Opportunities and Barriers to Independent Living in Europe. 22 May 2024, from 14:00 to 15:00 CEST online. Research Webinar

ENIL’s Independent Living Research Network is organising a webinar to discuss research related to opportunities and barriers to Independent Living in Europe. We have invited three leading disability studies researchers – Dr Agnes Turnpenny, Dr Gabor Petri, and Dr Miro Griffiths. Agnes and Gabor will explore current trends in marginalisation of disabled people in Hungary, and Miro will present his work on disability activism in Europe.

The webinar will be held on 22 May, at 14:00 – 15:00 CEST. Participation is free and open to all. People can register by following this link.

Overview of the presentations

Agnes Turnpenny and Gabor Petri will discuss a study aimed at exploring the changing and new mechanisms of marginalisation of disabled people and their families in Hungary since the 1990s. There, a series of progressive, human rights-inspired legal changes have entered into force since the 1990s. Large-scale, EU-funded projects have also targeted the field, including in education, social care, employment, accessibility, etc. To explore how these policy changes intersect with other factors, and the lived experiences of disabled people, Agnes and Gabor employed both qualitative and quantitative methods, including review of policy documents of legal and policy changes since the 1990s; life course interviews (N=93) with disabled people and their family members; a national representative survey (N=1000) about social attitudes toward disabled people and their rights; and media analysis. The results show that access to community-based social services has not improved since the 2010s. Life course interviews testify of continued and serious levels of social exclusion due to stigma, lack of access to services and spaces, poverty and housing problems, services not responding to needs, and exclusion from the labour market. Social attitudes are less inclusive toward autistic people and people with intellectual disabilities. Media portrayals of disability usually show a predominantly passive, victimised image of disabled people who lack agency.

Miro Griffiths will provide an overview of the ‘Disability Activism in Europe: Young Disabled Activist’s Views and Experiences’ project. The project investigates the contemporary position of young disabled activists engaged in activism and social movements across Europe. It offers insight into young disabled activist’s contributions to disability politics, the barriers limiting their participation, and their vision for the future of disability activism. Miro will outline the four phases and the key findings of the project: (1) a survey exploring opportunities and challenges to young disabled activist’s participation in disabled people’s social movements; (2) interviews exploring opportunities and challenges to young disabled activist’s participation in disabled people’s social movements plus their vision for an inclusive and accessible society; (3) a ‘future laboratory’ workshop supporting young disabled activists to imagine the role of disabled people’s social movements in achieving such societies; and (4) production of a documentary film exploring youth participation in disabled people’s social movements across Europe.

About the presenters

Dr Agnes Turnpenny has a background in social policy and led various research projects related to disability and mental health in Hungary, the UK, and internationally. Currently she works for the Institute of Public Care, Oxford Brookes University and is an Associate at TÁRKI Social Research Institute in Hungary.

Dr Gabor Petri has worked in the disability movement since 1999. He is an external Research Affiliate at the Central European University and Honorary Lecturer at the University of Kent. He recently published a co-edited volume ‘The Routledge International Handbook of Disability Human Rights Hierarchies’. Gabor currently works outside academia.

Dr Miro Griffiths is a Disability Studies scholar, based in the School of Sociology and Social Policy, at the University of Leeds. His research is associated – primarily – with understanding disabled people’s experiences of resistance, activism, social movement participation, and advocacy. His contribution to existing bodies of literature has progressed ideas and theories about power, resistance practices, and disabled people’s pursuit for liberation. Dr Miro Griffiths is also a policy adviser to governments, civil society organisations, research networks, and private enterprises.