Conversations About Activism and Change

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Independent Living Movement Ireland & Thirty Years of Disability Rights

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Disabled people are all too familiar with fighting to be included in society, but they also do not face their battle in isolation. We all know that real social change can only be brought about when people work together as a collective. But when we scratch beneath the surface, what does that mean? What are the ingredients of a strong disability movement?

Conversations about Activism and Change offers a collection of personal insights into the development of the Independent Living Movement in Ireland, to celebrate the organisation’s thirty years in existence.

Too often the lives and experiences of disabled people are portrayed by those deemed qualified to speak on their behalf. This book captures the voices of disabled activists themselves, and through their stories the triumphs and learning achieved through building the Irish disability movement come to the fore. Not only are these stories snapshots of the past, they can also provide a roadmap for disabled activists seeking guidance in continuing their activism journey into the future.

Eleven key activists from ILMI’s history, with different backgrounds and experiences, were asked to consider their role in building a disability movement. Although each story in this collection can be read as a standalone piece, there are a couple of common threads that can be pulled together, creating a people’s history of the Independent Living Movement in Ireland.

Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) was established as Ireland’s first Centre for Independent Living in 1992 by and for disabled people with the main aim that disabled people achieved Independent Living, choice and control over their lives and full participation in society as equal citizens. It works towards the removal of societal barriers that prevent active equal participation of disabled people, challenges the denial of people’s rights and promotes the philosophy of Independent Living.