Big Society, Disability and Civil Society Research

Website for ESRC research project 'Big Society? Disabled People with Learning Disabilities and Civil Society'

Sharing Big Society findings and Community Psychology at the University of Nottingham in Malaysia

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Today Rebecca Lawthom represented the Big Society team to present a public seminar at the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia campus. The event, which was widely publicised throughout KL and Malaysia, was attended by over 30 people included academics, practitioners, NGOs (including Malaysia Care), students and members of public. The seminar entitled ‘Using Community Psychology and Disability Studies for Social Justice’ asked can we be humane in humane times? The changing times, whether austerity measures, here in the UK or globalisation more widely entail big changes for the way we think about and do research. In this talk, Rebecca presented the benefit of working with and through others in a collective approach. She drew on her communities of inquiry to help address the questions of human beings and being humane in opposition to locating ‘revolting subjects’. She used ideas of community of practice, community psychology,disability studies, and co-production to explore this. The seminar drew on research around disability and inclusion, migrant workers, and community organising:  How might we collectively think about the communities we work with and live in to secure a future with social justice? In the second part of the seminar, Rebecca presented findings from the Big Society project and concluded with a facilitated discussion around inclusion issues in Malaysia. Rebecca said ‘It was an engaged and stimulating workshop where we shared ideas around circles of support that might work well in a Malaysian context in terms of accessing existing communities of practice. This mirrored and supports discussions and shared ideas that emerged at the event on the 28th March in the University of Malaya – so it was great to see how these early points of connection were picked up on again at the end of this trip’

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