Webinar Report: Disability and Inclusion in Science Spaces

Our speakers discussed true inclusion in research environments, through working together to address the challenges that researchers with disabilities and/or chronic pain face in the world of science.
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In this eLife Ambassadors event, our speakers gave insights into the challenges that researchers with disabilities and/or chronic pain face in the world of research. This event was held to enable our eLife Ambassadors, Open Science Champions and the eLife Community to become true allies in hearing the experiences that disabled people and people with disabilities and chronic pain continue to experience. This event facilitated our community to understand the lack of disability awareness in academia, to become aware of the language around disability and how you should always ask, and how to see and stop ableism. Our attendees reflected and brainstormed on what we can do as a global group to make an equitable and inclusive environment that benefits all researchers and, as a result, research itself.

Our speakers included:

Vivian Rath, (he/him), PhD - Research Officer and Lecturer, TCD, Ireland, & AHEAD-RAPP, Disability Equality & Human Rights Advocate.

Vivian Rath (he/him), PhD - Research Officer and Lecturer, TCD, Ireland, & AHEAD-RAPP, Disability Equality & Human Rights Advocate. Vivian introduced us to his experiences and insights into disabled students’ social engagement and the need to have an active disabled student voice in higher education that contributes to meaningful decision-making. Through discussing ableism in academia, how change can be brought about by awareness events and establishing a structure to hear the Disabled Voice, Vivian clearly laid out steps to allyship.

Jazmin Scarlett (she/her), PhD - Volcanologist, Senior Research Associate, University of East Anglia, UK

Jazmin Scarlett (she/her), PhD - Volcanologist, Senior Research Associate, University of East Anglia, UK. Jazmin was not able to attend the event live as she was attending a conference, but sent us her prerecorded talk on her experience and the challenges she faces as a researcher with a chronic physical disability. Her advice for a more inclusive environment in academia is to listen and believe people when they inform you of their experiences, and importantly to not remove opportunities created during the pandemic, such as virtual events and online options.

Amy Hassett (she/her) - PhD student, Neuroscience, University College Dublin, Ireland

Amy Hassett (she/her) - PhD student, Neuroscience, University College Dublin, Ireland; a disability advocate and a co-chairperson of Disabled Women Ireland (DWI). Amy discussed the use of language around disability and why reasonable accommodations matter. Through sharing her experiences, Amy has given us a comprehensive insight into understanding the impact of including her in the decision-making process and how ‘what seems like a reasonable accommodation for a disabled person is actually something that benefits us all’.

The webinar was followed by a Q&A and discussion, moderated by eLife Community Manager Ailís O’Carroll, where participants asked how they can become better allies to create a more inclusive and accessible global research community.

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Interested in our full selection of webinars on topics such as preprints, finding funding and more? Take a look at the collection of past reports and recordings.