Dr Sue Porter was absolutely integral to the D4D project.
From the outset, she was a central force in building D4D, developing our initial ideas into something tangible and dynamic. She was absolutely passionate about the topic, and brought a radical campaigning spirit to our work. Eschewing sentimentality, she approached the project with tough idealism.
As an academic, Sue’s contribution to the field of Disability Studies was significant. In recent years she has been involved in a series of research projects in addition to our own D4D (AHRC) project. These included Alternative Futures (AHRC – and also with the D4D team), Tacking Disability Practices (ESRC), Walking Interconnections (AHRC) and Challenging Elites (AHRC).
Her research was characterised by community collaboration, robust humanity and a consistent commitment to supporting the communities involved. Her journal articles and conference presentations demonstrated the same qualities. Fierce in her beliefs, yet gentle on her manner; restless for change, yet patient with people; serious about her work, yet with a sense of irony and dry humour – Sue had a way of working with each team member that imbued the relationship with something special.
Sue was instrumental in ensuring that D4D would be both profound and playful. It is very hard for us in the team to come to terms with never seeing her again, never relishing that rather secret smile. It is impossible not to miss that lovely amalgam of restlessness for a better world and inner serenity. Her authority in the field, her integrity, all that experience and wisdom cannot be replaced. Her sudden death has left an aching void in the project; at the same time, Sue remains an immense presence in our work. We thank her for all she gave us.