Nothing about us without us – Inclusive Governance Project

Dr Bernadette Curryer1, Ms Katrina Sneath1, Mr Will Harding1

1Side By Side Advocacy, West Ryde, Australia

Inclusive Governance is about people, from diverse backgrounds, being included on organisational Boards and Committees in a meaningful and engaged manner. For people with intellectual disability, typical governance structures may present barriers to inclusion. This presentation will provide preliminary results of a 3-year research project that is exploring the experience of Board members, to identify governance models and processes that facilitate genuine inclusion.

The project team, including two co-researchers with a lived experience of intellectual disability, is conducting semi-structured interviews with Board members, with and without intellectual disability, as well as others involved with Boards such as Executive Officers and people who facilitate Board participation. Using a phenomenological approach to analysis, emerging themes will be identified. These will inform the development of guiding principles, models and processes that support effective inclusion.

Preliminary results and emerging themes will be discussed, including details of what makes inclusion more or less likely.

This research will enable people with intellectual disability to understand what supports and practices may assist their involvement. It will also guide organisations in the development of policies and procedures to facilitate the inclusion and involvement of people with intellectual disability in the governance of their organisation.


Bernadette Curryer, Katrina Sneath and Will Harding are working together on a research project at Side by Side Advocacy. Together they bring research experience and lived experience of intellectual disability to the exploration of inclusive governance.