Call for participants

British Sign Language version of this page:

Are you a disabled person?

A line drawing of a group of 6 diverse disabled people, including a person with an assistance dog, a person with a white cane, a manual wheelchair user, a person with a hearing aid and another person using sign language, and a power wheelchair user. From Change image bank.

Are you, or have you been, a member of a co-op?

3 line drawings, left to right: a mixed group of people including disabled people standing in front of a large house; 3 people putting their hands together above the Co-op Marque; a shop front with a sign reading "Workers' Co-op Shop". Adapted from images in Change image bank.

If so, I want to interview you!

2 line drawings, left to right: 2 people sitting on low stools facing each other, one taking notes on a clipboard and the other holding a mug and talking, with a microphone on the floor between them; the same person taking notes in the left image looking at a computer screen with another person's picture on it.

My name is Steve Graby and I am a Visiting Researcher at the University of Leeds. I am looking for disabled people who are or have been involved in co-operatives in the UK to interview about their experiences.

By disabled people I mean anyone who is disabled by society according to the Social Model of Disability. This includes:
d/Deaf people and others with hearing impairments
• blind people and others with visual impairments
• wheelchair users and others with mobility impairments
• people with learning difficulties
• autistic, dyslexic or otherwise neurodivergent people
• people who experience mental distress, chronic pain or chronic illnesses
• anyone else who considers themself to be a disabled person.

By co-operatives (co-ops) I mean businesses which are collectively owned and controlled by their members. This includes:
• workers’ co-ops
• housing co-ops
• other consumer co-ops
• multi-stakeholder co-ops (co-ops with more than one group of members, for example a social care co-op which has both people who provide and receive care as its members)
• any other business which is owned by its members and run according to co-operative principles.

If you are a disabled person and you are or have been involved in one or more co-ops in the UK*, I want to talk to you about:
• your experiences of living, working or otherwise being involved in co-ops
• ways in which the co-op(s) you have been involved with did or did not meet your access needs as a disabled member
• your thoughts on the values and principles of the co-operative movement, and how they relate to disabled people
• your thoughts on what co-ops could do better to support disabled co-op members and disabled people in general
• anything else you might want to talk about on the subject of disability and co-ops.

*You do not have to live in the UK now, as interviews can be done online, but the co-op you are or were involved in must be in the UK. This is because definitions and rules for co-ops can be different in other countries.

The interview is likely to last around 1-2 hours, but it can be shorter or longer if this is better for your access needs. It can also be split into parts if this would make it easier for you.

Interviews can be done online by Zoom, or if it is possible and safe to do so, I can travel (within a reasonable distance of Leeds, UK) to meet you for a face-to-face interview in a place that is convenient for you. If neither of these ways of doing the interview are accessible for you, contact me and we can try to work out another way to do it, such as by phone or using another online method.

If you need a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter or another kind of support person to be with you to do the interview, I can pay for this. If it is a face-to-face interview and you have to travel for it, I can pay your travel expenses.

The interview will be recorded. If it is online, it will be recorded automatically by Zoom. If it is face-to-face, I will record it with an audio recorder. The recording will be transcribed, and if you want you will be able to have a copy of the transcript.

You will get a £15 shopping voucher for doing the interview. I will contact you after the interview about which shops it will be possible to get vouchers for, but I am hoping that this will include local shops that are co-ops.

I will be interviewing people between February and May 2022.

If you are interested in being interviewed, you can contact me by:
email: (preferred)
phone or text: 07539 754 529 (in the UK; phone calls will probably go to voicemail, but if you leave your number I can call you back)
post: Steve Graby, c/o CERIC, Leeds University Business School, Maurice Keyworth Building, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT
• or via the online form here.

I am also doing a survey of co-ops about to what extent they have disabled people involved in them, and a few case studies of co-ops which were started by disabled people or have many disabled members, and/or whose business is something to do with disabled people’s needs (e.g. social care or personal assistance co-ops, housing co-ops set up to provide accessible housing for disabled people, workers’ co-ops producing assistive equipment). If your co-op is something like this and you think it might be possible for me to do a case study on it, please contact me!

If you want to know about my research in more detail, click here. If you want to know more about me (Steve), click here.

You can download my participant information sheet (doc, font size 14; pdf, font size 14) and consent form (doc, font size 14; pdf, font size 14). Please contact me if you need these in any other formats (e.g. larger print, Braille, audio, BSL translation).