“Moving On” is the story of two people, Valerie Brown and Matthew Whitney. It is primarily the story of their move out of residential care for people with disabilities. Valerie and Matthew both lived in residential care for many years and have been engaged in a long process of preparation to move to their own homes in the community.  Valerie and Matthew tell of their own unique stories on this site. Their voices echo those of many people going through a similar journey in Ireland at this time.  The site is work in progress and we welcome the stories of other people who would like to tell their story.

As part of this project I worked too with students at University College Cork.  This was one of ten projects I worked on with students as part of my PhD research.  My PhD research is entitled:

“FROM LOCAL TO GLOBAL – A JOURNEY WITH DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION, COMMUNITY AND MULTIMEDIA”:  What can educators learn about engaging adult learners in Development Education?  A critical investigation into the power of Community-Linked Learning and Multimedia Methodologies in Higher Education.

You can find more about the PhD research here.

The site is also a digital archive documenting not just personal stories but also the history of disability care services, debates about those services and progressive moves to improve the lives of people with disabilities.  The project is still in its infancy but hopefully it will grow and develop over the coming years. I would like this to belong to the community and I invite others to contact me should they wish to highlight their own stories or dialogue on related on Irish policies and services.

The site is my own personal site and primarily a labour of love since I worked closely with Matthew and Valerie and was moved and educated by their hard work, bravery and unique perspectives on life. Their voices are ones that should not just be told but they are voices which must be told.

To make this project a reality I was awarded the Cork City Council Arts Office “Arts In Context Award” 2015, to whom I am very grateful. I am also very grateful to Cheshire Homes for agreeing to partner with me in applying for this grant, without which these important stories would have been difficult to record.

Of course more than anything else I wish to extend my deep gratitude to Matthew, Valerie for their very hard work in documenting their stories.

I am grateful to my advisor and friend Rene Gonzales for his ongoing practical help and advice.  I would also like to thank students and colleagues at University College Cork some of whom helped with this archive as part of a PhD project.  In particular Aaron Kohrs, Dave Walker, Dr. Jackie Fitzgibbon and Dr. Shawn Day.

Gertrude Cotter

With thanks to Cork City Council Arts Office “Arts In Context Award” 2015

cork city arts office logo