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Getting Things Changed: Final Report

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBristol
Publisher or commissioning bodyUniversity of Bristol
Number of pages52
DatePublished - 25 May 2018


‘Getting Things Changed’ was a large multi-centre
programme of UK based research in Disability Studies,
funded by the Economic and Social Research Council
between 2015-2018. It was led by a team at the
University of Bristol, with Disability Rights UK, the
National Development Team for Inclusion and partners
in three other universities.
• The research was fuelled by concerns that policy
and law do not always translate into practice. The
research demonstrated in specific detail that disabling
barriers have not been fully overcome by the Equality
Act 2010, for instance in public institutions such as
hospitals or universities. It was found that policy and
practice guidance such as that provided for the Mental
Capacity Act 2005 becomes re-shaped by everyday
• The scope of the research was wide, covering different
contexts including interactions with a personal
assistant, groups for people with dementia, music
education in special schools, TV and media, hospital
care, parenting support for parents with ‘learning
difficulties’ and co-commissioning carried out by
disabled people’s organisations. We wished to avoid
the trap of ‘othering’ practitioners in any of these
settings, and so we also conducted research within
the university, to put our own practices in the spotlight.
• The methodology used was diverse, and largely
qualitative, collecting data including auto-ethnography
and videos of naturally occurring interactions to
written surveys and interviews. 203 practitioners
and 245 disabled people took part in the research,
with impairments ranging from physical, sensory,
mental health issues, autism, learning disabilities and
dementia, and many multiple or complex impairments.
In this report, we have used the term ‘parents with
learning difficulties’ because these were people who
did not have a formal diagnosis. Elsewhere, we have
used the term ‘learning disabilities’. The term ‘disabled
people’ is meant to encompass anyone who faces
social barriers because of an impairment.
• The research was co-produced with disabled people
and their organisations, especially with Disability
Rights UK. Their viewpoints and input were central
both to the research design and to our findings. Half
of the core project team identified as disabled people,
and drew on their lived experience in the research.
Additionally, 18 disabled people took part in three coresearch
groups across the project, and others were
involved in advisory groups or direct action within the
work led by Disability Rights UK.

Additional information

This was the final report of a large programme of research, launched on May 25th 2018. Val Williams was the main author and editor, with contributions from a large team of researchers who took part in the project.

    Research areas

  • social practices; disability; change; social barriers; reasonable adjustments



  • Getting Things Changed: Final Report

    Rights statement: This is the final report for a large ESRC project. It was internally published at UOB.

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