Disabled Leader Network members bring a diverse range of expertise, lived experience, interest and skill set. Members are invited to join the Disabled Leaders Network through the Snowdon Trust Scholarship programme and the wider Snowdon Trust alumni.
On this page you can find some of the current DLN members:
MPhil in Comparative Literatures and Cultures at the University of Cambridge
Emrys academic interests lie in the intersections of Marxism with transgender, queer, and disability theory. They are also extensively involved in activism, with experience ranging from grassroots campaigns to education and research policy, including a year as the student union Disabled Students’ Officer.
MPhil in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at the University of Cambridge, Wolfson College, and blind recipient of the Snowdon Masters scholarship
Prior to university I completed my undergraduate in English Language Teaching at Middle East Technical university. My interest in linguistics was sparked by the linguistics courses that I took as part of my degree. Due to this interest, I decided to attend the MPhil program at Cambridge. My thesis research focused on theory of mind and experimental pragmatics. My hobbies are listening to audiobooks and following the latest developments in computer technology.
I am very grateful to the Snowdon Trust for providing me a life changing and culturally and intellectually enriching opportunity and experience, studying at one of the best universities in the world, which would not have been possible without the scholarship.
Fine Art MA at BCU
I am a Fine artist specialising in printmaking, I have just completed the first year of my Part time Fine Art MA at BCU. My art focusses on History, Identity, disability and access and is inspired by the barriers myself and other disabled people face. I aim to raise awareness and challenge outdated views on disability through art. During my MA I have been developing my practice and exploring ways to make printmaking accessible. My practice now incorporates sculpture, printmaking and print and video installations. So that people can touch, see and hear my work.
Masters in Architecture at the Royal College of Art
I’m currently studying a Masters in Architecture where I’ve had the pleasure of working across disciplines on projects ranging from critiques of public realm accessibility through photography and poetry. My interests lie in issues surrounding inclusive design, social justice and how design can be used to both analyse what exists and to propose and pursue what could exist. I also engage with issues posed by the climate crisis, recently designing a secular-retreat whose contours act to replenish the natural water infrastructure of the South Downs.
I completed my undergrad in architecture at Cambridge University and have since worked in two practices working on the Royal College of Art Battersea Campus building at Herzog & de Meuron and the public space in and around the Eiffel Tower at AL_A. Through the RCA I have worked on projects with a range of institutes, one for inclusive design with the Helen Hamlyn Centre and the Wellcome Hub, as well a taking a research post this summer focussing on “Our Future Towns”. My role is creating tools for communities to envision what it means for their future town to thrive, in light of both Covid-19 and the climate crisis.
Aside from architecture, I love to paint and I also love to dance – I even wrote my dissertation on the Spatiality of Tango Dancing in Buenos Aires!
Master’s in Politics and Communication at the LSE
Born in Liverpool with an analytical and determined spirit, Matt moved to London in pursuit of an undergraduate degree in Linguistics. Afterwards, he spent a year living at a ‘supported’-living service. The experience of attending university with a disability and residing in an establishment for disabled people taught him much about the problematic state of social care in Britain and contentious issues surrounding disability politics. The array of academic interests Matt possesses is wide, ranging from the politics of participation to the international relations of East Asia.
Outside academia, Matt enjoys collecting vinyl records, conjuring ideas for an imaginary appearance on Dragon’s Den, and intercultural interaction. Looking ahead, Matt hopes to enter a profession which will nurture his passion for global affairs and internationalism.
LLM in Medical Law and Ethics at the University of Edinburgh
Nadine has an undergraduate degree from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary (Canada) in Disability Studies. Combining the areas of law and medicine provides insight and the expertise necessary to create change. She joined the Disabled Leader’s Network in 2019 and is honoured to be part of an initiative that believes in empowering people to reach their full potential while creating an opportunity to work alongside likeminded individuals, to raise awareness and tackle complex problems. She believes in using her experience with disability, in combination with education and employment to positively impact others and create a society that is more accepting of differences. Nadine also has experience working in disability-related organisations and adaptive sports. She is a past member of the Alberta Para-Alpine Ski Team.
Disability, Design and Innovation at UCL’s Global Disability Innovation Hub
Msafiri is an enthusiastic disability Advocate. He was born in Tanzania and at the age of four, he was affected with polio; He survived, but he became wheelchair user. His academic background is BA in Sociology, advanced degree in Community Change. He acknowledges that people with disability are discriminated because of stigma, lack of knowledge, and mis-perception about the abilities of people with disabilities, as a result they remain largely dis-empowered. Msafiri believes that, people with disability are important members of the community. They deserve to be valued, not just because they are economically or otherwise useful, but because of their inherent self-worth.
He deeply understands and values the impact of disability leadership and the way it can have on people with disability self-esteem and self-confidence. As Human Rights Officer his purpose is to advocate for the environment that stimulate development of people with disabilities and by this, development of society as well; for a fairer and a better world.
Msafiriis grateful to the SnowdonTrust scholarship; as it has made him resilient, persistent and quick in problem solving. He feels the scholarship has touched his personal life and passion of improving himself; improving the living conditions of other persons with disabilities in different places; to the extent that they do not remain behind in their efforts to improve their personal development and society around them in general. Above all else, Msafiriis committed to the success of every disability inclusion initiative he works with; knowing that inclusive community are best positioned for success, innovation and well-being.
Master of Music with the Royal Academy of Music
Kirsten Strom is a young New Zealand composer, conductor and creative writer. Her award-winning music has been performed internationally and aired on radio. She draws from mixed media, social concerns, the bible, and the complex beauty of nature.
Career highlights include being mentored by Kaija Saariaho at Etchings Festival, attending Asian Composers League Festival 2018 with her choral work ‘Ktisis’, and holding the young composer residency with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. In 2019 she released her first album Wavering Lines (SDL Music) and relocated to London for a Master of Music with the Royal Academy of Music.
Snowdon Alumni and GDI Hub Assistant Project Manager
Paul joined the GDI Hub in January 2019. He brings to the GDI an array of experience from his time at university, community outreach, chairing boards and working with charities to raise awareness of disabilities and deafness.
Paul has a keen interest in leadership, community engagement and communications; everyday brings new challenges and opportunities to learn.
MA in US Foreign Policy at the University of Warwick
My name is Isabelle, and this year the Trust is supporting my MA in US Foreign Policy at the University of Warwick, enabling me to pursue my ambitions of a career in academia whilst also helping other disabled students at Warwick and further afield as Disabled Students’ Officer. I’m an outspoken proponent of disability rights and accessibility, spurred on by own experiences as wheelchair user and by the stories I’ve heard from others. I had a very atypical school experience due to chronic ill health, and so I went into university not really knowing what I was passionate about. It turns out I had a passion already – US politics – I just hadn’t had the opportunity to realise it. I was very lucky that Warwick was my local university, and that it was home to numerous experts in this area in its Politics and International Studies department. It was very much pure coincidence that all the stars aligned and I’ve ended up where I am today. It hasn’t been an easy road, and accessibility seems to be something universities continually struggle with. That’s why I’m so set on staying in academia – not only to provide a role (or roll!) model for students realising their dreams and ambitions, but also to be able to advocate and bring about impactful change upon the lives of individuals. I’m a big believer that change must come from within. I wouldn’t be able to do it without the ongoing support of the Trust.
Kyle Lewis Jordan
MA Archaeology and Heritage of Egypt and the Middle East at University College London
Kyle has been passionate about Egyptology since the age of six, and ever since the age of ten his ambition has been to become the Director of the British Museum. Within his studies his main area of interest is the intersection of Religion, Magic and Identity in Egyptian society, particularly when it comes to exploring attitudes and approaches towards the Self and to the Other (Gender, Race, Disability etc.). He is also passionate about tackling contemporary challenges within the social sciences and heritage sector; sitting on the Advisory Council of the British Museum, Kyle is a strong advocate for decolonisation and the imperative agency of scholars beyond traditional approaches. He believes in museums and other cultural institutions as strong potential agents of social change through education and engagement.
Aside from his studies, Kyle is a proud disabled activist with Cerebral Palsy, having twice-served as UCL’s Disabled Students’ Officer and still actively engaging in tackling issues both on an off campus, having also worked repeatedly with Camden’s Child Safeguarding Team on addressing issues that affect young disabled people in Camden. Kyle also enjoys creative writing, exercise and long engaging conversations over coffee.
The scholarship will be supporting Kyle’s studies by providing him with the means to seek opportunities within his desired field, helping to fund potential work and academic opportunities so that he can learn and engage with a much wider audience.
Dr Oladipupo Idris Olalere
Disability, Design and Innovation MSc at the Global Disability Innovation Hub
Oladipupo Idris Olalere is a medical doctor who graduated from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Despite his physical limitations, he strived to graduate medical school mainly due to his drive and will to impact lives directly.
Oladipupo has always understood that more needs to be done outside the consulting room to improve the global standard of living but could only realize where he’d make more impact after he had entered the labour market and got a glimpse of the challenges faced by persons living with disabilities. This prompted him to visit and volunteer in homes of persons with disabilities where he noticed that a significant number of the residents of these homes need not be there if they had access to adequate assistive devices. He is currently undergoing his MSc in Disability Design and Innovation in hope that he would be able to better improve the quality of lives of persons with disabilities not just by improving access to assistive devices but also influence policy implementation.
The Snowdon Masters Scholarship has made it possible for him to pursue his ambition of improving himself to be better able to inspire and impact the lives of others globally.
Social and Public Policy at the University of Leeds
My parents raised me to believe that blindness would change my life, but it would not limit my opportunities or take away from my successes. In 2019 I completed a BA in Spanish and subsequently set off for Colorado, where I studied to become a rehabilitation teacher of blind students.
Engaging with governmental organisations and structures has always been a passion of mine and I have worked closely with a number of charities and advocacy groups in order to advocate for the rights of blind and other disabled people. Progressing onto a master’s degree in social and public policy seemed like the logical next step and in January 2021 I will begin postgraduate study at the University of Leeds.
I am extremely thankful for the generous scholarship I have been awarded by the Snowdon Trust which will enable me to dedicate my entire focus to my studies. I intend to research healthcare policy and the impact it has on disabled people, particularly the intersection of healthcare and education policy. My hope is that I will be able to continue this research at PHD level.
MA Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art
Mattie is currently studying for an MA in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art after having completed her undergraduate degree in Geography at the University of Cambridge in 2020. Passionate about the importance of combining art and activism, Mattie is interested in exploring deeper the intersectionality of disability with environmental and social issues. As a poet and a BBC New Creative, she has connected her experiences of having a chronic pain condition of hypermobility syndrome to the need to care and embrace our bodies, communities and the environment. Through her artistic and curatorial practice, she hopes to make visible marginalised perspectives and campaign to make art spaces more accessible to those with disabilities.
The Snowdon Scholarship has made it possible for Mattie to be dedicated to her studies and practice while having time and space to care for her needs. She is looking forward to helping to support and empower disabled people in the arts as part of the Give Back Program.
MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society (Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy and the History of Medicine) at the University of Cambridge
My name is Lilly and I have recently completed my first-class undergraduate degree in Sociology at the University of Durham. Aided by my roles as a St. John’s Disability Representative, Welfare Officer and Nightline Volunteer, I have been able to cultivate my understanding(s) of what systemic ableism (physical and metaphysical) and combative empowerment can look like. As someone who is chronically ill (JIA) and visually impaired, these are concepts which are very important to me. These experiences motivated my dissertation titled ‘How do Students with Concealable Disabilities Construct, Navigate and Negotiate their Identities within a Collegiate University Environment?’, investigated through the use of participant-produced scrapbooks and scrapbook-elicitated dialogical interviews (if you would ever like to read it, be sure to get into contact!). As astutely put by one of my participants, “It’s about adjusting what you need to get to the same point, rather than adjusting your expectations”. I have carried this mantra into my postgraduate studies and believe this aligns with the principles of the Snowdon Trust. We, as disabled people, are wholly capable both in spite and because of our disabilities. Once accessing these spaces for discussion, we bring an insightful and empathetic perspective to our academic field.
I am now at the University of Cambridge undertaking an MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society. The Snowdon Scholarship allows me to pursue my academic interests in ethical research epistemologies, disability categories (particularly in relation to welfare allocation), and the application of empathy as a research tool. I really look forward to the opportunity to expand my understanding and give back to our disabled community.