Zine by young disabled activists one of many outputs of research project

A zine published by the University of Leeds captures the imaginings and creativities of young disabled individuals, as they envision what an accessible and inclusive society would look like.

The zine is just one of the many outputs from the research project ‘Disability Activism in Europe: Young Disabled Activist's Views and Experiences’, led by Dr Miro Griffiths from the School of Sociology. The University of Leeds and the Leverhulme Trust funded project provides insight into the contributions made by young disabled activists to disability politics, the barriers that limit their participation, and their vision for the future of disability activism.

The research included the design, development, and publication of the one issue zine. Twenty-three zine libraries, from across the globe have accepted a hardcopy to store in their archive. A digital copy remains available to online audiences.

(The zine) urges us to organise societies that celebrate the diverse ways our bodies function and our minds process information. These societies should accommodate the requirements necessary for all communities to participate. They should be formed on the principle that: All. Are. Welcome.

Dr Miro Griffiths

In addition to the zine, there have been six published journal articles, six book chapters and six magazine and blog publications, as a result of this Leverhulme-funded project.

Translating research

Further outputs include an accompanying documentary film to be released at the end of the year, a monograph published by Routledge in 2025 and a series of podcast interviews with young people. Also planned is a series of workshops for winter 2024, with the aim of creating a charter for change around youth and disability.

The research highlights the need for not only large-scale research of this kind to provide accurate insights into disability studies, but also investment into engaging with the general public. Through the use of creative media like film and zines, Miro is able to translate his research into an inclusive format and share his knowledge and expertise with a wider audience.

Highlighting the significance of the project, Head of School of Sociology and Social Policy, Professor Karen Throsby commented:

I have been aware throughout the fellowship of Miro’s important and timely work on disability activism in Europe, but it is only when you see it all collated in this final report that we can truly appreciate how much he has achieved. By any measure, this is an impressive set of outputs.

Dr Miro Griffiths

Miro is particularly interested in disabled people's resistance practices and how disabled people understand and engage in disability politics.

Alongside his research, Miro works with disabled people's organisations, human rights institutions, and government departments to support disabled people's participation within society, acting as an adviser to the UK Government Department of Health and Social Care and Department of Work and Pensions as well as disability policy adviser to the European Commission.

Miro’s work encapsulates University of Leeds rich heritage in bringing together researchers, policymakers and third-sector organisations and people from around the world to address major societal challenges – in this case, political, economic, social, and cultural challenges affecting disabled people’s communities.

He is a Co-director of the Centre for Disability Studies, an interdisciplinary network of researchers from across the University of Leeds. Members are united by their commitment to carrying out research and teaching that helps to achieve equality and social justice for disabled people, globally.

Miro will be a keynote speaker at the new biennial Disability Studies Conference which takes place 3–5 September 2024 at the University of Leeds campus.

Read more about the Disability Activism in Europe project here.