Intersectional and Collaborative Approach
To achieve its vision and mission, IRIS is committed to an intersectional approach. In this context, intersectionality means that we understand both the distinctiveness of the experience of intellectual disability and how this ‘intersects’ with other social locations people with intellectual disabilities live within. It means that experiences and patterns of marginalization and vulnerability affecting people with an intellectual disability have threads of commonality with other groups who have been marginalized, i.e. other disabilities especially psychosocial disability Indigenous racialized, immigrant and refugee people, class, sexual and gender identity, etc. Moreover, people with an intellectual disability may identify and be identified, by these other social identities, e.g. as a Somali refugee, an Inuit person, etc.
Thus, collaborative work with these groups is essential to understand the deeper patterns of social and economic exclusion and to develop and implement fully inclusive approaches to law, policy and practice reforms. Our research and development process is dedicated to nurturing understanding, partnership and solidarity across these differences in order to help lay foundations for comprehensive social change.
IRIS has developed a number of collaborations in Canada and internationally, including:
- Canada – Centre for Citizenship and Inclusion (UBC); Disability Studies (Ryerson University)
- U.S.A. – Open Societies Foundations; Centre for Public Representation (Northhampton, MA)
- Europe – Bulgarian Centre for Not-for-Profit Law; Mental Health and Justice Initiative, UK supported by the Wellcome Trust Foundation; Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland, Galway
- Peru – SODES – Sociedad y Discapacidad (Lima)
- Colombia – PAIIS – Programa de Acción por la Igualdad y la Inclusión (Universidad de los Andes)
- Zambia – Zambia Federation of Disabled Persons Organizations; Mental Health Users Network of Zambia; Faculty of Law, University of Zambia (Lusaka)
Partnering with other institutes allows us to produce:
- Collaborative initiatives leading to global solutions
- Knowledge networks in key areas – legal capacity, inclusive community development, violence prevention and response