Abstract Background

Co-designing Resources to Increase Access to Information and Services: Syrian and Iraqi people with disability from refugee backgrounds and service providers

Project Summary

Syrian and Iraqi people with disability from refugee backgrounds are a growing yet under-engaged group with limited access to disability, community and settlement supports and services that address their complex needs. This Victorian and NSW action research project builds on evidence from previous collaborations to co-design a suite of resources to increase access to information and services.

These resources will build the knowledge and capacity of three groups:


1. People with disability and family members from Syrian and Iraqi refugee backgrounds;

2. Disability-sector service providers and

3. Refugee-sector service providers.


Workshops with people with disability and family members from refugee backgrounds will update and expand existing evidence to reflect their current priorities and perspectives. Action research co-design groups will then identify, prioritise and develop resources to address knowledge and skills gaps with attention to intersectionality and complexity of lived experiences. The co-design groups will be led by and be inclusive of people with lived experience alongside provider representatives from partner disability and refugee services.

The resulting resources will be high quality, accessible in a variety of formats (e.g., brochures, digital-media, arts-based products, plain English) and tailored to cultural and language groups.

Project Team


  • Deakin University

  • University of New South Wales

  • Settlement Services International (SSI)

  • NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)

  • Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (Foundation House)

  • NSW Refugee Health Service

  • Migrant Resource Centre North West, Victoria

  • The Disability Trust, NSW and Victoria

  • Milparinka, Victoria



  • Associate Professor Angela Dew, Deakin University (Lead)

  • Dr Louisa Smith, Deakin University

  • Dr Kim Robinson, Deakin University

  • Dr Jo Watson, Deakin University

  • Hon. Professor Kelley Johnson, Deakin University

  • Associate Professor Caroline Lenette, University of New South Wales, Sydney

  • Professor Katherine Boydell, University of New South Wales, Sydney

  • Dr Maree Higgins, University of New South Wales, Sydney