On 10-12 May, among 700 disability researchers, academics and activists (including numerous of our members, mainly from the Nordic countries), we were participating at the 16th Nordic Network on Disability Research conference (NNDR), held in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Together with Dr Teodor Mladenov, from the University of Dundee, who is coordinating ENIL’s research network, the support and participation of Prof Rannveig Traustadóttir, who pioneered disability studies in Iceland, and our Icelandic members from NPA, ENIL (represented by Kamil Goungor) was co-hosting a session titled “Independent Living in Europe and beyond: past, present, and future”, where we presented the work done with the special issue of the International Journal of Disability and Social Justice (IJDSJ), and screened a summary video from the interviews we took with independent living activists.

We created this special issue to celebrate two anniversaries: 2022 marked five decades since the formal establishment of the first Centre for Independent Living (CIL) in Berkeley, California; and 2022 was also the year of the 10th ENIL Freedom Drive.

The special issue was created and edited by people working in or associated with ENIL. It includes 9 articles by the members of ENIL’s Independent Living Research Network, as well as 12 interviews with IL activists from 12 different European countries. All articles include plain English summaries, and all interviews are subtitled. The special issue is freely accessible through IJDSJ’s website.

The conference itself had strong keynotes and many interesting sessions, on various topics, from independent living to the philosophy of disability, with one being on refugee children with disabilities, where our co-chair Jamie Bolling presented the work done by the Independent Living Institute, our member from Sweden. You can read more about it here.

To summarize, the overall experience was really positive and the inputs very interesting. It was great to see many disabled people (many our members) being there, and presenting their work, with fruitful discussions following afterwards. We are already looking forward to the 17th research conference of the network on 7-9 May 2025 in Helsinki!