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Essex Autonomy Summer School: Social Care and Human Rights

Wednesday 27 July - Friday 29 July 2022


Taking place at Wivenhoe House Hotel, in the grounds of our Colchester Campus, 2022 marks the 12th year for the annual Autonomy Summer School.

This year's theme will focus on Social Care and Human Rights: Complex Communication, Consent and Co-production. 

Applications for our Autonomy Summer School are now closed. 

For enquiries about future events, please contact:

"Three days of stimulating intellectual debate with a like-minded, yet diverse group."


The focus of the Summer School will be Social Care and Human Rights, with specific thematic focus on: (a) Complex Communication; (b) Consent; (c) Co-production. The structure of the summer school is designed to afford ample opportunities for open discussion and reflection on practical, legal and ethical challenges arising in social care in an age of global pandemic.

Attracting students, researchers, frontline professionals, service users, policy makers and activists from around the world delegates will have the opportunity to learn about recent research, policy and practice developments relating to the challenge of embedding respect for autonomy and human rights in care settings. 

Teaching Team

Teaching staff for the Summer School come from a variety of different disciplines and professions, including social care, medicine, philosophy, bioethics, disability studies, speech and language therapy and human rights.

Michael Bach (Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society)

For over 25 years, Michael Bach has undertaken research and development in Canada and internationally on ways to advance the full inclusion and human rights of persons with disabilities. His research and publications cover disability theory, policy and practice in a range of areas including education, employment, and funding and delivery of community-based services. Michael’s particular area of expertise is in legal capacity of people with intellectual disabilities. Michael holds a Ph. D. in Sociology and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, where his dissertation focused on developing a more inclusive theory of personhood on which to challenge the usual equation between intellectual disability and legal incapacity. Michael is currently an Open Society Foundations Fellow, continuing his international comparative research on the right to legal capacity for people with significant intellectual and cognitive disabilities.

Peter Beresford (University of East Anglia)

Peter Beresford is a British academic, writer, researcher and activist best known for his work in the field of citizen participation and user involvement, areas of study he helped to create and develop. He is currently visiting professor and senior research fellow in the School of Health & Social Sciences at the University of East Anglia, emeritus professor of citizen participation at the University of Essex and emeritus professor of social policy at Brunel University London. Much of his work has centered on including the viewpoints, lived experience and knowledge of disabled people, mental health and other long term service users in public policy, practice and learning, and working for a more participatory politics.

Victoria Joffe (University of Essex)

Victoria is Professor in Speech and Language Therapy and Dean of the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Essex. Her areas of expertise include speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) in children and young people, the interface between education and speech and language therapy, training of teaching staff, language and literacy development, and the embedding of Evidence-Based Practice in routine clinical work. She works collaboratively with various health trusts, education authorities and third sector organisations devising and evaluating research into models of service delivery across the lifespan. She is chair of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists’ national clinical excellence network for older children and young adults with SLCN and is currently working on three NIHR-funded research projects looking into new and innovative interventions for children with social communication disorder, children who stammer and children with Down Syndrome.

Caroline Bald (University of Essex)

Caroline is a registered social worker qualifying at University of Glasgow (MSW) in Scotland, and is currently the Programme Lead for the MA Social Work at the University of Essex. Caroline’s current research explores brain injury social work, human rights and social work education curricula. Caroline is Director of the 2022 Autonomy Summer School. 

Aaron Wyllie (University of Essex)

Aaron trained as a social worker at Monash University (BA, PhD) in Australia, and is currently the Programme Lead for the BA Social Work at the University of Essex. Aaron’s current research explores older peoples’ experience of home in community and care home contexts.

Hannah Atkinson (University of Essex)

Hannah is a qualified Speech & Language Therapist and a lecturer at the University of Essex. Hannah’s areas of expertise are acquired communication and swallowing disorders in adults. She has previously worked in a range of healthcare settings, including acute general wards, acute stroke units and community stroke rehabilitation. Hannah’s areas of interest include acute stroke management, dysphagia associated with neurological disorders, as well as the role of Speech & Language Therapists in facilitating mental capacity assessments for people with communication needs.

Karen Chumbley (North East Essex Integrated Care System)

Karen is a General Practitioner and is the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System Clinical Lead in End of Life Care. Karen chairs the North East Essex Alliance End of Life Board and leads the North East Essex population health management approach to end of life care.

Karen is also a GP Training Programme Director, the Clinical Lead for the My Care Choices Register which is a local electronic palliative care communication system and is a Strategic Advisor to St Helena Hospice.

Wayne Martin (Essex Autonomy Project)

Wayne is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Essex, where he is a member of the Essex Human Rights Centre and Director of the Essex Autonomy Project, a research and public policy initiative focusing on the ideal of self-determination (autonomy) in the context of care (health care, social care, eldercare, psychiatric care, etc.). He also holds an honorary research position with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. He is the author of numerous research articles and reports focusing on issues concerning decision-making and mental capacity in the context of mental health care, and has been involved in policy formation both in the UK and abroad. From 2014-16 he led a team that supported the UK Ministry of Justice in preparation for the review by the United Nations of UK compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In 2018 he served on the Equality and Human Rights topic group for the Wessely Review of the Mental Health Act.

Eligibility and pre-requisites

It is an ideal course for Students, Researchers, Practitioners, Policy-Makers and Service-Users with an interest in Social Care. 

A reading list will be distributed to registered delegates one month ahead of the Summer School. We recognise, however, that many delegates are professionals who may have little time for preparation, so advance reading is neither presumed nor required.

Fees and registration details

Registration is now closed.

Early Registration (up to and including 20th April 2022): £425 (accommodation not included)

Standard Registration (after 20th April, 2022): £475 (accommodation not included)

The registration fee includes attendance at the three-day summer school, course materials, lunch and refreshments, and a Summer School Dinner on the evening of 27th July (places are limited). 

Accommodation can also be arranged separately and there are a number of different options to suit all budgets.

Wivenhoe House Hotel

Telephone: 01206863666 or email: 

On-campus accommodation

This can be booked via the EventEssex website.

Off-site accommodation

B&B accommodation in the nearby village of Wivenhoe, or in the town of Colchester.

"The Essex Autonomy Project Summer School is an invaluable space to consider issues away from the immediacy of day-to-day implementation dilemmas."

About the Autonomy Project

The Essex Autonomy Project is a research and public policy initiative, based at the University of Essex, and investigating the ideal of self-determination (autonomy) in the context of care (health care, social care, eldercare, psychiatric care, etc.). Led by Professor of Philosophy, Wayne Martin, it involves extensive intramural and extramural collaboration with jurists, clinicians, service users, activists, civil servants, and policy makers. It is affiliated with the Wellcome-funded Mental Health and Justice project and the award-winning Essex Human Rights Centre.

About the Essex Human Rights Centre

The Human Rights Centre at Essex boasts a global reputation for excellence in the promotion of world-leading interdisciplinary human rights education, research and practice. At the heart of our work is the interface between the theory and practice of human rights, conflict and acute crises.

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Get in touch
The Essex Autonomy Project School of Philosophy and Art History
Telephone: 01206 872717