life, My Choice Charity
Broadening the purview of the humanities and social sciences to better consider disability is not limited to the content of substantive research; it also involves increasing opportunities for better participation in research for people with disabilities. Dr Marie Tidball’s work with adults with autism highlighted the importance of participatory action and the role of reflexivity in research to facilitate their involvement in making policy recommendations. Creating an Expert by Experience Forum for persons with disabilities, it would provide a basis to ensure the University carries out a more inclusive research with participants with disabilities.
The Forum would play an important role in capacity building in disability-related research at the University. Internationally, academics have undertaken a concerted approach to moving disability-related experience into healthcare education (Robey, 2011) and enabling the lived experience of people with disabilities to make ‘the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities “real”’ (Boyles, 2014). The proposed Forum model will demonstrate by example different pathways to genuine exchanges of ideas, with Marie, as the Early Career Researcher acting as an advocate for such work in her disciplines and across other faculties, as well as outside the Academy. The establishment would not only create a feedback loop for research on disability at the University but it would also provide a vehicle to disseminate the research findings of her doctoral thesis. Using cross-method triangulation of qualitative data collected through interviews with elites and practitioners, textual analysis and court observation of eight adult defendants with autism through their court process, her thesis investigates why the status of this group as disabled under the Equality Act 2010 has been overlooked in criminal justice policy and criminal court decision-making.
This collaboration examines the extent to which policy-makers and criminal justice decision-makers consider the defendant’s autism in their decision-making about the defendant’s case in the courts. Finally, it examines the impact of ‘collateral’ effects of the criminal justice process on family members who supported these defendants (Tidball, 2016). As a Knowledge Exchange fellow, Marie would work with the Forum to develop a research dissemination strategy to develop an accessible-read report of her findings and communicate them across disabled people’s organisations, practitioners and high-profile policy-makers.