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Equality and Diversity Forum

8 October 2016
Portrait of Dr. Moira Dustin (previously of EDF)
Dr. Moira Dustin (previously of EDF) © Natasha Hirst

The Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) is a national network of organisations committed to equal opportunities, social justice, good community relations, respect for human rights and an end to discrimination based on age, disability, gender and gender identity, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.

CURED were invited to attend a meeting of the EDF, which focussed upon Human Rights, specifically the ongoing work relating to the Universal Periodic Review of the United Kingdom on human rights. Presentations were received from the British Institute of Human Rights and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. There has clearly been much concern relating to Government welfare reforms and the impact this has had on disabled people.

The human rights concerns relating to the administration of the Employment and Support Allowance is particularly relevant to disability and employment research. The EDF website contains a wide range of resources across all areas of equality and human rights. A presentation was received on the “Equally Ours” project which is a campaign that talks about the importance of human rights and how they benefit us all in everyday life. Case studies are collected and shared; this includes information about rights at work, the right to be a union member and the right to be free from discrimination and unsafe practices at work.

There is also an EDF Research network, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation:

The Network is a collaborative project steered by leading equality and human rights academics and coordinated and supported by the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) – the national network of NGOs working to promote equality and human rights in the UK.

Dr. Moira Dustin, then Coordinator of the EDF research network, talked about the aspirations of the network to create a knowledge exchange that would allow researchers and policy makers to develop evidence based policies. Research takes place in different fields and often in pockets according to the interests and knowledge of researchers within their sectors or specialisms.

EDF have identified the need to bridge the gaps that exist between academics, think tanks, NGOs and other organisations  in order to create responsive research that is creative and visionary and allows for practical policies to be developed and for the production of coherent, cross cutting responses to consultations. In many respects, this vision is similar to that of the Cardiff University Research into Employment and Disability project – to create a network that enables knowledge exchange and the development of research that has a genuine ‘real world’ impact.