Jan Walmsley

Independent researcher

Jan is an independent consultant, teacher and researcher with honorary positions at The Open University, London South Bank University (LSBU), and the University of Bristol. Jan has twin interests in learning disability and leadership – and sometimes (not often) they meet.

Since becoming an independent practitioner in January 2008, Jan has specialised in work relating to learning disability including access to healthcare, use of primary care services; recording life and oral histories; and ‘user involvement’. Jan is passionate about inclusive learning disability history and works with several self advocacy groups on history related projects. Jan also teaches ‘leadership’ to health professionals, particularly in the London area, for LSBU.

In her role as Assistant Director responsible for Leadership Programmes at The Health Foundation (2004-7), Jan developed, managed and quality assured eight schemes aimed at developing leadership capacity in the health sector.

While at the OU (1985-2004) Jan pioneered inclusive approaches to teaching and research with people with learning difficulties. Jan was on the Patterns for Living team, and raised the cash for ‘Working as Equal People’ the nearest we have got to an inclusive university course (1996). Jan was a founder member of the Open University’s Social History of Learning Disability Research group (founded in 1994) which has used an inclusive approach to furthering the history of learning disability through publications and conferences – annually in July. 

Jan recently published Living a Good Life with a Learning Disability with Kelley Johnson (Policy Press 2010). Jan has an extensive list of publications including Inclusive Research with People with Learning Disabilities: Past Present and Futures (2003), with Kelley Johnson.

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