Dr Donna McDonald

I am a Senior Research Fellow with the Menzies Health Institute Qld at Griffith University. My health and disability research areas include policy, practices and services (eg the NDIS and NIIS Qld), disability rights,  and the historical and contemporary influence of visual arts narratives of people with disability.  

Over a span of 30 years, I have been involved in developing social policy as a social worker and have worked in several policy domains in Australia and England. I have provided policy advice to Federal, State and Local Governments nationally and internationally.  

As an academic and consultant, I am guided by the principle of inclusion to drive the improvement of disability policies and services. As a writer and public speaker, I understand the power of personal stories to stir new ideas into life, influence policy for the better, and create bonds of fresh understanding.

My publications include my memoir of grief following my infant son’s sudden death in 1987 'Jack’s Story', and essays such as 'I Hear with my Eyes' (Griffith Review 2006), 'The Reluctant Memoirist' (Griffith Review 2011) and 'When Time Stops: The Courage for Joy' (Stories of Complicated Grief: a critical anthology 2014). My book, 'The Art of Being Deaf: a memoir', was published by Gallaudet University Press: Washington DC. March 2014. I am a regular contributor at The Conversation.

And now, as a developing artist, I aim to be more purposeful in my creativity in my work and daily life. I practice drawing as a tool for research. I work with my own drawings, and examine the work of other visual artists to find fresh ways of understanding difficult issues. In 2016, I showed a series of drawings, 'Talking back to Diane Arbus' in two art exhibitions - 'The 5 FIVE Show: Queensland Artists Thinking' (Logan West Library, Artist's Walk) and 'The 5 FIVE Show: 4 + 1 Artists Exploring' (Woolloongabba Art Gallery, www.wag.com.au ).


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