“Tailored solutions are paramount”

Maranke Wieringa is a PhD student at the Faculty of Humanities and they are co-founder of ‘Accessible Academia’. This is an interuniversity network for students and staff with a disability at universities.

To me, diversity means the presence of a with variety of people in organisations or spaces. Inclusivity means that these people are also made to feel welcome and are duly heard and included in that space or organisation.

The distinction between diversity and inclusion is important for me. I may well be present at the university, but I don’t feel welcome. The reason is that the university as it is, is not yet designed to accommodate disabled people. You are constantly coming up against myriad of barriers and obstacles that show that everything that is a matter of fact to others is no matter of fact to you.

I believe it’s paramount to deliver tailored solutions, and that everything that is a matter of fact to others, is also made a matter of fact to you, without you having to shoulder this organisational burden. There are a lot of creative solutions available that do not need to cost a great deal of time and effort, and which have a lot of impact with just a few minor changes.