MA in Sociology (Applied Social Research), University of Limerick, 2008. BSc in International Studies, the Open University, 2005.
Emma is a researcher and activist from County Tipperary, Ireland. She has worked for over 10 years in various teaching and learning support roles in schools and colleges in Ireland and Germany, and for over 8 years as a researcher in the area of disability rights. Her current research explores the participation of people with intellectual disabilities in public and political life and is funded by an Irish Research Council scholarship. Emma is a volunteer member of the National Platform of Self-Advocates’ inter-agency support team.
Research InterestsIntellectual disability rights; public and political participation; inclusive/ participatory action research; intersections of disability and reproductive rights.
PhD Research Topic: Emma’s doctoral research explores how Irish self-advocates promote the participation of people with intellectual disabilities in public and political life. The experiences of 11 self-advocates are followed as they negotiate the work of collective advocacy. Qualitative interviews and a variety of ethnographic and participatory research methods are used to expose the policies, practices and interactions that empower people with intellectual disabilities to participate meaningfully in public and political life. The barriers that remain demonstrate the need for expanded theories of participation to address the continuing battle that people with intellectual disabilities face in gaining access to the higher levels of decision-making.
The study is funded by an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland scholarship and is supervised by Dr Eilionóir Flynn.
Other Resarch Projects:
From 2012-2015 Emma was Research Assistant on Dr Nancy Salmon’s Marie Curie funded project ‘Moving Home,’ a series of 3 international case studies focused on people with intellectual disabilities moving from institutions to community living in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Nova Scotia, Canada. She also provided occasional support to the Research Active Programme and the work of the Inclusive Research Network.
At NUIG Emma was a volunteer on the ERC VOICES project, providing support to participants on workshop and conference days.
At UL, Emma’s minor thesis was a study of how constructions of the ‘model pupil’ impact on rural Irish secondary school girls’ perception of schooling, and how their experiences are informed and mediated by the dynamics of social class and gender. She graduated with first class honours.
- N Salmon, E García Iriarte, & EQ Burns, ‘Research Active Programme: A pilot inclusive research curriculum in higher education,’ International Journal of Research & Method in Education (2017) 40(2) 181-200.
- N Salmon, E Burns, C Callaghan, J Deegan, C Keaver, S Lee, ‘Stop motion video: mapping the stories of people with intellectual disabilities moving into community living,’ Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities (2014) 27(4) 376.
- N Salmon, E Burns, C Callaghan, J Deegan, C Keaver, S Lee, ‘Moving Home: self-advocates in Nova Scotia and Ireland leaving congregated settings for community living’, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities (2014) 27(4) 347.