WAVE has appointed 13 outsider researchers, all of them independent thinkers with a great deal of life experience, with their ‘heart in the right place’ and knowledge of social and group processes. They are creative, practically minded experts who adopt a critical position with regard to mainstream society and inclusion and exclusion mechanisms and come from backgrounds that encourage experiment and improvisation.
Outsider researchers initiate reciprocal relationships with people who have severe to moderate intellectual disabilities, and with their social workers and relatives. They are not extra care staff but are asked to regard their engaging in these relationships as part of a mutually enriching process. This requires a high level of courage, stamina, responsiveness, transparency, sensitivity, curiosity, and social skills.
Because of the demanding nature of this role, a detailed selection procedure was used.