Ann Leahy joined the ERC Consolidator funded project, DANCING (Protecting the Right to Culture of Persons with Disabilities and Enhancing Cultural Diversity through European Union Law: Exploring New Paths), in September 2020. Her main focus is qualitative research on cultural participation by people with disabilities. She has an MA in Social Justice and Public Policy (first class honours) and a PhD in Sociology. Her PhD was an interdisciplinary qualitative study that examined the intersection between disability and ageing, engaging with literature across both areas.
Her academic awards include a John and Pat Hume Scholarship (2013) from Maynooth University and an Irish Research Council Employment-based PhD Scholarship (2014). In 2019 she was awarded a Government of Ireland, Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship to disseminate the findings of her PhD thesis.
Ann also has a background in law. Early in her career, she qualified as a Solicitor and worked for some years in commercial law with McCann FitzGerald, solicitors. She subsequently changed direction, working for nearly two decades in the NGO voluntary sector. She was Assistant CEO of Age & Opportunity for over a decade with responsibility for policy and public affairs, as well as for the organisation’s work on arts and culture.
In addition to disability and ageing, her areas of research include equality, poverty and healthcare, and she has completed a body of research and policy analysis on these issues for Social Justice Ireland. She has also extensive experience of public-policy processes across a variety of areas and has served on several policy and advocacy committees.