Tuesday, 11 November 2014

An important and exciting project!

My name is Tom Porter, and I am the newly appointed UEA Research Associate working on the ESRC funded project ‘Personal assistance relationships and disabled people: a qualitative study of emotions, ethics and power’. Over the coming months we will use this blog to give you an insight into the work we’re doing – the types of research methods the study employs, the progress being made with data collection and analysis, and eventually, key findings from this study.  

Prior to this project, I was undertaking doctoral studies at Keele University. During this time, my research looked at the ways in which older people living with multiple chronic conditions experience support, assistance and co-operation from friends, family and the wider community. I have also been involved in research which looked at the experience of people living with dementia in residential care, and more recently, a project which explored the role of social support in the lives of older people living with HIV.  Throughout these projects, a common thread has always been the ways in which disabled people and people living with illness work together, assist one another, and co-operate with their wider social networks. It goes without saying that I am keen to extend this academic interest into the domain of personal assistance relationships. More importantly though, I am excited, and determined, to help deliver a project which contributes towards improving personal assistance relationships, and furthers the choice and control disabled people have over their lives.

Having arrived in Norwich just over a week ago, from a personal point of view, the potential and value of this research project is really beginning to hit home! My immediate feelings are those of excitement and enthusiasm. I have been impressed by the fact that disabled people are to be at the core of this project, and I’m really pleased to be working in a research team which share the ideals of self-determination for, and empowerment of, people living with disability. The coming months are going to be extremely busy, and I look forward to keeping you informed about any major developments through this blog.

Tom Porter.