DRILL Blog and News

News: The Disability Talk Show

University of Atypical, 109-113 Royal Avenue

27th March: 6.00pm – 7.00pm


Disabled people with attitudes talking about the attitudes towards them.

A talk show of a different kind, where the Others talk about their Othering.

We are a group of disabled people hosting a talk show on attitudes and independent living. The conversation stems from an ongoing research project on how attitudes in the adult social care system can be a barrier or an enhancement to independent living choices. The research is led by disabled people and focuses on lived experience.

From a lively discussion on having to eat porridge when you hate it because someone thinks it is best for you; to a heated debate on whether to prioritise having lunch or going to the toilet, we will share with you our stories and experiences of attitudes that you have not heard and are not ready for. We will ask you some intrusive personal questions, but which we are routinely asked in the context of adult social care or the ongoing welfare reform.

This event aims to highlight the voices of disabled people and our everyday mundane, yet creative resistances to stereotypes, intrusion of our personal lives and marginalisation. Attitudes can be a barrier to equality, participation and independence. But attitudes can change and be an enhancement to disabled people’s human rights. It is all about sharing the experience!

This event is part of the Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) and funded by the Big Lottery Fund, with kind support from Disability Action NI and The University of Atypical.

For further information please visit The-Disability-Talk-Show/


Blog: Barod ready to work

What do you call a researcher with learning disabilities?

Most people call them a ‘co-researcher’. We think that’s OK as long everyone doing the research is called a co-researcher. But if you have ‘the researcher’ working with ‘the co-researcher’, it’s like saying only one of them is a real researcher. We often hear people talking about the researcher and the co-researcher. It’s like having a Chair and a Co-chair, rather than two Co-chairs. That annoys us because if you don’t need them both then why have them both in the team? And if you do need them both, why give one a higher status just because the knowledge and experience they bring is different? So rather than using the term co-researcher, we prefer to say academic researcher and activist researcher. When they do research together we might call them both co-researchers if we need to, but usually we would talk about them co-researching. Researching together is an activity, not an identity or a status. And Barod researchers don’t need an identity that says they can only co-research. We are quite able to do research by ourselves too.

But then we were thinking about why you need activist researchers, or co-researchers, or whatever you choose to call them/us. What do they bring that other researchers can’t bring? 

In social research, people talk about insider research. This is social researchers who go and research their own community or work place.  That sounds a bit like most of the research done by researchers with learning disabilities. So then we wondered why people don’t usually call them insider researchers. Maybe that’s because academics aren’t quite sure if a researcher with learning disabilities fully deserves the status and label of being a social researcher. If we had time [that’s Barod-speak for ‘please pay us for the time’!] we would love to compare the literature about insider research with the literature about participatory research. There could be a lot to learn about why and how to do participatory research by looking at the lessons from insider research.

In ethnography, social researchers rely on gatekeepers to give them access and credibility. We know this is an important role of activist researchers. Without activist researchers in the team, academic researchers would need to find gatekeepers. With activist researchers in the team, access and credibility can happen via the researchers’ insider status without needing to go and find a gatekeeper. We do wonder sometimes if using the term co-researcher can go hand in hand with thinking of activist researchers a bit like glorified gatekeepers: someone who stands with one foot in the world being researched and one foot in the academic world of research, but who doesn’t really belong in their own right in the academic world of research. 

We will keep thinking. We don’t have the answers. We would like to know what other researchers think. 

For further information about the project please visit Barod The Bridge: Changing attitudes and communities by turning skills and experience into earnings for self- advocacy organisations and self-advocates.

News: Recruitment


One in five people in Northern Ireland have a disability.  Disability Action believes in human rights for all and works to promote, protect and uphold the human rights of people with disabilities.  We are a Northern Ireland wide pan disability organisation working with disabled people with various disabilities; physical, mental, sensory, learning and hidden.

The Disability Research on Independent Living & Learning (DRILL) programme is a UK wide research programme delivered in partnership by four major pan-disability organisations in each of the UK nations – Disability Action, Disability Rights UK, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales.  The programme is creating a new and innovative research agenda in each nation and UK-wide.  We work with policy makers and senior practitioners to ensure that the research evidence informs positive policy and practice solutions to fit future economic and social trends.

Disability Action wishes to appoint to the following position: –

Impact Measurement Officer (Ref IMOD19)

£24,766 pa (This is the full time equivalent.  The actual pro rata salary for this post is £19,812.80 per annum).

28 hours per week

Fixed to 31 August 2020

The Impact Measurement Officer will be responsible for capturing the outputs, outcomes and impact of the 32 research and pilot projects funded by DRILL; supporting DRILL in the most effective use of the research and pilot evidence.

The successful applicant must have the following:

  • A third level qualification (i.e. a degree or equivalent level professional qualification) in a relevant discipline with 2 years’ experience of (i) capturing the outputs, outcomes and impact of projects and (ii) presenting and using research evidence and findings effectively (Or alternatively 5 years experience).
  • Experience of evaluating projects and preparing reports for various stakeholders.
  • Ability to work on own initiative and as part of a team.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills, including creative presentation of information and use of data visualisations.
  • Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office packages as well as other relevant software.
  • Experience of working to tight deadlines and managing a diverse workload.
  • The ability to meet the travel requirements of the post – ie to undertake regular travel throughout Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.  (It is anticipated that on average this may amount to 1 or 2 days per month).
  • Demonstrated understanding and commitment to the rights of disabled people, and in particular independent living.

Application packs can be downloaded at http://www.disabilityaction.org: or obtained by emailing [email protected]  The application pack is available in alternative formats such as Braille, large print, etc, on request.

Closing date for receipt of completed applications is 2pm on Thursday 21 February 2019.

Disability Action is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.  Applications are particularly welcome from people with disabilities.


Tweets by @drill_uk

The report, Match Me, highlights how difficult it is for many disabled people to find housing that is accessible to them, and often access to a garden or other greenspace is often not considered to be important. Read the whole report https://t.co/9lYNgvKMjO

Inappropriate housing is causing disabled people physical and mental harm - that's the findings of research conducted over three local authorities in Scotland, but has implications for social housing providers across the UK @Horizon_Housing @HousingOpsScot @StirUni

“It’s given me back my life” how an internship at @InclusionScot helped Siobhan get back her confidence and feel like a person again. https://t.co/bJisGRB8K4


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