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Disability rights and robotics: Co-producing futures

Savage, Sophie; Curran, Tillie

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Sophie Savage
Associate Lecturer - Sociology

Tillie Curran
Associate Lecturer - CHSS - HSS - USLW0001


People with lived experience of disability, family carers, students and academics in robotics and social sciences came together as co-researchers to ask: How can robotics technology support disability rights? How can co-production research be developed to explore this question? Using a knowledge café approach (Brown, 2001), we defined “ethical” research, generated questions, and tested robots. Co-production continued during the COVID-19 lockdown with the creation of a website, cartoon report, and international impact events. Institutional barriers prevented some members from continuing, which we discuss. The themes highlight how robotics technology might create opportunities and relationships towards living a full life. However, control, use of personal data, and equality of access are concerns calling for co-production at the earliest stage of robotics design. We end with a reflexive account that draws on post-human disability studies that resist privileged views of “the future” and embrace a more fluid, relational discourse.


Savage, S., & Curran, T. (2023). Disability rights and robotics: Co-producing futures. International Journal of Disability and Social Justice, 3(2), 26-48.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 7, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 25, 2023
Publication Date Aug 25, 2023
Deposit Date Apr 8, 2024
Publicly Available Date Apr 9, 2024
Journal International Journal of Disability and Social Justice
Print ISSN 2732-4036
Electronic ISSN 2732-4044
Publisher Pluto Journals
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 2
Pages 26-48
Keywords Disability rights , robotics, co-production, post-human, lived experience, COVID, family carers
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