Episode 42: Deliberation and disability with Rhiann MacLean and Max Hardy

This conversation is with Rhiann McLean (in Scotland) and Max Hardy (in Australia).  Both are dedicated to amplifying the voices of people with disability—through research and public deliberations.”

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Rhiann McLean is the Public Engagement Lead at the Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory, part of the University of Glasgow. Rhiann has a Masters in Public Policy, and an interest improving outcomes for people with learning disabilities and their families. Rhiann is the project lead on the Research Voices Project, and was a facilitator for an adapted Citizens’ Jury for people with learning disabilities hosted in Glasgow, Scotland.

About the Research Voices Project

People with learning disabilities experience major health inequalities that can impact on all aspects of their lives. They also face barriers to engagement in research that seeks to identify, influence and address their health needs. The Research Voices project is a partnership between The Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory and Talking Mats which was funded by the Wellcome Trust in 2018. The project brought together a Citizens’ Jury of people with learning disabilities to debate and deliberate on how to make health research more inclusive. The key aims of this work are to:

  • Provide insight into the views of people with learning disabilities on health research
  • Challenge attitudinal barriers to involvement of people with learning disabilities in research as participants, subjects and collaborators
  • Challenge structural barriers that limit opportunities for inclusion in research
  • Generate recommendations supporting inclusive public engagement in health research.

The recommendations from the Jury are available and the project will also share key learning from the process of the Citizens’ Jury as well as tools and resources that others can use. For more information please visit https://www.sldo.ac.uk/inclusive-research/research-voices-project/ and watch the video report.


Max Hardy (B Soc Science, ASS Dip Soc Wel, Cert Prac NLP, MIAP2) is one of Australia’s foremost experts in co-design and deliberative processes and has designed and facilitated over 40 deliberative panels since 1998. He regularly delivers workshops and masterclasses on deliberative processes at conferences and for the professional development programs.  Renowned internationally as a skilful facilitator, including virtual workshops, Max has developed innovative models for collaboration and community engagement, for which he has won numerous national and international awards.

Max Hardy specialises in collaborative governance, process and solution codesign, appreciative inquiry, strategic questioning, collective impact and designing, facilitating and evaluating deliberative community engagement processes.

In 2020 Max co-produced a self-paced training course titled Authentic Co-design, along with scientist Dr Anthony Boxshall (Science into Action) and engagement specialist Susan Carter (The Community Studio).

He co-facilitated Australia’s first Citizens’ Parliament and facilitated a world café session at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Sydney.

As a Master Trainer for IAP2 Max co-designed and facilitated two training academies in 2006 and 2008, in Alberta Canada, and Edinburgh, UK respectively.

He has co-authored two books, presented papers at numerous international conferences, and is a regular guest lecturer at The University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.

Max is an IAP2 Ambassador, an associate of Collaboration for Impact and regular collaborator with the Tamarack Institute, Canada (Max delivered training in 5 Canadian cities through Tamarack Institute in 2019).

Recently Max delivered a Tedx talk titled ‘Questions Change Everything’.

To find out more about Max go to www.maxhardy.com.au .


Music acknowledgement.

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