I have had a varied educational experience. Prior to joining Keele, I studied English Literature at the University of St. Andrews for 4 years. Being the only permanent wheelchair user on campus during that time gave me an insight into the challenges facing students with disabilities, which has greatly influenced my current research interests. In 2011, I first came to Keele and completed the CPE, where I began to consider the rights of people with disabilities under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in terms of access to goods and services. I then undertook a Masters programme in Law and Society at Keele and my dissertation was based on the barriers facing persons with disabilities in relation to access to public transport. In my dissertation, I considered the appropriateness of maintaining the notions of ‘reasonable adjustment’ and ‘undue burden’ in the rights focused dialogue created by the CRPD. In September 2014, I presented a paper based on this research project at the Lancaster CeDR Disability Studies Conference. In September 2014, I returned to Keele to undertake a Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr Eliza Varney and Professor Anthony Bradney. My PhD considers the barriers facing students with disabilities to participation in legal education.

I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


  • Seminar Leader on Disability and Human Rights on Tom's Human Rights Masters Module
  • Tutorial Teacher on Torts 2

Abi has also taught a Disability centred session on the Schools and Colleges Outreach programme where the group looked at issues relating to access to transport and equality for people with disabilities.

Abi is happy to supervise projects concerning disability, equality, human rights, legal education.


A Pearson, 'Building Access Routes into Blackstone’s Tower: Including Disability Perspectives in the Liberal Law School' Amicus Curiae  Vol 2 No 3 (2021): Series 2 The Society for Advanced Legal Studies
Pearson A, Little C and Gimblett, K 'Addressing Inclusive Teaching and Learning Environments Using Immersive Academic Workshops' SEDA Educational Developments, November 2020 pp.21-23
The rights of people with disabilities when it comes to wearing face masks, BBC Merseyside, 17 August 2020, Listen from 02:03:40:
The rights of people with disabilities when it comes to wearing face masks, Radio Stoke, 17 August 2020, Listen from 1:09:00: 
Mask exemptions for people with disabilities have not been made clear – and this threatens human rights  - The Conversation, 13 August 2020 
Pearson A, Little C and Gimblett, K 'Changing Places to design spaces that do more than tick boxes: A template for immersive Disability Awareness Training for HE Staff,' Society for Research Into Higher Education Newer & Early Career Researchers Conference 10th December 2019 Coldra Court, Newport, Wales, UK
Pearson A, 'The potential role of undergraduate liberal law schools in making ‘jam tomorrow’: Learning from disability, creating Proactive Critical Citizens to address vulnerability in law schools and society.' Vulnerability and the Organisation of Academic Labour  Saturday 26 October 2019 Nottingham Trent University
PearsonA.V., 'The debate about wheelchair spaces on buses goes ‘round and round’: access to public transport for people with disabilities as a human right' [2018] 69 (Spring)(1) Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 1-18
Pearson A.V., "What's worth got to do with it? Language and the socio-legal advancement of disability rights and equality", (2014) 20(3) Web JCLI.
A V Pearson, 'Reasonable Adjustment: The Golden Goose or The Cuckoo in the nest of equality?' (The Lancaster disability studies conference, Lancaster University, Tuesday 9th September 2014).
'Educating Rita (and everybody else too): A case study of the accessibility of undergraduate legal education for persons with disabilities accessing legal education in England'  - A conference paper delivered at the School of Law Annual Postgraduate Research Conference at University of Manchester on 21/10/15.

Research Grants

In March 2019 Abi was awarded a SEDA developing research grant for a project with collegaues in KIITE, Dr Chris Little and Karl Gimblet, tto design an immersive disability equality training programme to assist colleagues and the wider sector in meeting our obligations under the Equality Act, through inclusive teaching practices.

In 2020, Abi was awarded Funding from The Keele Institute for Social Inclusion (KISI) to hold an Academics and Stakeholders Event in Collaboration with Dr Miro Griffiths from Leeds.

The Perspective Collective, opening a window onto rights and reality: hearing and recording experiences of disability rights to shape future responses'

Inviting key speakers with from a variety of institutions and backgrounds would further KISI’s strategic objectives of cross institutional and interdisciplinary work to address issues around representation of previously marginalized communities, to tackle social and political inequalities. The proposed activities fit well within KISI’s overall themes and objectives as well as within the mission statement to achieve a greater degree of social inclusion through interdisciplinary research and internationally and nationally important projects which have an effect both domestically and internationally.  Forging links with the Centre for Disability Studies as Leeds University and the relationship that this will open up with colleagues both nationally and internationally offers an opportunity to place both Keele and KISI on the international stage in relation to work concerning the advancement of the rights of Disabled People.

Themes include:

1) Archives, scholactvism and disability and the role of the academy in increasing representation

2) Disability and Participation (Social, Legal and political)

3) Digital ethics (including inclusive design and empowerment) 

4) Storytelling and emancipatory research

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