Prof Sara Ryan Inaugural Professorial Lecture - 15 June 2022
From Chris Wills
This is a recording of Professor Sara Ryan's Inaugural Professorial Lecture, titled "How the hell did we get here and what are we going to do about it? Learning disability and the lingering stain of assumption-based practice". This took place at Brooks Building on 15 June 2022. The lecture is introduced by Dr Jenny Fisher, Head of the Department of Social Care and Social Work.
20 years after the White Paper Valuing People was launched by the UK government with the aim of enabling people with learning disabilities to live ‘full and purposeful lives in their communities’, the estimated 1 million adults with learning disabilities in this country continue to experience entrenched inequalities. Life expectancy has worsened in the last two decades and less than 6% of people are in paid employment. There is a body of evidence demonstrating what is important to people - relationships, employment, and acceptance - and a consistent failure to achieve this.
In this lecture Prof Ryan takes a whistle-stop tour through the academic, activist, and personal, to demonstrate how assumptions, rather than evidence, underpin so much of what is wrong.
Sara Ryan is a social scientist and scholar activist. Her work focuses on learning disability, autism and inequalities.