Utrecht University: Launch network Accessible Academia

Working and/or studying at university is not as obvious if you have a disability. Facilities are often inadequate, or there has not been thought about the possible presence of disabled people. For example, disabled people face all kinds of problems such as inaccessible lecture halls, unequal digital accessibility and unfeasible timetabling. To address such problems and improve the position of disabled people at universities, an interuniversity platform for and by disabled staff members and students has now been established. In addition to advocacy, Accessible Academia provides a space for exchanging experiences, organises events, promotes experience-driven research on disability and amplifies the voices of disabled academics.

With this platform, we want to make the voices of disabled staff members and students heard and strengthen our position

Maranke Wieringa
Maranke Wieringa, who works at Utrecht University, underlines the need for such a platform. “There are already many university platforms that put the issue of disability on the agenda, but now we’re making the inter-university transition. For PhD students and female professors, there are organisations such as the Promovendi Netwerk Nederland and the Dutch Network of Women Professors. With this platform, we want to make the voices of disabled staff and students heard and strengthen our position.”

In line with the adage ‘nothing about us without us’ Accessible Academia was set up for and by people with physical and mental disabilities, sensory impairments, chronic illnesses, cognitive impairments and neurodivergence.

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