Building Relationships in Inclusive Research in Diverse Contexts

Chalachanová, Anna; Nind, Melanie; Power, Andy; Tilley, Elizabeth; Walmsley, Jan; Westergård, Britt-Evy; Ostby, May; Heia, Torill; Magne Gerhardsen, Alf; Magnus Oterhals, Ole and King, Matthew (2020). Building Relationships in Inclusive Research in Diverse Contexts. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 22(1) pp. 147–157.




This article explores relationships between academics and people with intellectual disabilities collaborating in inclusive research. The authors present and reflect upon narrative accounts from Norway and England from both sides of the relationship. Each relationship is examined, including how it was initiated, established, developed and sustained, what worked well, what the obstacles were and how any conflicts were approached. The concept of being an ‘alongsider’, working alongside each other (and alongside participants with intellectual disabilities) is used. The paper shows variety in how alongsider relationships are initiated and fostered over time. Mostly, partnerships were initiated informally, based on pre-existing relationships as friends or through support worker-client relationship or earlier research cooperation, although one was initiated through a formal selection process. The paper concludes that when building relationships over time, the personal dimension is important, including sharing an interest, mutual respect and liking each other, while funding and tight timelines can interfere.

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