On Tuesday 9th April 2013, the third volume of the European Yearbook of Disability Law was launched at a research colloquium at the European Parliament. The European Yearbook of Disability Law is published by Intersentia .The Yearbook is part of the ongoing research programme of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP) at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) and the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights at Maastricht University. The editors of the Yearbook are Professor Gerard Quinn (Director of the CDLP), Professor Lisa Waddington (who holds the European Disability Forum Chair of European Disability Law at Maastricht University) and Dr. Eilionoir Flynn (Senior Researcher at the CDLP).
The event was co-chaired by Marian Harkin (MEP) and Mairead McGuinness (MEP), who praised the editors for the excellent contribution which the Yearbook is making to the debate on disability issues. The event was well-attended by academics, students and representatives of non-governmental organisations. The keynote address was provided by Anna Lawson, Senior Lecturer at Leeds University, who spoke about the “Role of the Academy in Advancing Positive Reform.” The president of the European Disability Forum, Yannis Vardakastanis, addressed the role of civil society in transforming the research agenda. Gábor Gombos, Adjunct Professor at NALSAR Law University, India and at NUI Galway, concentrated on the role of emancipatory research in future disability policy-making. Professor Lisa Waddington provided a timeline of developments in disability research, in her presentation entitled “The Law Looking Outward: The Past and Future of Legal Research on Disability in Europe.” In addition, Professor Rannveig Traustadóttir, Director of the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Iceland, addressed the means by which research in the field of social science can be harnessed to inform the research agenda in the disability arena. Finally, Inmaculada Placencia-Porrero, Deputy Head of the Unit for the Rights of People with Disabilities at the European Commission, looked at the perspective of policy-makers and, in particular, the research requirements of the European Commission on the subject of disability. An open Forum was then held on the issue of harnessing scholarship across disciplines to help drive the European reform agenda. The event was closed by the rapporteurs, Professor Quinn and Dr. Flynn. Overall, the event proved to be a huge success. It provoked stimulating discussions among the participants and provided fascinating insights into the past and future of disability research.