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Biography - Zoe Hughes

My path to research has been a somewhat winding one. I began working with people with intellectual disabilities in a voluntary role in 1997. I continued this interest through obtaining my BA in Philosophy with Geography in Trinity College Dublin. I worked for a number of years as a care support worker for people with ID and mental health problems and 'challenging behaviour'.

I returned to college and obtained a Higher Diploma (H.Dip) in Social Policy and a Masters in Social Work). I began working in the National Institute for Intellectual Disabilities in September 2008, working on a project entitled "A Story to Tell", which was collecting the life stories of older people with intellectual disabilities across Ireland and building the countries first multimedia archive of life stories from this population.

I took over the co-ordination of the project in December 2008 and oversaw the launch of the archive in July 2009. My current research brings me back in contact with the original storytellers, to try and discover how the experience of telling their story was for them at the time, and in the intervening years. I am also speaking to staff on their views of the usefulness of life story and narrative work with people with intellectual disabilities.


  • Hughes, Z., Brennan, C., and Kelly, G. (2010) 'The Wheel Always Turns in Circles': Report on the findings of “A Story to Tell” lifestory project, National Institute for Intellectual Disability Monograph Series.

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About the Group

If you woud like to get in touch with the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, please contact:

Liz Tilley 
Chair of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

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