10th December: Dr Delia Ferri of Maynooth University has been awarded a prominent European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator grant of €2 million to undertake research examining the extent to which EU Law protects the rights of persons with disabilities to fully participate in cultural endeavours.
The highly prestigious ERC award is viewed as the gold standard for research funding in Europe. Dr Ferri is one of an elite group of recipients who have been highlighted for their outstanding research.
Dr Ferri, a lecturer in the Maynooth University Department of Law, will lead a team of five researchers on the project entitled ‘Protecting the Right to Culture of Persons with Disabilities and Enhancing Cultural Diversity through European Union Law: Exploring New Paths’. The team will also include dancers, choreographers and a filmmaker to develop the artistic elements of the project.
On the whole the research addresses the right of persons with disabilities to take part in cultural life as an essential aspect of enhancing cultural diversity. In doing so, it will bridge, in an unprecedented way, the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
The project will advance the understanding and propose a new theorization of the legal concept of cultural diversity, which stems from the intersection of different sources of law. The project is premised on the idea that cultural exclusion of people with disabilities has not only engendered their marginalization, but it also has resulted in lost opportunities for society more broadly.
The research project comes 10 years after the ratification by the European Union of the CRPD, and it is particularly timely as a new EU policy plan on disability post-2020 is under discussion. The project aims to disrupt the conventional approach in EU legal research on cultural diversity by using a combination of legal, empirical and arts-based research and by breaking boundaries between existing disciplines. However, fundamentally, the research project aims to contribute to the advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities. The research is scheduled to last 5 years.
Dr Ferri said: “I’m delighted to receive this ERC grant as it will allow me to develop this fundamentally important project, which I hope will ultimately lead to a new understanding of the legal concept of cultural diversity within EU law. This research comes at a crucially important time, 10 years after the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the EU and has the possibility to make a real difference in the lives of those with a disability”.
She paid tribute to the culture of support for researchers in Maynooth University. “Maynooth University is a fantastic place to undertake this research. As a member of the Law Department and the ALL Institute, I am grateful for the support I have received. I would also like to acknowledge the amazing support of the MU Research and Development Office, which has provided important advice at critical junctures of the application process”.
Maynooth University President, Prof Philip Nolan, congratulated Dr Ferri on her ERC grant: “This is a significant achievement for Dr Ferri, and on behalf of everyone at Maynooth University I would like to sincerely congratulate her on being awarded this grant. Her research will address important human rights questions and will break new ground in legal research on cultural diversity. This work is very much core to the ethos of Maynooth University, and it’s wonderful to see such valuable scholarship receive the support it deserves.”