We are a group of disabled young people aged 18-22 from Coventry, in the West Midlands of England, UK. RIP: Stars stands for Research into Practice: Skilled Team with Ambition, Rights and Strength. We co-led a research project with Professor Anita Franklin and Dr Geraldine Brady to look at whether Education, Health and Care Plans met the needs of disabled children, including whether they addressed rights and were of quality.
We trained as researchers and worked as a team. We learnt about the social model of disability, as a way of viewing the world and that helped us to recognise the barriers in society that make life hard for disabled children and young people. We have stayed together as researchers and activists to make our voices heard; we continue to work for choice, control and equality for disabled children and young people. We undertake research with disabled children and young people to learn about their experiences, and we use this evidence to argue for changes in practice and policy.
We believe that every disabled child’s voice is important, but together we sound louder.
Professor Geraldine Brady
I am Professor of Sociology and Social Work in the School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University, UK. My research on children’s marginalisation and exclusion has contributed an important perspective on subjective voice, whilst contextualising lived experience within a critical analysis of institutional and policy frameworks which impact on the lives of children. Drawing on the social studies of childhood my research has allowed for the development of creative, inclusive and participatory methods, giving rise to reflective research accounts about methodology, ethics, research, policy and practice relationships. I edited the 2015 Sociology of Health and Illness monograph, ‘Children, health and well-being: policy debates and lived experience’ (Brady, Lowe, Olin Lauritzen, 2015) and co-led the training and development of the RIP: Stars group.
Professor Anita Franklin
I am a Professor of Childhood Studies at the University of Portsmouth, UK. My background is in children’s social care and policy and my research has mainly focused on children’s voice, agency, rights and protection. Specifically, I have contributed unique insight into the abuses and protection of disabled children and young people ensuring that their voices and experiences inform the development of policy and practice in this area. I developed a methodology for co-leadership with disabled young people in research, and for the past decade have worked in partnership with groups of disabled young people (eg: the VIPERS and RIP:Stars) to support evidence generation to facilitate policy and practice change, and activism, which is led by disabled young people.