ILMI Mailshot May 14th 2021

Welcome to our May 14th 2021 Mailshot

National Disability Authority (NDA) consultation event

IMAGE: Screenshot of Dr James Casey with the text “That if we are building back better, which we need to, then it shows possibly something was broken in the first place”.

ILMI’s Dr James Casey was one of the keynote speakers at the National Disability Authority (NDA) consultation event today. Called “Building Back Better: The Post Covid-19 world for persons with disabilities”.

Dr James said “Using these technologies we have been coming together as a collective, always with a rights based approach”. Speaking on the importance of a collective and how DPOs differ from service providers and charities. – “you wouldn’t go to a men’s shed for women’s issues”. He then went on to say “We have more in common than what drives us apart”- cementing a sense of solidarity and working towards a shared goal that will bring us all closer to achieving the social model envisioned by the #UNCRPD.

Strategies for Change (SFC) Session on Disability Policy

IMAGE: graphic of the SFC Logo

The SFC Project is an innovative online programme using insights from experienced disabled activists and legacy learning resources that build and support the development of disabled activists across Ireland. Online workshops on a range of topics underpin and foster a collective approach for building true equality. Topics such as disability equality, intersectionality and the social model of disability provide the raw materials that forge the exceptional learning within the workshops led out by ILMI’s project worker Fiona Weldon.

“In this week’s Strategies for Change session, we had James Cawley (Policy Officer with ILMI) talking to us about disability policy. He told us that central to the way ILMI work is to make sure that policy decisions that impact on the lives of disabled people have to be directly influenced by those whose lives are directly affected.

Policy concerning disability over the past 20 years has centred on supporting disabled people to lead full and independent lives, participate in work and society, and be free from discrimination….”
For more information on the policy session click here.

For more information on the SFC Project contact

SFC Learning Exercise

IMAGE: is a graphic with the words “I used to believe. Back then, in the times. Disabled people had no future. Had little opportunity. Just bus and day centre to go. And then I learnt some more…”

The rest of the verses from SFC participants can be found here and all based on the poem “Then I learned some more” by Pat Ingoldsby

The Lived Experience for Ourselves to Ourselves

IMAGE: shows a photo of green fields and the words “unquestioned medical model lived experiences”

In the this week’s ILMI E-Bulletin, Peter Kearns will follow-on from his previous article on the power of language by exploring how we use the phrase ‘Lived Experience of Disability’. Peter identifies how we can own the phrase more as a strong piece of terminology rather than just a flippant phrase, and as part of our social model led language.

Social model informed use of language enables and empowers our knowledge as a national DPO. At the heart of Peter’s ILMI E-Bulletin article lies a question: is there anything to be gained by identifying as a disabled person within ‘The’ Lived Experience of Disability?

The term Lived Experience describes the first-hand accounts and impressions of living as a member a minority or oppressed group, such as disabled people. Some Lived Experience promoters would state that you cannot argue against any type of lived experience and you should listen and not question the particular minority individual telling their lived experiences. Yet, many disabled activists would agree that many disabled people lived experience tales are often showing prominent medical model narratives. These unquestioned medical model lived experiences are often required to internalise the values which tell the disabled adult that they are inferior or special or brave.

On a very basic level, the Lived Experience of Impairment, and related impairment labels, is an individual experience of physical, mental and well-being and sensory conditions. The disabled person’s narrative can be either a medical or social model Lived Experience. This week’s spring ILMI article will set-out to argue that the Lived Experience of Disability should be concerned with social model informed societal and cultural identity experiences. Therefore, this article is proudly saying that Lived Experience of Disability should fundamentally not be a flippant catch-all phrase, but an official social model term emphasising rights and cultural identity by, for and with the Expert-of-the-Lived-Experience – the ‘Disabled Person’..

The 19th Century German disabled philosopher Friedriche Nietzsche argued, that to name something is to determine its essence – to put a ‘name’ on something is to say what it ‘is’. A few years after Neitzsche’s death from syphlis, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), 1930s Nazi’s twisted his thinking around the essence of language by naming German disabled people Dasein ohne Leben  ‘Existence-Without-Life’.

2021 Irish Disability Lived Experience discussions survive in a world where there are still power-plays by governments, doctors, charities and the non-disabled public. Non-disabled professionals and ‘experts’ still hold power over naming and labelling disabled peoples basic humanity: whether we should be born; how we should be ‘cured’, stabilized or institutionalised; and when we should be offered the ‘choice’ of Dying-with-Dignity euthanized.

Faced with non-disabled powerful medical model language and narratives that fluctuate between basic-existence, contempt, pity and  ‘SuperCrip’ inspirational ‘overcoming’, how should we argue the worth of social model rights, culture, critique and discourse in the Irish Lived Experience of Disability?… you can find the rest of this article here

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