Empowering people with disabilities without exploiting their workers

Thursday 19 July 2018

6.00pm - 7.30pm

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Ian Potter Auditorium, Kenneth Myer Building, 30 Royal Parade, The University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3010


Free, but bookings required

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In this lecture you will hear from Professor Tom Shakespeare – a leading disability expert in the UK and Europe – about his ground-breaking research with people with disabilities and support workers in the UK. He will talk about how new models of social care, that facilitate greater flexibility and freedom, empower people with disability while presenting new risks to workers as support work becomes increasingly insecure.

Professor Shakespeare’s research is of particular relevance to Australia. Because of the introduction to the NDIS, the disability workforce is one of the fastest growing sectors in Australia, and is becoming increasing casualised. At the same time, through individualised funding packages, people with disability now have unprecedented choice and control over the services and supports they receive.

The lecture will conclude with comments from leading activists from the sector commenting on the relevance of the UK’s experience for Australia.

Tom Shakespeare is visiting Australia as a guest of the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health and the Melbourne Disability Institute.

About Professor Shakespeare

Professor Tom Shakespeare is a medical sociologist with research interests in disability studies and the ethical aspects of genetics. He has had a long involvement with the disabled people’s movement in UK and internationally. He has also been active in arts and culture, and was a member of Arts Council England from 2003-2008. He is author of Disability Rights and Wrongs (2006) and co-authored The Sexual Politics of Disability (1996). He spent five years at the World Health Organization (WHO), where he developed the World Report on Disability (2011) and International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury (2013). He was also vice-chair of the WHO Ethics Review Committee. In the UK, he founded several disabled people’s organisations; is a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics; and a former member of Arts Council England. He has developed television documentaries and presents ‘A Point of View’ regularly on BBC Radio 4. He continues to consult to the World Bank, the WHO and other United Nations agencies.