Category Archives: Relevant events

DigiPlace4all demonstrated at the AHEAD conference on Universal Design for Learning in Dublin

The 2015 annual conference of AHEAD (the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability) took place in the historic surroundings of Dublin Castle on March 19 & 20. Mark Magennis partnered with NCBI service user Dane Chan to introduce and demonstrate the DigiPlace4all online peer support community website.
With a conference theme of “Universal Design for Learning: A License to Learn”, the audience consisted of around 150 professional educators, disability support workers, academics, students and policy makers from Ireland and many other European countries.
Dane Chan is a blind third year undergraduate in Software Engineering at Dublin City University and one of the first DigiPlace4all Champions in Ireland. Having faced and overcome many challenges to reach and progress in third level education, including many digital challenges of accessing online lecture materials, library catalogues and other services, Dane is now very keen to support other blind students in doing the same.
In their presentation, Mark and Dane described the main features of DigiPlace4all including how to request and offer on-to-one peer support. Dane talked about how DigiPlace4all enables him to use his experiences to support other visually impaired students and demonstrated posting a request live, using his screen reader.
The presentation was very well received and there was interest from inability support workers in Sweden to export DigiPlace4all to that country. Follow-up discussions are in progress.
See a video of the AHEAD conference presentation.

DICE project presented at the European fair in Plovdiv

The 4th European Fair of social economy enterprises took place on 26-29 March, 2015 in Plovdiv. Interprojects Ltd. participated with its own stand at the exhibition, where visitors had the opportunity to learn about the training materials developed in the framework of international initiatives funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme.

Visits to our stand exceeded 250 a day, and among the projects of great interest was DICE and in particular the created portal for communication and mutual support between people with disabilities and the so-called champions in the field of digital technology. Disabled people themselves who visited our stand said they would register in the portal and would use its features as for them it is a chance to gain practical advice and support from their peers with more knowledge.

The exhibition was accompanied by thematic roundtables and discussions. In addition, visitors could ask questions and commented on the content of the presented on the stands goods and services. During the four days of the exhibition the team of Interprojects Ltd. answered numerous questions in relation to the opportunities for registration and use of the features of the portal Digiplace4all.

Among the most frequently asked questions were whether users could enjoy free consultation and how long the portal would function. A number of registrations and requests for support were made in the portal after the end of the Fair.
Overall, these four days were a period of many fruitful contacts, which certainly expanded the list of the stakeholders who will in future be included in the project activities and contribute to the promotion of its results.

DICE on the Fully Abled Student in Kraków

Entrance eventThe 8th edition of the Fully Abled Student Conference was held in Krakow from 29-30 October 2014. The yearly event, organized by the Foundation Institute for Regional Development (FIRR), gathers representatives of universities from Poland as well as non-governmental organizations, government institutions and politician. Among various presentations concerning challenges and good practices connected with life of student with disabilities on the 30th of October, there was also a Dice Project presentation. The presentation focused on the introduction of the DigiPlace4All platform.
Audience of eventMs. Kinga Dumnicka and Ms. Małgorzata Polak talked with great enthusiasm about the idea of peer to peer support. This type of support is the essence and heart of project and the related platform.
The DigiPlace4all portal will be enhanced with access to social media and user generated content to create a dynamic community based on close, direct relationships among people with disabilities, coaches and teachers, and employers.
Presenters Ms. Kinga Dumnicka and Ms. Małgorzata Polak With this tool, people with disabilities will have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and get information on the latest accessible technologies. Creating such a network of mutual support will reduce the problem of the digital exclusion of people with disabilities. The presentation ended with showing the promotional video.

NDA Annual Conference – Employing People with Disabilities

DICE had a poster session (DigiPlace4all presented by Dr. Esther Murphy & Bernadette Meagher) at NDA Annual Conference – Employing People with Disabilities on Wednesday 29 October 2014, 9:00 – 14.30 at Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin.

A comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities in Ireland is currently being prepared and will be published later in 2014 as part of the National Action Plan for Jobs.

The National Disability Authority’s Annual Conference 2014 this year took employment as its theme, with a particular focus on showcasing strategies and approaches that are successful in employing people with disabilities.

The conference brought together employers, policy makers, disability service providers, and individuals with disabilities and their families.

Key note speaker, Dr Michael J. Prince, Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy from the University of Victoria, Canada emphasized the importance of early transition planning and developing links with employers while students were at school.
A personal story was shared by Rachel Ashe; a digital marketing specialist who has epilepsy. She discussed the dilemmas of disclosing her disability during the interview process throughout her career and her experience managing her work environment. Following her vivid presentation, her employer at Hays recruitment emphasized the importance of focusing and nurturing talent and accommodating the individual needs of employee with disability in the workplace.
NDA Executive Director Siobhan Barron introduced the poster session and invited all the delegates to take a tour of the poster presentations, which included a DigiPlace4all poster presented by Dr. Esther Murphy and Bernadette Meagher. There was a lot of interest from disability service providers in learning about DigiPlace4all, and how they and their service users could get involved.

Establishing on-line mechanisms to enable linking peers to support each others’ digital skills needs was recognised as having the potential to be a great support to both people with disabilities and their support circles to help with transition to workplace.

On the day and since the conference, happy to report that several more DigiPlace4all Champions have joined our community!

College Awareness Week

College Awareness Week is a national campaign which aims to promote the benefits of going to college, to help students of all ages to become college-ready and to showcase local role models who are in college. It is being delivered in partnership with the following organisations: Higher Education Authority, the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals and the Confederation of Student Services Ireland. Examples of events during College Awareness Week are listed below. Log onto to find events in your area.

A Report from the Visual Impairment Access Seminar

Date: Thursday 25th September 2014

Venue: Trinity College Dublin, Arts Block, Room 3105, College Green, Dublin 2

Funders: National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning

On Thursday 25th September, Dr. Esther Murphy with TCD’s School of Education and AHEAD co-ordinated the National forum for the enhancement of teaching and learning funded seminar “Addressing access challenges for students with visual impairments making transition into further and higher education”.

The Head of the School of Education, Dr. Carmel O’Sullivan opened our seminar by warmly welcoming the wide range of participants and highlighting the School’s commitment to expanding the inclusive education research led by Dr. Michael Shevlin and supported by Dr. Esther Murphy, Dr. Patricia McCarthy and other colleagues.

Guest speaker Rachel Hewett presented research from two RNIB supported longitudinal studies in the area of transitions for young people with visual impairments in the UK. Transition in her findings is emphasized as a continuous process which builds on experiences over time, and as such there is an importance to plan ahead by considering the skills that a particular young person will require, so this can be incorporated into their education throughout the duration of their time in school.

Our world café followed with tables expertly hosted by two students, Caoimhe Grogan a 1st year UCC student and Dean Cusack a TY student from Waterford, Feach Chair Eithne Walsh, Visiting teacher Mary Harrisson and TCD researcher Dr. Patricia McCarthy.

Lively discussion between all participants including representatives from the National braille production centre, disability officers, NCBI community resource workers and others was skillfully facilitated by AHEAD’s Mary Quirke.
Dr. Mark Magennis Director of NCBI Centre for Inclusive Technology discussed the benefits of mainstream as well as assistive technologies for supporting students with sight loss in education. Mark also introduced DigiPlace4all, the online peer support community to help people with disabilities, educators and employers with digital skills.

The closing words went to Caoimhe who when asked could she share three tips for people in the room, she replied “would it be ok to give five?”

So briefly here they are:

  • To learn braille and mobility from an early age as later it can cause stigma
  • Increase teachers’ use of accessible inclusive teaching format
  • More targeted career advice for visually impaired students to include meeting with peers who had made successful transitions into education and employment
  • Message to other students “know your rights before college, know you can use an advocate”
  • Message to educators and other key workers “listen to the student, all the time!”

See also:

For further information on the seminar, the HEA funded pilot study “Profiles of senior cycle students with visual impairments in Ireland” and DigiPlace4all please contact

Learnabil-IT Project Final Conference

We will attend the Learnabil-IT Project Final Conference on 3 December 2014 (9:00 – 13:00) (programme).

It will take place at:
The Martin’s Hotel
Boulevard Charlemagne 80
1000 Brussels
(Schuman metro)

Funded by the European Commission programme PROGRESS, Learnabil-IT project aims to promote cooperation and mutual learning between the worlds of work and vocational education and training in the ICT sector, and through this support a better skills match and a greater level of employability of people with disabilities in the open labour market.

Registration is still possible.

Employment of people furthest from the labour market and transition from school to work

We intend to attend the EPR Public Affairs Event 2014 “Employment of people furthest from the labour market and transition from school to work” on 3 December 2014 (14:30 to 16:30).

This event will take place at:
Martin’s Hotel in Brussels
Boulevard Charlemagne 80
1000 Brussels
Next to the European Commission, metro stop Schuman

Registration is still possible.


  • Sabina Lobato and Virginia Carcedo, Fundación ONCE
  • Irena Kowalczyk-Kedziora, Council of Europe
  • Fred McFarlane, San Diego State University
  • Luk Zelderloo, EASPD and Social Services Europe
  • Marijke Boone, GTB

The EPR public affairs event will explore the European strategies and best practices for promoting the employment of persons who are further from the labour market, with perspectives from European policy and research experts.

While persons with disabilities represent one-sixth of the EU’s overall working-age population, they are almost twice as likely to be inactive as non-disabled people.* People who are tackling poverty, homelessness or drug addiction as well as prison-leavers also have barriers upon entering (and staying in) the labour market.

This public affairs event will also present the result of a study on transition from school to work, and introduce a few practices identified in the course of that study. The objective of this study was to produce a thematic reference documents with comparable data and reliable facts and figures from the field, as well as recommendations for policy makers and service-providers. This 6 month study was conducted by EPR staff and experts with financial support from the PROGRESS Programme.
* Source: European Commission DG Employment and Social Affairs

This event is open to all interested stakeholders and the programme will be available later in the coming weeks on our website.

This event is supported by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity – PROGRESS (2007-2013).
This programme is managed by the Directorate-General for Employment, social affairs and equal opportunities of the European Commission. It was established to financially support the implementation of the objectives of the EU in the fields of employment, social affairs and equal opportunities and thereby contribute to the achievement of the Europe 2020 strategic objectives.

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