The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) in the United States has given its prestigious International Service Award to Andy Minnion MBE, Professor of Media Advocacy at Rix Research & Media; this is the first time that the Award has been given to an individual based outside the US. The Award recognises outstanding contributions that further programmes or policies designed to create more inclusive communities for people with disabilities and their families throughout the world. It honours Andy Minnion’s exceptional work in the field of new media and inclusive research, development and knowledge exchange.
The AUCD International Service Award nomination stated: “Andy works as a researcher, lecturer, workshop leader, and producer of new media. He has been responsible for developing the ‘Multimedia Advocacy’ approach at the Rix Centre, whereby people with disabilities use self-made media to take greater control of their own lives and challenge their social exclusion. He has led research and knowledge exchange project work in this field since 2001. Andy’s work with Rix draws support from UK and EU research as well as charitable and commercial activity and engages with local and national government policy makers, academia, business and industry, alongside people with intellectual disabilities and their families.”
Professor Andy Minnion said: “I am delighted and deeply honoured to receive this award. There is so much excellent work being done around the world to drive positive change in the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families. New media technology is enabling better communication and ever greater levels of self-directed support and I’m incredibly proud of the work that we do at Rix at the forefront of this change. Since last year, we have been working in partnership with the Westchester Institute for Human Development in New York State as well as the Federal Administration on Community Living, to introduce a Multimedia Approach to self-advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to the US.”
Accepting the Award, Andy Minnion highlighted that Rix, based at the University of East London (UEL), shared the values and goals of the 67 University Centres for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) across the US that comprise the AUCD network. Rix and AUCD share the unwavering commitment to person-centred working and the promotion of self-advocacy for people with disabilities that are at the heart of Rix’s approach. He also drew a parallel between the Kennedy family, which has always championed the cause of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the US, and the Rix family in the UK. Both families include members with intellectual disabilities and have fought for the rights of the people with intellectual disabilities in public and policy circles, in each case helping to build significant changes to attitude and support provision for this community. President Jack Kennedy first instituted the UCEDDs in 1963 and Lord Brian Rix was instrumental in the establishment of the UK Charity Mencap, as well as the Rix Centre at UEL in the UK.
Andy Minnion has dedicated the Award to Lord Brian Rix, his family and his tireless campaign for people with disabilities in the UK as well as to the dozens of people with intellectual disabilities who have worked with the Rix Research & Media centre at UEL since the work started.