Tackling disabling practices: co-production and change

  • Abbott, David W F (Researcher)
  • Dowling, Sandra F (Researcher)
  • Farmer, Elaine (Researcher)
  • Gall, Marina R Y (Researcher)
  • Heslop, Pauline (Researcher)
  • Mason, Victoria Ann (Researcher)
  • Merchant, Wendy E (Researcher)
  • Porter, Susan M (Researcher)
  • Read, Stuart A (Researcher)
  • Reynolds, Nicola (Researcher)
  • Steel, Mike (Researcher)
  • Sturdy, Andrew J (Researcher)
  • Tarleton, Beth (Researcher)
  • Turney, Danielle (Researcher)
  • Webb, Joseph C. (Researcher)
  • Sass, Bernd (Researcher)
  • Turner, Sue (Collaborator)
  • Hatton, Chris (Collaborator)
  • Antaki, Charles (Collaborator)
  • Kitzinger, Celia (Collaborator)
  • Blue, Stanley (Collaborator)
  • Hicks, Lucy J (Principal Investigator)

Project Details


Getting Things Changed (Tackling Disabling Practices: Co-production and Change) is a three year research study funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) in the UK. The project started in April 2015.
The purpose of this research is to understand what is needed to tackle some of the well-known barriers faced by disabled people in the UK. In order to do that, we want to dig down to the level of practice, recognising that top-down policies do not always work, when social practices are entrenched. Although the UK is a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), these rights are not always reflected in practice. We aim therefore to identify different theoretical ways of envisaging change, including importantly the ways in which disabled people can co-produce change through their own actions.

The objectives that cut through the whole project are to:
identify the barriers facing disabled people in the UK, and understand better how social practices get ‘stuck’;
discuss and connect micro and macro theories of social practice, by applying them within the field of disability;
explore disabled people’s own solutions, and understand better the conditions under which ‘co-production’ can have an effect on practice;
develop detailed understanding of how organisations and practices can be shifted, on the terms of disabled people themselves;
recommend what can be done by disabled people, practitioners and policy makers to tackle the injustices experienced by disabled people.

Layman's description

It is based at Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Bristol, and led by Val Williams. Our work also involves key partners including Disability Rights UK (DRUK) and we have partners at Loughborough University, Lancaster University and the University of York, as well as the National Development Team for Inclusion. See more about our Partners and Contacts.

Our three year research study started in April 2015, and is funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC) in the UK. The study responds to the widespread concerns about the problems faced by disabled people, in many different areas of their lives. There is often a gap between policy and practice, and we aim to understand more about social practices, so that we know about how to shift and change them to include disabled people.‌

The study actively involves disabled people within the research, particularly through the partnership with DRUK.

There are five empirical strands in the research, all led by a different co-investigator (CI), and one of those strands is based at DRUK in London. The strands are brought together through workshops, and other forms of ongoing communication, to discuss ideas and theories about change, and how they apply to the research evidence, and each of the strands has some intervention work built into the research at different points.

We hope to take the conversation wider, and to include many different voices in this project as we go along. If you or your organisation are interested to take part, you can contact us.

AcronymGetting Things Changed
Effective start/end date1/04/1531/05/18


  • Economic and Social Research Council: £1,113,947.00

Structured keywords

  • SPS Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies
  • PolicyBristol


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