Dignity Project nominated as Australia Museum Eureka Prize Finalist

The Dignity Project team celebrated its selection as one of three finalists in the Department of Industry, Science and Resources Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science on August 31st, 2022, at the Australian Museum. The Innovation in Citizen Science finalists were selected based on demonstrated excellence in citizen science practice, through innovative research and community engagement projects. The Dignity Project, using its framework for citizen science and research focused on improving dignified experiences in interactions with mainstream services for people with disability, as privileged to be among the finalists in this category. Recognised as one of the first digital health, citizen science initiatives that partners with people with disability as paid citizen researchers, the Dignity Project is driving research and advocacy to break down barriers for people with disability in all aspects of service utilisation.  

The Dignity Project is supported by the Motor Vehicle Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC), Metro South Hospital and Health Service, the Queensland Office of the Chief Scientist, the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, and the Department of Seniors, Disability Servies, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.  

The Dignity Project began when a working group of people with disability and lived experience of rehabilitation were asked by The Hopkins Centre: Research for rehabilitation and resilience (THC), what was needed to create better products and services for their communities.  

The answer was simple: more people with lived experience of disability need to be involved in the creation of the products and services they use.  

Angel Dixon OAM, an ambassador and Adjunct Fellow of THC and Kelsey Chapman THC researcher and Dignity Project lead, were tasked with researching the most contemporary and inclusive way to bring people with disability and lived experience not just to the design table for consultation, but to find a new, more dignified approach.  

Angel’s lived experience and advocacy work in disability and inclusion helped secure the pilot study within a Human Rights framework, disability rights understanding and focus on accessibility. Kelsey’s knowledge of dignity and critical disability theory brought the project to life. In 2019 the team were successful in their submission for a Citizen Science grant through the Queensland Motor Vehicle Accident Insurance Commission and the Office of the Chief Scientist, Queensland.  

A pilot study was undertaken and the foundational framework for an on-going body of work was developed. Throughout the development of the framework and literature reviews, it became apparent that literature at the intersection of dignity and disability was limited. This validated the team’s impressions and cemented the vision of the pilot to be a research and community building agenda, aimed at disrupting stereotypes and breaking through barriers that people with disabilities experience every day. The goal was to inform disability reform for the future and learn from the past.  

The Dignity Project has been featured on ABC TV's Reframe documentary series in 2021 and on The Centre for Inclusive Designs, "With, Not For" podcast. The Dignity Project was also selected as a finalist for the Elevate+ Impact Accelerator 2021. 

Researchers Angel Dixon OAM and Kelsey Chapman were interviewed by ABC TV Breakfast on the 6th of August, 2022, to talk about the exciting announcement as well as Dignity Project achievements over the last two years - watch the interview below! 

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