NUI Galway Conference will Explore Right to Make Decisions for People with Disabilities

Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Principal Investigator on the VOICES Project and Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway.
Apr 19 2016 Posted: 09:39 IST

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy project, The Voices of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination (VOICES) will hold its first workshop on the 27th and 28th of April in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway.  

The first day of the workshop is open to the public and will be a conference style event exploring the experiences of people with disabilities in exercising, or being denied their right to make decisions about their lives, known as legal capacity. The conference will include both international and domestic perspectives in the area of legal capacity and will also look at different ways to tell stories. Speakers include people with disabilites, academics, and activists with experience of using stories to drive social change from around the world.

The VOICES project takes an innovative approach to law reform by using the stories of those with lived experience of disability and pairing them with respondents to develop grounded recommendations for reform. The second day of the workshop will be a private day where storytellers can share their experiences and can start working together with respondents.

The keynote speaker will be Amita Dhanda, Professor of Law and Head of the Centre for Disability Studies, NALSAR, University of Law, Hyderabad in India. Dr Dhanda has actively engaged in negotiating the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and has been closely involved in the law reform work in her own country to formulate disability rights laws especially legal capacity and support regimes which are in conformity with the UNCRPD.

Participants attending the conference will include: World-renowned independent disability rights defender, Professor Gabor Gombos; Theresia Degener, Vice Chair of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Committee; Maths Jesperson of PO-Skåne, a professional service with personal ombudsmen for people with severe psychosocial disabilities in Sweden; and Jolijn Santegods, a grass roots human rights activist and leading figure in human rights for people with psychosocial disabilities internationally. 
Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Principal Investigator on the VOICES Project and Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “This workshop will bring together storytellers with disabilities and respondents from academia, activism, front-line workers and policy-makers to jointly develop proposals for reform of laws, policies and practice on legal capacity. The participants come from 12 countries and will explore many different and exciting ways to share their experiences of exercising and being denied legal capacity – through oral and written storytelling, art, theatre and performance.”

The VOICES project is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, awarded to Dr Eilionóir Flynn, the youngest person to ever receive such an award.

The conference is a free event and registration remains open until Monday, 22 April.

Further information is available at or email Clíona on or 091 494272. Participant accessibility requests and enquiries are welcomed.


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