5th IASSIDD Europe Congress Diversity & Belonging: Celebrating Difference

This conference has been held. The conference page is kept for archival purposes.


Some photos of the conference can be found on Facebook. On the Facebook-page of DSiN we also placed some videos of the 'Chiton Catwalk'



Welcome to the 5th IASSIDD Europe congress 'Diversity and Belonging'.

The congress offers a diverse colourful pallet of readings, theatre, music, dance, active workshops and in-depth academic speeches. We organise creative workshops, space for ‘chilling’ and resting, good food, drinks and opportunities to meet and exchange.

The conference page on the DSiN website mirrors the conference page(s) on the IASSIDD website.

Celebrating difference: the Inclusive Booklet

At the 5th IASSIDD Europe Congress “Diversity & Belonging” we will not only embrace difference, we will celebrate it!
This means we have done everything within our power to not only create physical accessibility, but also non-physical accessibility. In order to do so, a small team got inspired by the book of the Disability Studies International Conference 2017 in Amsterdam.

Therefore we hereby present: The inclusive booklet for the 5th IASSIDD Europe Congress “Diversity & Belonging”. This book promotes the accessible workshops, roundtables and cultural program and works as an accessible “guide” throughout the conference.

Let’s celebrate difference together!

More information on the inclusive booklet: sofie.sergeant@disabilitystudies.nl 

This congress has been organised by IASSIDD Europe in collaboration with DSiN.

Local convenors: Association of Parents Guardians and Friends for Persons with Autism Larissa Prefecture, Greece and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.

Scientific committee:

Alice Schippers (chair)
Ivan Brown
Glynis Murphy
Tobias Buchner
Angeliki Gena

Track Directors:

Track 1: Petri Embregts
Track 2: Tessa Frankena
Track 3: Dana Roth
Track 4: Esther Joosa
Track 5: Susan Balandin
Track 6: Tobias Buchner & Sofia Mavropolou
Track 7: Peter Langdon
Track 8: Ivan Brown
Track 9: Glynis Murphy
Track 10: Petros Galanis & Angeliki Gena

Editing volunteers (Abstract book):

Arezu Alami
Magali Barnoux
Alixander Boot
Alexandra Campbell
Jarlam Chen
Vimallan Manokara
Jake Finan
Rachel Harrison
Ian Hutchinson
Kandice Klus
Tatjana Pchenitchnikova
Lara Sams
Mariska Scheffer
Meike Troost
Mitzi Waltz

Inclusive booklet

Sofie Sergeant
Thomas Doukas
Noëlle van den Heuvel


One of the conference sponsors is MK Prosopsis

The theme of the 5th IASSIDD Europe Congress is ‘Diversity and Belonging’. This theme is a celebration of human diversity, within spaces and places where we feel ‘at home’.

There are several ways on which we intend to do that:

Space for experience

This congress on ‘Celebrating Difference’ aims to also give a voice to stories based on experience. The personal experience is placed in a spotlight as countermove for the urge to use medical explanations that dominates the healthcare section. This congress gives people the chance to express their experience by use of words, images, film, theatre, music, … This way, the stories that otherwise would not have been picked up by traditional standardized research, will come to light.

A welcoming place

The congress zooms in on ‘Diversity and Belonging’: Everyone matters, everyone should feel welcome. Society is a place where people, regardless their disability, should be valued and where their originality and talents are seen and appreciated. This in contrast with the inequality, exclusion and stigma we experience worldwide.

Support for everyone

We don’t just want to ‘talk’ about diversity and belonging, but we want to act upon what is said! Therefore, we aim for accessibility. With a support bar we will organize support for everyone that wishes or requires this. There are whisper interprets, sign language interpreters and writing interpreters, guidance assistants and resting places… People, who don’t speak English, can count on our translators and whisper interprets. There are workshops in clear language and creative workshops inspiring people to learn by different means than verbal language.

We all learn in a different way

We are all different. We all communicate and learn in a different way. We try our best to make this congress as accessible as possible. However, chances are that we forgot some minor things. What works for one person, might not necessarily work for everyone. We will need to help and support each other in order to give everyone the opportunity to learn. All of this in order to meet new people, come to new ideas and insights and inspire each other.

Pre-conference workshops - downloads

We are proud to announce Prof. Angela Hassiotis, Prof. Geert Van Hove, Prof. Petri Embregts, Senior Lecturer Katrina Scior and Dr. Katerina Papanikolaou and Dr. Theodora Asteri as keynote speakers at the congress.

Angela Hassiotis

Angela Hassiotisis a professor of Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability at UCL and a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Camden Learning Disability Service/Camden and Islington Foundation Trust.

Title: Feeling at home: a mental health research agenda for and with people with intellectual developmental disabilities and their families.


Geert Van Hove

Geert Van Hove is a full professor and Head of the Department of Special Needs Education at Ghent University.

Title: Disability Studies and citizens with a label of ‘intellectual disability’: how do we tackle some prominent questions concerning Diversity & Belonging.


Petri Embregts

Petri Embregts is a full professor at the Department of Tranzo (Scientific center for care and welfare) at Tilburg University (The Netherlands) and program leader of the Academic Collaborative Center Living with an Intellectual Disability (empowerment, self-determination, social networks, staff interventions).

Title: Feeling connected, being autonomous. Self-determination is an essential dimension of quality of life. To develop self-determination, autonomy-supportive environments are crucial. This presentation aims to provide more insight in the level of (relational) autonomy and self-determination experienced by people with intellectual disabilities themselves related to the support from formal and informal networks.


Katrina Scior is Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at University College London (UCL) ad Director of the UCL Unit for Stigma Research.

Title: Exclusion vs belonging within diverse communities


Dr. Katerina Papanikolaou University of Athens, will speak about Living with autism: perceived needs and strength-based strategies implemented by families. 
She will address the support and strategies that parents can implement, and how caring for an autistic child and managing their professional care can affect family quality of life. She will illustrate this from her experience with Greek families.

Dr. Katerina Papanikolaou

Title: Living with Autism: Perceived Needs and Strength-Based Strategies Implemented by Families

Dr. Theodora Asteri

Title: Celebrating Difference at School in Greece: How Can Individual Educational Planning Be Used as a Mainstreaming Tool?

Music, Live performance

After the opening ceremony, the social program will follow outside in the building’s yard where the Music Group “Oneiremata”, the Orchestra “Hhohroma”, the City of Athens Choir and the traditional dance group of Municipality of Petroupoli will perform for all delegates.

“Oneiremata” members, the vocalists Maria, Marialena and Kallio are three young women with intellectual and developmental disabilities and with also severe visual impairments, all trainees of the Day Centre “Amimoni” who have performed more than 35 times in special events, many of them with the support of Greek popular singers and professional musicians.

The Orchestra “Hhohroma” consists of 20 members who play greek music and who also have performed in several special events. All members with intellectual disabilities come from Eidiko Ergastiri – Lilian Voudouri, Assosiation of Parents & Guardians for People with Intellectual Disabilities.


Drawing Lab by Sofie Sergeant

The drawing lab is a visual research method based on graphic elicitation.

At the congress, we have created a drawing lab, in which we invite people to draw.

The drawing lab assistants can be recognized by their lab-apron. The lab guests will be guided through stage 1 through 6 in a prior determined pattern.

But that is all the information we will give away for now…


The Catwalk by Selcuk Gürisik

This event is related to Workshop 5875.

Sofie Sergeant collected 551 drawings made by a very mixed and divers group of people. We present them to the international conference goers here in Athens. We ask you: What do you recognize from these drawings? 

We share scissors we invite the attendees at the congress to cut in the drawings.

We ask you to consider the material as a source for their own life story. Everyone is given the opportunity to shape their own life story on the chitons. Criss-cross, all conference participants mixed up. Until there is a collage of figures, shapes and colors. In this way we process the language of the drawing into a visual image again.  Information is always on the move. We are always on the move.

The Turkish artist Selcuk Gürisik will cut and sew chitons from this collage. These kimonos will be worn and shown at the end of the conference, on music, in movement language, on the catwalk: an ode to the mobility of information about who we are, what we want and what we are capable of and how we shape support.


Noëlle van den Heuvel (DSiN)

Below you can find downloads that did not fit into one of the other tabs. See also, for instance, the tab 'Programme' to find all downloads regarding the programme.