Dr Miro Griffiths
- Position: Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow
- Areas of expertise: Disability Studies; Disability Policy; Resistance Movements; Activism and Social Movements; Youth Participation; Political Sociology; Inclusive Play (including accessible gaming); Assistive Technology
- Email: M.Griffiths1@leeds.ac.uk
- Location: 11.24 Social Sciences Building
- Website: Academia - Miro Griffiths | Twitter | LinkedIn | ORCID
I received an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Liverpool; my dissertation, “Self Perception: How Do Disabled Students Value Themselves?” was a comparative study applying psychological models to students with a diverse range of impairments and those considered non-disabled. This was followed up with a Masters in Disability Studies from the University of Leeds; the final piece of research, “The Responsibility of Direct Payments”, explored how young disabled people managed their support, with a particular focus on workforce issues and external guidance.
From January 2015 until January 2018, I worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and PhD Researcher at Liverpool John Moores University. The PhD investigated the following research questions:
- What constitutes young disabled people’s position in the Disabled People’s Movement (DPM)?
- How are people included and what is required to ensure participation within the DPM?
- What is the overall organisation of the DPM, including a commitment to specific values or ideas?
- What do people want to highlight and what requires addressing in order both to increase participation within the DPM and to ensure young people can influence the overall direction and agenda?
I've been involved in disability rights since the age of fourteen. I have collaborated with various organisations, human rights institutes and government departments on a wide range of issues pertaining to disability politics and social theory.
In May 2014, I was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) as recognition of my service to disabled people. As a member of the UK Disabled People’s Movement, I am aware of the necessary presence the people of the Movement have in order to raise awareness of key issues and work alongside those in decision-making positions to create positive change.
My understanding of disability issues was initially shaped by my own personal experience of having a physical impairment but is now complemented with a professional and academic background.
Theoretically, I am interested in historical/new materialism, radical structuralism and Foucauldian approaches to Disability. Methodologically, I am predominately interested in qualitative research; however, I have experience with quantitative (including SPSS) and mixed methods approaches. I am particularly interested in participatory and emancipatory research and research with disabled and young people.
In September 2022, I was awarded Sociologist of the Month by the International Sociological Association official Journal Current Sociology.
Over the years I have been invited to give Keynotes and Plenaries at numerous events - academic and non-academic. For example:
- Griffiths, M. (2014 December) “The Future of Activism and Grassroots Mobilisation”. International Congress on Disability and Human Rights, Liverpool.
- Griffiths, M. (2015 September) “Philosophy of Co-Production”. European Commission, Brussels.
- Griffiths, M. (2015 November) “Impact of Welfare Reform on Disabled People’s Lives”. 3rd Level Education Conference, Budapest.
- Griffiths, M. (2015 November) “The Importance of a Disabled People's Movement” Edward Rushton Social Justice Public Lecture, Liverpool.
- Griffiths, M. (2016 October) “Disability and Youth: Political Issues”. Norwegian Association of Youth with Disabilities, Oslo.
- Griffiths, M. (2017 February) “Politicisation of Disability, Methodologies and Historical Representations of Disabled People”. History of Place, Liverpool.
- Griffiths, M. (2017 March) “Social Justice, Education and Disabled Students”. Higher Education Academy (task group meeting on disabled students), Berlin.
- Griffiths, M. (2019 November) “Reimagining Disability Social Policy – What Needs To Happen?” Elkartuz International Congress, San Sebastian.
- Griffiths, M. (2021-May) "Self-Determination: A Journey Of Interdependency Not Self-Sufficiency". Erickson Third Edition International Conference on Disability and Adulthood, Online.
- Griffiths, M.and Heumann, J. (2021-November) "Disability Activism, Resistance, and Realising Inclusive Societies". College of St Benedict and St John's University, Minnesota.
- Griffiths, M. (2022-May) "Disabled Activist Visions for Inclusive Futures: Opportunities, Possibilities, and General Tensions". International Lecture Series on Youth Development, National Taipei University, Taipei.
- Griffiths, M. (2022-September) "Imagining Inclusive and Accessible Societies". European Network on Independent Living Freedom Drive, European Network on Independent Living, Brussels.
I have presented at numerous conferences. For example:
- Griffiths, M. (2017-April) “These Days Are Ours: Exploring Young Disabled People’s Experiences Of Activism and Participation in Social Movements”. Alternative Futures and Popular Protest, Manchester.
- Griffiths, M. (2017-April) “Power Dynamics within Social Movements: How They Affect Young People’s Participation”. British Sociological Association Conference, Manchester.
- Griffiths, M. (2017-August) “Exclusion Is a Choice: the Marginalisation of Disabled People in Higher Educational Institutions”. National Union of Students Annual Services Conference, Liverpool.
- Griffiths, M. (2017-September) “Building from a Human Rights and Social Justice Foundation”. European Association for International Education, Liverpool.
- Caleb-Solley, P. and Griffiths, M. (2017-October) “Will New Technology Offer Greater Agency and Presence for Disabled People?” Brave, Poor and Invisible: Gatekeepers of Past and Future Cities, Bristol.
- Griffiths, M. (2017-December) “The Need to Radically Change Disability Assessments”. Royal Society of Arts, Liverpool.
- Griffiths, M. (2018-January) “Impact of EU Exit upon Children and Young People”, Children’s Rights Forum, Liverpool.
- Griffiths, M. (2018-March) “Unity and Diversity: the Position of Disabled People in Brexit Negotiations.” Worldwide Wednesday Conference, Liverpool.
- Griffiths, M. (2019-August) “These Days Are Ours: Exploring Young Disabled People’s Experiences of Activism and Participation in UK Disabled People’s Movement (DPM)”. European Sociological Association, Manchester.
- Griffiths, M. (2020-October) "Archiving Activism: Young Disabled People's Views and Experiences of the Role of Archives in UK Disabled People's Movement". European Sociological Association Mid-Term Conference of the Political Sociology Research Network, Online.
- Griffiths, M. (2022-November) " Conceptualising the Future of UK Disability Activism through Utopian, Retrotopian, and Heterotopian Configurations". European Sociological Association Mid-Term Conference of the Political Sociology, Lausanne.
Since 2007, I have worked as a Human Rights Adviser. Current and former responsibilities include:
I have completed two terms (2006-2013) as a member of Equality 2025: joining as North West Representative when it was initially launched, I became Deputy Chair midway through my second term. I also represented the United Kingdom Government at the signing ceremony for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
European Network on Independent Living Project/Policy Adviser – Work to expand awareness of ENIL’s work in the European Parliament, coordinate development of documentation and deliver trainings and seminars across Europe, and voice concerns and expectations of disabled people and promote Independent Living values.
Government Adviser – Working closely to ensure that those people who use services are included in the design, delivery, and development of services they receive and the underlying policies; to advise on engagement strategies, and to work on short- and long-term programmes of social and health care, and access to employment.
Guest Lecturer – Advise universities on their module development; lecture at numerous universities in the north-west of England, and run seminars and small discussions with students (undergraduate and postgraduate programmes: Occupational Therapy, Social Work, Nursing, Medicine, Business Studies, Sociology).
British Council – sit on the advisory panel for disability issues within the British Council; provide interviews and ‘think-pieces’ for the British Council’s global audience; work on international projects and attend events on sharing good practice.
Equality and Human Rights Commission – providing constructive challenge to the EHRC executive, with clear and evidence-based advice; supporting the EHRC’s approach to engaging with stakeholders; providing intelligence on emerging issues and issues of concern relating to disability, to inform the EHRC’s work programme and approach; and expert advice to the EHRC’s UN Treaty monitoring function.
National Co-production Advisory Group (Think Local, Act Personal) – Provide presentations on personalised care and support to local authorities, commissioners, and government departments; sit on advisory boards within Social Care in Excellence and promote Think Local, Act Personal work priorities.
- Supervisor and Module Convenor
- Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Studies
- Member on Research Ethics Committee for the Faculties of Business, Environment and Social Sciences
My PhD research explored young disabled people's experience and views of the UK Disabled People's Movement. Accounts by prominent disabled activists, reinforced by literature from Disability Studies, states that the Disabled People's Movement is in crisis and there are questions regarding its diversity, sustainability, and effectiveness. The thesis highlights challenges encountered by young disabled people as they participate in and engage with the Movement. The thesis argues that for the Movement to remain committed to the social model of disability and accessible to young disabled people, it needs to provide young members and newcomers with the resources and support to implement a futurologist approach in order to offer a vision for a new and inclusive society. To achieve this, the social model should be repositioned from a tool/strategy and recognised as an "oppositional device" (as suggested by Beckett and Campbell 2015) that provides counter-rationalities and disrupts the normative practices inherent in the present political, economic, and cultural realms. The thesis predicts that if this were not to happen, the challenges identified will intensify: young disabled people will disengage from the Movement, leading to its occupation by individuals who will undermine or reject the social model of disability.
Seventeen interviews were conducted with disabled people who were either already involved or had a keen interest in the Disabled People's Movement (eleven young disabled people and six established figures within the Movement). An emancipatory disability research design was used, ensuring that the research was founded on the social model of disability. Drawing on literature from Social Movement Studies, the research argues that the DPM is an affective movement able to produce radical change by supporting young disabled people to mobilise and explore the materialities that dominate young people's lives. If the Movement is committed to including young disabled people, then it must assist young disabled people to make sense of the cascade of events that continuously reproduce their actions and behaviours, as well as supporting them in documenting how, where, and what they want to resist.
I have been involved in a number of Research Grants. For example:
- Leverhulme Trust (Early Career Fellowship) - Disability Activism in Europe: Young Disabled Activists Views and Experiences (2020-2024). [Principal Investigator] https://disabilityactivism.leeds.ac.uk/
- National Lottery Heritage Fund – National Disability Movement Archive and Collection (2023-2026). [Project Adviser]
- Economic and Social Research Council and Health Foundation – Improving Adult Care Together (2022-2027). [Chair, Project Advisory Team]
- National Lottery Heritage Fund – Disability and the Home (2022-2023). [Co-Investigator]
- European Commission (Horizon 2020) - PReparedness against CBRNE threats through cOmmon Approaches between security praCTItioners and the VulnerablE civil society (2019-2022). [Project Adviser]
- Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning - Reasonable Adjustments and Their Effectiveness in Education and Training Post Equality Act 2010 (2018-2019). [Co-Supervisor]
- Council of Europe (Directorate General of Democracy) - Study Session Programme: Active Citizenship and Political Participation of Young Disabled People (2017-2018). [Co-Principal Lead]
- European Commission (Justice and Consumers) - Building Capacity to Monitor Hate Crime and Hate Speech through Online Training (2017-2018). [Co-Investigator]
- European Commission (Social Affairs) – Three Year Framework Partnership Agreement (2014-2018). [Co-Principal Investigator on Disability Hate Crime; Analysis on Commission Workplan; Building Coalitions and Partnerships]
- Council of Europe (Directorate General of Democracy) - Study Session Programme: Sexuality and Relationships as Integral to Disabled People’s Social Inclusion (2015-2016). [Co-Principal Lead]
- European Commission (Lifelong Learning Programme) - European Core Learning Outcomes for Integration of Support and Housing (2014-2015). [Co-Principal Investigator]
- Council of Europe (Directorate General of Democracy) - Study Session Programme: Future Leaders of the Independent Living Movement (2011-2012). [Co-Principal Lead]
- Erasmus Plus (Leonardo) - Professional Partnership for Inclusive Education (2010-2012). [Co-Investigator]
- PhD Sociology
- MA Disability Studies
- BSc (Hons) Psychology
- Associate Fellow Higher Education Academy
- Member of the British Sociological Association and involved in the Work Group on Disability
- Member of the Liverpool City Region Fairness and Social Justice Advisory Board
- Member of the International Independent Living Research Network
- Managing Editor for the Journal of Disability Studies in Education
At postgraduate level, I teach in the area of Disability Studies, in particular, Disability Theory, Disability Politics and Research Methods. I also teach in areas of Social Policy Analysis.
At undergraduate level, I contribute to team-taught modules, where I introduce students to Disability Studies and International Policy. I also contribute to teaching on Education, Social Movement Studies, and Sociological Theory.
Research groups and institutes
- Centre for Disability Studies
- Leeds Social Science Institute