In this paper, we describe the process of transformative co-authorship between researchers and a participant with disabilities. The researchers were conducting a larger study that aimed to identify different factors that shaped individuals with disabilities to assume leadership roles. Drawing from interview data obtained from the participant, one researcher wrote a poem that provided a stage for the researchers and the participant to engage in reflexive process that transformed the researchers-participant relationship to that of co-authors. This paper describes this transformative process and what everyone learned from this enriching experience.


Leadership, Disability, Qualitative Research Methods, Arts-based Research, Participatory Research

Author Bio(s)

Rama Cousik is an assistant professor in special education in the department of professional studies, College of Education and Public Policy, IPFW. Rama is interested in enabling voices of people with disabilities and employs qualitative and arts based research. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: cousikr@ipfw.edu.

Paresh Mishra is an assistant professor of Organizational Behavior and Leadership in the department of Organizational Leadership at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne. Paresh’s research interest includes the topics of emotions in organization, resilience, leadership failure, organizational justice, goal-setting, and evaluation of scientific practices and research impact. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: mishrap@ipfw.edu.

Mariesa Rang is a limited term lecturer in speech-language pathology in the department of Communication Sciences & Disorders at IPFW. Mariesa’s professional interests center around providing a voice for individuals who are nonverbal through modes of augmentative/alternative communication. As someone with two disabilities herself, Mariesa also has a strong desire to advocate for others with disabilities. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: rangm01@ipfw.edu.


We thank India Vision Foundation for funding the original study through the Reeta Peshawaria-Menon Fellowship Award which provided data for this paper.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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