I talk about this project as being “with groups of persons with disabilities.” That description is good for quickly communicating the idea, but it is also problematic. When I am doing the communication, it comes across as Shaun (an individual) together with groups (nameless, faceless collectives).
There are genuine and legitimate reasons that the people involved in this project are identified in the manner above. The project, as described in this blog, really was developed by me, as an individual. According to the conventions of research ethics, the researcher must be identifiable while the participants (who are researched) remain anonymous. But must things continue this way?
I have always wanted this project to be a collaborative effort, at very least a collaboration in which people with disabilities have some power to determine the way that the project unfolds. Through the dissertation phase, collaboration was difficult, in part because a dissertation is designed to emphasize the individual contribution of the student researcher. How will things be different in this phase? That remains to be seen.
Regardless as to whether the project evolves into a more collaborative leadership structure, it is likely that this blog remains written in my voice. And here we have an internal inconsistency that I think is necessary for me to own: although there are many aspects of my work that I seek to do together with others, there are also some things that I need to do myself, as an individual.
This blog is therefore written about a project (shared, hopefully) by one individual involved with that project (me).
If it so happens that the project would benefit from an internet-based communication platform written by a collective or other individuals, a new platform will be created for that purpose. If so, will surely be linked from here (and this paragraph will be modified to suit!).
In the meantime, this blog is written in my voice, that of Shaun Cleaver, a white Canadian. A heterosexual cisgender man with no reported disabilities. A 30-something year old physiotherapist. A holder of other types of self-declared identity that become tedious to list, and a vessel for other identities ascribed to him. A person with extensive formal education in a position to self-fund his involvement in this phase of the project without being employed.
The individual beyond being the professional and the academic – to the extent that this person exists – is not currently available on social media.