Victoria Austin PhD

Associate Professor of Social Justice and Innovation at UCL and co-founder GDI Hub at Global Disability Innovation Hub at University College London

Community Advocate

Vicki has been an activist, advocate, administrator and academic – always in service of social justice. After leading the Paralympic Legacy Programme for the Mayor of London in 2012, she went on to co-found the Global Disability Innovation Hub, in 2016, to continue testing innovative means to create a more just world.

GDI Hub has now reached nearly 30m people, in more than 40 countries, working with 70+ partners around the world through AT2030 funded by UK Aid. Vicki has been fortunate to advocate for disability rights and social justice at various levels within the UN; with global South Governments; alongside the disability movement; with corporate partners; and through big global campaigns.

Vicki is also co-Director of the WHO Global Collaborating Centre on access to Assistive Technology, and her own research centres the role of technology in enabling social justice with a focus on disabled people living in low resource settings. Her PhD study was conducted alongside disabled slum dwellers in Sierra Leone.

Vicki also teaches as part of the MSc Design Disability and Innovation at UCL East, running a module on Innovation for a Fairer World. She is currently writing a book ‘On Joy and Justice’ (working title) seeking to uncover the lost connection between our collective struggles for social change and personal wellbeing as political activism.

As a queer woman living with two mental health conditions, Vicki has first-hand experience of the ways in which societal barriers, norms, rules and attitudes are disabling. But identity is multi-faceted and she also recognises her great privilege; living in London with access to education. A lifelong campaigner for leadership by the most impacted, Vicki will continue to dedicate her work to creating spaces for other to tell their stories, while using her own influence to create a fairer world for all.

“Pride in who we are, enables the fragmented parts of our hidden identities to become whole. And this individual wholeness is often the first step to collective action. Without being valued, and validating our collective diversity, we can’t build genuinely intersectional movements for change. It is time to recognise that we each have a vital role to play. We have never needed ourselves, or each other, more.”

Vicki launching the Global Report on AT in the House of Commons.

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Disability Power 100 2023 profile information has been self-submitted by the profile subject. Shaw Trust understands and respects that disability and impairment descriptors and language use varies from person to person. Shaw Trust assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or discrepancies in the content of this, or any other, profile page.

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