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Diversity, inclusion and belonging

In this video, Educators Dr Louisa Smith and Professor Kelley Johnson introduce the ideas of inclusion and belonging.

In this step Kelley Johnson and Louisa Smith, two of the Educators on this course, discuss the words inclusion and belonging and what they mean in the context of valuing human diversity.

While we often hear the word “inclusion” in contexts of disability — indeed, we have already heard it in the video in Step 1.5 — Kelley discusses three problems with the term:

  • it is often used but rarely defined;
  • it is not something that you can easily take control over (i.e. you can’t include yourself);
  • it often ignores what people want to be involved in, and how they want to be involved.
As Kelley says, inclusion is “a step along a long journey”, but it is not enough. Instead, she proposes that “belonging” may be a more useful term for promoting disability as a dimension of human diversity. Kelley mentions the work of John O’Donohue, who defined belonging as encompassing both “being” and “longing”. This definition frames belonging as a “fundamental human desire,” and suggests that everyone has a desire to belong in individual and unique ways.
In the next step, our guest presenters tell stories of belonging in their own diverse lives.

Talking points

  • Have you heard the term inclusion used in relation to disability in your context? Do you think it is important in your local context?
  • What are the differences between inclusion and belonging?
  • How does this discussion help you understand the concept of human diversity and a good life?
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Disability and a Good Life: Working with Disability

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