Creating a better world to support individuals with a disability.
10 Women to follow on Accessibility and Inclusion
Sarah Lewthwaite (PhD, FRSA) is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton’s Centre for Research in Inclusion where she leads a major new UK Research and Innovation study ‘Teaching Accessibility’ as Future Leaders Fellow and Principal Investigator.
Sarah and her team are researching the teaching and learning of digital accessibility in universities and the workplace, to build an evidence-based understanding of how accessibility can be taught more effectively.
The 4-year study received over £650,000 from UKRI and seeks to forge new collaborations and dialogue between universities and industry. Sarah has a background in inclusive education, a PhD in disability and social media, and 15 years of research experience spanning HCI, accessibility, education and disability studies.
Angharad Butler-Rees is a Senior Research Assistant at the University of Southampton and is a co-investigator on the ‘Teaching Accessibility’ study. Angharad has a longstanding interest in disability issues, having worked for Leonard Cheshire Disability and UCAN Productions (creative art co-operative for blind and partially sighted young people).
Angharad’s interest in digital accessibility has been driven in part by her personal experiences of encountering barriers to technology as someone with a visual impairment, and further fuelled through her previous research in developing accessible Apps for blind and visually impaired people. Angharad is also in the final stages of completing her PhD, which explores the lives of individuals involved in disability activism at a time of austerity.
Caroline Casey is an award-winning social entrepreneur, Ashoka Fellow and Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. She was diagnosed with ocular albinism as a child, which makes her registered blind.
Caroline was not aware of the severity of her condition until her 17th birthday and she hid her disability from the world until 2001. At that point she quit her job at Accenture and trekked across India on elephant back for 1,000km, raising money for The National Council for the Blind of Ireland and Sightsavers.
Last year at World Economic Forum In Davos Caroline Casey Officially launched the Valuable500. One Year on we interview her as she returns to Davos to report on the progress that she has made to get global business leaders to engage on the topic of disability.
Christine is co-founder and Managing Director of Open Inclusion. She ensures that the client’s business objectives are understood, managed and fully met through great collaboration, clear focus, prioritisation and an uncompromising eye for quality and practical usability of work produced.
Christine has a background of over 20 years in designing and making products, services, teams or businesses, or making them better. The last 5 years have been solely focussed on customer and workplace inclusion, digital design and inclusive brand experiences.
She loves looking for, building and empowering the best team to support clients embed inclusion so effectively we are no longer required! Then finding and engaging new clients where we can add significant value and do it again. Each time widening the circles of inclusion and deepening business and user benefits.
She works closely with the research team, regularly engaging with our panel or other user groups to better understand how diverse customers really experience brands. This informs our work with clients to improve the experiences for all: tactically through product improvements and more strategically, building role-based awareness, tools and skills. As an economist by training and human-centred designer by practice, she also leads the economic value research for Open, assisting our clients to understand the potential financial benefits of more inclusive approaches.
When not managing the growth and delivery quality of Open, she can generally be found in a café with her husband, kids or friends or on a mountain cycling, running or skiing some Alpine trail.
Anna Dixon is the Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, an independent charitable foundation that brings about change for people in later life today and for future generations.
Anna joined Ageing Better from the Department of Health where she was Director of Strategy and Chief Analyst.
As Director of Policy at The King’s Fund she led work on health system reforms, regulation, patient choice, self-management of long term conditions and the future of health and social care in England.
Anna began her career with the European Observatory on Health Care Systems. In 2003–2004 she worked as a policy analyst in the Department of Health Strategy Unit.
Anna was previously Lecturer in European Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2005–6 she was awarded a Harkness Fellowship in Health Policy by the Commonwealth Fund of New York.
She has a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Abi James is a researcher of assistive technology and digital accessibility and senior accessibility consultant at AbilityNet. Diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of nine, Abi has used computers and technology to help her succeed throughout her education and in employment. Her work at AbilityNet focusses on helping organisations such as schools, universities, public sector bodies and companies to create websites and apps that are accessible and inclusive for everyone. She also works closely with policymakers and researchers to understand how assistive technology can be used effectively within the education system and the role standards and regulation play in improving access to a digital society for all users. She is Chair of the British Dyslexia Association Technology Committee and collaborates with the University of Southampton to identify best practices for supporting assistive technology and accessible content including contributing to the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative.
Clare Kennelly is the founder and principal consultant at Inclusive Cork. A graduate of UCC with a BA in Spanish and Sociology and Higher Diploma in Education. She worked for 26 years in varying teaching roles: TEFL, post-primary, further and third-level education. In all these roles she worked with students with varying disabilities and noticed even though they were succeeding in education, they met obstacles when looking for work placement and employment. Clare is vision impaired and is personally and professionally passionate about disability employment inclusion and universal design. She is the presenter of the DisruptAbility podcast which is an educational and information platform for employers, employees, professionals and parents/guardians to highlight the barriers and opportunities for employing people with disabilities in Irish society and beyond. Clare’s professional goal is to make Cork a leader in Inclusion.
Judy Singer is an Australian sociologist. She is recognized as being instrumental in the development of the concept of Neurodiversity while an honours student at the University of Technology Sydney in 1997–8.
Her study was the first sociological work to inquire into the social context of the emergence of a new kind of disability, the “Autistic Spectrum”. In her work, Judy anticipated the emergence of a “Politics of Neurodiversity”.
Her research was based on her experiences “in the middle of 3 generations of women somewhere on the ‘Spectrum’”, and on her membership of early Asperger groups as a participant-observer.
Being unable to get recognition for her work in Australia, Judy abandoned academia and put her energies into grassroots organizing around her family’s support needs. Online, she founded the world’s first support group for the (adult) children of autistic parents. In Sydney, Judy co-founded ASteen, Sydney’s only family-run social club for Asperger teenagers, and devoted herself to advocacy for public housing and social security rights.
Professor Amanda Kirby is unusual, as she is a General Practitioner, experienced researcher, clinician and most importantly a parent of a neurodiverse adult and has many family members who are neurodiverse.
This provides her with an understanding of neurodiversity and co-occurrence from differing perspectives and a drive to raise awareness and champion best practices.
More than 20 years ago she set up The Dyscovery Centre, an interdisciplinary centre of health and educational professionals because of her personal experiences. She is a professor at the University of South Wales and lectured to more than 100,000 individuals worldwide, written over 100 research papers and 9 books which have been translated into more than 5 languages. Her books include: ‘How to Succeed in Employment with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Autism and ADHD’ and How to Succeed in College and University with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Autism and ADHD’.
Amanda has been an advisor to the Department of Works and Pensions on neurodiversity( www.neurodiversityemployment.org.uk) and is the chair of Movement Matters (the UK umbrella organization for DCD/Dyspraxia). She also is an advisor to a number of organisations supporting people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Dyslexia and DCD in the UK and New Zealand.
Amanda is now the CEO of Do-IT Solutions, a tech-for-good company. They have developed a unique person-centred computer profiling system used to help map strengths and challenges and used in schools, universities, apprenticeships, colleges, employment, offending and into-work settings in the UK and internationally(www.doitprofiler.com). She recently launched the ND App to help adults to gain practical guidance to maximise their talents and minimize challenges. The company has been recognized with a number of accolades including finalist at ‘Pitch at the Palace’, One of Wales ‘Digital Dozen’, and winner of the Urban Challenge, and most recently won a Barclays award for social entrepreneur.
Orla Pearson is a director of MyClearText Ltd, trading in both the UK and in Ireland.
Orla trained to be a stenographer in Bray, working in London in the court's system before embarking on a long career at the BBC in 1994. In 2001 Orla was promoted to Assistant Producer in BBC Access Services and worked as part of the management team which delivered to the BBC 5% live subtitled programmes, then 50% and 100% over a period of six years. Managing a team of 22 stenographers and 10 assistants, Orla oversaw the allocation of over 20 hours of live subtitling per day across all the BBC channels and Channel 4 and 24-hour news channels. With a whole range of new programmes to be live subtitled Orla wrote many essential guides to live subtitling different subject matter covering style and content and is still being used on sports output across BBC, Sky, BT Sport sports output and Channel 4, including light entertainment and big event programmes.
In 2010 the BBC sold off the subtitling department to a private company, Orla took the opportunity to take redundancy and freelancing for new suppliers for a few years. In 2012, with colleague Elaine McCarthy, MyClearText was born. Offering high-quality subtitles directly to deaf and hard of hearing people but also live subtitling at events for companies wanting to be accessible to a wider audience of both deaf people and the millions of others who use subtitles to enhance their understanding of the spoken word. The company has grown from strength-to-strength with an extensive client list. MyClearText is known for its high-quality writers and expertise in delivering live subtitles at events and meetings. We always work to build relationships with clients, to work with companies to develop and widen their live captioning offer to their employees and clients by showing them what is possible and the wider benefits to everyone.
Orla is responsible for all new business and client relationships and coordinates the onsite events and the technical side of the business.