Launch Event


The SPIRIT disability platform launch event took place on Wednesday 25th May.

SPIRIT Launch Report [opens as pdf]

Many thanks to all the speakers and attendees for making the day a great success! Please find the launch conference report in the link above. The videos of the speakers giving their presentations are also showcased further down this page. Here are some photographs from our launch and the presentations below:

The event brought together the latest evidence and good practice case studies of inclusive research with people with learning disabilities that is making an impact in their lives. Inclusive research involves co-production and innovative approaches to working with the very people that are typically the subjects of research. It sits at the heart of the SPIRIT disability platform and we were able to show how it can be used to inform change in disability support provision.

The SPIRIT launch event was designed to allow everyone attending time to meet new people, discuss ideas and think about how we can all make a difference. 


1. Introduction: Doing Research Inclusively

Andrew Power, Lecturer in Geography, University of Southampton and Melanie Nind, Professor of Education, University of Southampton

This was an opening talk about what inclusive research is, and how researchers have used it to give a voice to people with learning disabilities. It is about doing research with people not on them and not turning them into objects for other people to study. It is also about issues that really matter. The aim is to improve people’s lives and to treat people with respect.

Link to Presentation [downloads Powerpoint from website]:
Link to Video [opens a YouTube webpage]:

2. Getting Together and Supporting Each Other Through the Cutbacks: How peer-advocacy can help.

Andrew Power, Matthew King and Donna Evans. A presentation of findings from a recent University of Southampton study involving people with learning disabilities as co-researchers.  

Link to Presentation [downloads Powerpoint from website]:
Link to Video [opens a YouTube webpage]:

3. “This is how I want it!” People with Learning Disabilities enhancing self-assertiveness and self-determination. 

(May Østby, Marit Haugenes, Ole Magnus Oterhals,  Guro Fiskergård Werner, Magnus Sten, Camilla Høgstøyl  and Aud Elisabeth Witsø,  from ‘Its the way I like it!’ Project, Norway). A presentation on how people with learning disabilities can enhance their self-assertiveness and self-determination.

Link to Presentation [downloads Powerpoint from website]:

Link to Video [opens a YouTube webpage]:

4. Impact? ‘How personal budgets can work better for people with learning disabilities’ 

Val Williams at the Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies at Bristol.

Link to Presentation [downloads Powerpoint from website]:
Link to Video [opens a YouTube webpage]:


5. ‘What user-led organisations can do and why it is so important’

A presentation from Steve Strong from National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) and Tammy Flook, Gloucester Voices.

Link to Presentation [opens as PDF]:
Link to Video [opens a YouTube webpage]:


6. Robin Meader, graphic facilitator

Robin showcased his art at the end of the day which he had drawn to visually record the event. [Each opens as a PDF:]


7. Break-out discussion groups

Each session also included a break-out discussion group where we got attendees to think about and contribute to relevant issues during the days event.  Each table got flip-chart pages to record their discussion (below). Our full report tells you all about the main themes from the discussions.


How can communities and services help people with learning disabilities to live more inclusively and have more control over their lives? – A group’s efforts at answering this question in one of our discussion groups.

The event took place on Wednesday 25th May, 10am – 4pm, at UNITY 12 on Rose Road (home to SPECTRUM CIL), Southampton.

We also hosted an inclusive research participatory workshop by the Norway group at 12 noon on the 26th in the University for those interested in finding out more about the practicalities and some of the challenges of inclusive research with people with learning disabilities.