Today marks the UN International Day of Persons With Disabilities. Here at the ALL Institute we are celebrating by launching our ALL Blog – IDEAS IN ALL :A blog on assisting living and learning by the ALL Institute, Maynooth University.
Through this blog, we hope to offer new voices and new perspectives; providing up-to-date commentary and creative ideas; highlighting new projects which are person-centred, but which also engage with perhaps less personable systems, evidence-based policies, and laws. We are interested in the application of ideas and appropriate technologies to empower people across their life course.
This blog, in line with the ALL Institute’s mission, promotes a comprehensive and human-rights based approach to social inclusion; locally, regionally and globally. It will feature a range of disciplines as well as interdisciplinary posts and commentary from the staff and researchers at the Institute as well as guest contributions, symposia, and media content.
We are particularly proud and happy to launch this blog today, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the ALL Institute. We also feel that, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, there would not be a better time to foster a dialogue on supporting and empowering people living with a disability or chronic illness, older people, or those marginalized from the benefits of mainstream society – to achieve equitable application of technological, personal, community and societal initiatives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only provoked an unprecedented and ongoing health crisis but has also exposed and exacerbated structural inequalities. It has also created fears and uncertainty in a world already shaken by the rise of populism and by growing environmental and climate crisis. We are in uncertain times – in a fragile European Union, whose foundations are challenged by Brexit, by the threat to the rule of law, by the silent erosion of free movement rights during the pandemic and the difficulty in achieving a coordinated approach to curb the spread of the virus.
By capturing, commenting on and cultivating the mood of the moment – the zeitgeist – this blog will reflect the research activities and expertise of the members of the ALL Institute and its local, European and global network of collaborators and friends. So, this blog is not an academic endeavour. It is a collective effort to create a community of values, and to channel dialogue and insight into the inevitable gaps that open up between personal experience, communities, technologies, practitioners, laws and social and physical structures that shape our lives – sometimes helpfully and sometimes not.
Through this blog, we want to share with you our work, our challenges, our successes, our doubts and to discuss the issues that we find meaningful and engaging. The posts will be organized into three inter-flowing streams:
- a social structures (policy & law) stream;
- a social lives (human behaviour) stream; and
- a social technologies stream.
We expect that some of the posts will raise more questions than answers. Others will advocate for change that will be resisted. We will not shy from controversy, although we will not court it. We hope to reflect on some old challenges, shed a light on new ones and feel our way in the dark of the unanticipated.
We have decided to include a new section in this blog that will gather emotions and insights into people’s real lives.
We will learn about people’s habits, ways of seeing and doing, perceptions, reactions to norms and power-relations. We will learn about life trajectories, transitions, and transformations during the course of a lifetime. We will also learn about turning points – critical moments in which people change their directions – where they take another pathway. In some we will learn about the way in which social structures, social lives, and social technologies impact on people’s every-day experiences and shape their contexts and their opportunities. We will have a broad range of authors who will bear responsibility for their own individual contributions to IdeasInALL. Our platform does not seek agreement among authors; we expect and accept difference, diversity and daring. And you are welcome to comment and write us about the posts.
This blog, then, is another way in which the ALL Institute seeks to contribute to approaching our most ambitious goal: the creation of a fairer and more inclusive society, for all.
The ALL Institute Directors
Deirdre Desmond, Delia Ferri and Mac MacLachlan