Disability and Community: Dis/engagement, Dis/enfranchisement, Dis/parity and Dissent (the D4D project)


Principal Investigator: Martin Levinson

The project team brings together disabled and non disabled academics from a range of disciplines, with disabled artists, writers and performers, and with community partners (including Accentuate, Disability Arts Online, Shape and Disability Rights UK). The leadership of the project will be shared between two universities (Exeter and Bristol) and Accentuate, a disabled-led arts organisation. The research team will work in places as diverse as shopping centres, play areas, schools, youth zones, work places and arts festivals.

The work will involve and be informed by the knowledge and lived experiences of disabled people. Key to the project will be research with disabled people as co-researchers. The team will explore the roles disabled people perform within and between communities (their own
and others). They will investigate the evolving ways in which disabled people express, perform, experience and practice being part of a community.

D4D will learn from participating communities with the aim of better understanding the ways in which disabled people experience community, and the various forces and contexts (e.g. play, education, medicine, new technology, digital media) have shaped and continue to influence the experiences of communities of disabled people. The project will build understanding, generate opportunities for connections, solidarity, resilience and activism, and support an increased sense of agency and empowerment among participants, sharing knowledge and professional development, and creating new spaces for dialogue and action.