Ms Deborah Lutz

Postgraduate Research

Research Area: Disability

Research Topic: Friend or worker? Understanding relationships between people with intellectual disabilities and their support workers through Institutional Ethnography
Supervisor: Prof Kelley Johnson
Co-Supervisor: Prof Karen Fisher

Debbie obtained a B.A. (Social Work) from the Cooperative State University in Stuttgart, Germany in 2009 and a M.Ed. (Special Education) from the University of Sydney in 2010. She is the recipient of both an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) and a UNSW Arts & Social Sciences Top-up scholarship.

Before starting her PhD in Semester 2 2014, she was employed as a Research Officer at the Social Policy Research Centre from April 2012-August 2013, where she worked on a number of government-commissioned evaluations. Following her employment, she spent several months in Ireland at the National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID), Trinity College Dublin, and returned to Australia in 2014.

Debbie has many years of work experience as a practitioner in the field of disability and has worked as a support worker, teaching assistant, program team leader, and case manager for people with various disabilities in Germany and Australia.

She currently works in the intellectual disability and behaviour support (IDBS) program for A/Prof Leanne Dowse at the UNSW School of Social Sciences and also teaches Qualitative Social Research at the School.

Research Interests

• Intellectual Disability

• Personal Assistance/ support work

• Support/care relationships

• Inclusive and participatory research

• Disability policies and reforms

• Service and program evaluation

• Qualitative research methods

• Quality of life

• Deinstitutionalisation

• Ethical research relationships

Research Summary

Debbie's research thesis aims to better understand the lived experiences of people with intellectual disabilities in receipt of a personal budget (individualised funding) and their support workers in Germany and Australia. Debbie explores the felt experiences of both people in relation to each other. She is using an ethnographic methodology that encompasses participant observations, interviews, and a critical policy analysis to understand how this relational experience is influenced by policies of personal budgets that organise support work (personal assistance) in both countries.


Publications

Journal articles

Lutz, D. L. (2015). Friend or worker? Understanding relationships between people with intellectual disabilities and their support workers through Institutional Ethnography, Human Welfare, 4, 27-33, available at: https://humanwelfarejournal.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/lutz_2015_final-edited.pdf (PDF)

Lutz, D., Fisher, K.R. & Robinson, S. (2015). Sharing the focus: engaging with support workers to include people with communication needs in researchBritish Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol. accepted 13 January. DOI:10.1111/bld.12126

Fisher, K.R., Lutz, D., Gadow, F., Robinson, S. & Gendera, S. (2015). A transformative framework for deinstitutionalisation. Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. DOI:10.1080/23297018.2015.1028089

Consultancy reports and plans

Purcal, C. Smedley, C., Jones, A., Meltzer, A., Lutz, D., Fisher, K.R., Robinson, S., Hill, T., Kayess, R. (2015), Supported Accommodation Evaluation Framework Drop-in Support, SPRC Report 11/2015 (PDF) [2 Mb], for the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing Disability and Home Care. Sydney.

Jones, A., Purcal, C., Meltzer. A., Lutz, D., Fisher, K.R., Robinson, S., Hill, T., Kayess, R. (2015), Supported Accommodation Evaluation Framework Individual Packages, SPRC Report 10/2015 (PDF) [2 Mb], for the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing Disability and Home Care. Sydney.

Purcal C., Fisher, K. R., Jones, A., Lutz, D., Meltzer, A., Hill, T., Robinson, S., Kayess, R., & Smedley, C. (2014). Supported Accommodation Evaluation Framework (SAEF) - Guide for service providers (SPRC Report 32/14) (PDF). Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Australia. 

Purcal, C., Fisher, K. R., Jones, A., Lutz, D., Meltzer, A., Hill, T., Robinson, S., Kayess, R., & Smedley, C. (2014). Supported Accommodation Evaluation Framework (SAEF) - Summary Report (SPRC Report 31/14) (PDF). Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Australia.

Bates, S., Raven, M., Fisher, K. R., Kayess, R., Newton, B. J., Lutz, D., & Smedley, C. (2013). Services Our Way Research Plan (SPRC Report 20/2013) (PDF) [401 Kb]. Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Australia.

Skattebol, J., Lutz, D., Nethery, D., D’aegher, L., & Brennan, D. (2013). Evaluation of the Youth Housing and Reintegration Service, After Care and Supervised Community Accommodation Initiatives: Interim Report. Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Australia.

Lutz, D., Skattebol, J., Thompson, D., & Eardley, T. (2013). Young people leaving care: policies, factors and effective models addressing homelessness. A literature review. Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Australia.

Fisher K. R, Gendera, S., Gadow, F., Lutz, D., Kayess, R., Meltzer, A., & Robinson, S. (2013). Specialist Supported Living Services: post-implementation review summary (SPRC Report 17/2013) (PDF) [2 Mb]. Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Australia.

Conference presentation

Lutz, D. (2017). What can Institutional Ethnography offer? Learning about the connections between the lived experiences of support work relationships and disability policies. Paper presented at the 14th NNDR Conference in Örebro, Sweden.

Lutz, D. (2017). Using participant observations to understand relationships between people with intellectual disabilities and their support workers: methodological insights and challenges. Paper presented at the 14th NNDR Conference in Örebro, Sweden.

Gadow, F. & Lutz, D. (2016). Prioritising the voices of people with intellectual disabilities in fieldwork. IASSID World Congress 2016. Melbourne, Australia.

Lutz, D. (2013). Privileging the voices of people with disabilities in the research process: practices supporting collaboration between researchers and direct support professionals. Paper presented at the Direct Support Professionals Conference 2013, Sydney, Australia. 

Awards

UNSW Arts & Social Sciences Dean's Award for Research Society Impact 2015

Australian Postgraduate Award and UNSW Arts & Social Sciences Top-up Scholarship 2014