The Importance of Collaboration: Valuing the Expertise of Disabled People Through Social Confluence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Higher Education is known to privilege certain knowledge and expertise, often prioritising ableist forms of communicating and being (Dolmage, 2017). This chapter argues for recognition of an alternative conception of expertise: standpoint epistemology (Kapp, 2019), the expertise and insight gained through the lived experience of disablement. Individuals with learning disabilities may be infrequently employed as lecturers or experts in higher education but have much insight and expertise to share (Greenstein et al., 2015). While coproduced, emancipatory and inclusive research is gladly increasing in prominence, a parallel dimension of teaching practice is under-researched. This chapter presents a brief case study which illustrates how disabled school pupils and disabled actors were enabled to contribute expertise to modules where university students were to learn about diversity and inclusive practice. No amount of deliberate practice (Ericsson et al., 2006) could develop such expertise in a non-disabled academic. Therefore, this project enabled students to “learn with and by, rather than about [disability]” (Laes and Westerlund, 2018, p. 34) from relevant experts. It is proposed that this disruption of the notion of academics as experts and the politics of knowledge (Lave, 2019) could widen access to rich, authentic learning experiences and value alternative conceptions of expertise.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeveloping Expertise for Teaching in Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationPractical Ideas for Professional Learning and Development
EditorsHelen King
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-1003198772
ISBN (Print)978-1032057002, 978-1032056999
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2022


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