Project Rationale

The Disabled Leaders Project is a unique initiative that celebrates the achievements of disabled Trinity graduates who have gone on to make a difference in Irish society and beyond. The project is particularly noteworthy because it not only acknowledges the contribution of disabled leaders but also incorporates their memory into the identity of Printing House Square, the central hub of Trinity College Dublin. Each of the main meeting rooms in the square is named after one of the leaders, and a painting of each one adorns the walls of the corresponding room. This recognition of disabled leaders is a powerful statement in a society that has often overlooked the contributions of disabled people.

The project profiles six disabled leaders - Sinéad Burke, Jack Kavanagh, Vivian Rath, and Mark Pollock, Laura Beston and Patricia McCarthy - each of whom has made a significant impact in their respective fields. The profiles include their academic and professional achievements, as well as their activism and advocacy work. For instance, Sinéad Burke, a writer, academic, and disability activist, is known for her work on promoting accessibility and designing an equitable and accessible world. Jack Kavanagh, a performance, and resilience coach, inspires people with his TED talk "Fearless Like a Child" and offers a unique perspective on overcoming adversity. Vivian Rath, a researcher, and disability activist has worked extensively in providing support to disabled people accessing education and employment opportunities. Mark Pollock, a former adventure athlete and motivational speaker, has overcome significant challenges and is now at the forefront of research into spinal cord injury recovery. Laura Beston, a formal Trinity SU President, commenced several sucessfuk campaigns and is now working in the field of mental health. Finally, Patricia McCarthy is an academic researcher who promotes inclusion in 2nd level education.


The importance of the Disabled Leaders Project lies in its recognition of the talent, skill, and contribution of disabled people. Disabled people have long been underrepresented in leadership positions, and their achievements have often gone unrecognized. The project challenges this status quo and highlights the importance of diversity and inclusion in leadership. Moreover, the project provides a positive and inspiring message to disabled people who may be struggling to find their place in society. By highlighting the achievements of disabled leaders, the project demonstrates that disability need not be a barrier to success and that disabled people can contribute to society in meaningful ways.


In conclusion, the Disabled Leaders Project is a valuable initiative that recognizes the contribution of disabled leaders and promotes diversity and inclusion in leadership. By profiling the achievements of disabled graduates, the project challenges the underrepresentation of disabled people in leadership positions and inspires a new generation of disabled leaders. The project is an excellent example of how society can promote positive change by recognizing and celebrating diversity.