Research Topic: Disability, Income Security and Social Protection: Exploring the livelihood experiences of visually impaired street musicians in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region
Supervisor: Prof Karen Fisher
Co-Supervisor: Prof Ilan Katz
Mr Quanchai Kerddaen is a visually impaired person from Thailand with a keen interest in policy studies, drawing on an interdisciplinary approach. He received a BA(hons) in Political Science from Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand) in 2002, an MA in Social and Public Policy from the University of Leeds (UK) in 2005, and an MPA from the National Institute of Development Administration, NIDA, (Bangkok, Thailand) in 2010. He was awarded a Royal Thai Government scholarship under the auspices of the Office of Higher Education to pursue a PhD in Social Policy at SPRC in 2013.
Prior to his PhD candidature at SPRC, Quanchai served as a lecturer in the Faculty of Political Science at Ubonratchathani University since 2008, teaching in the field of Politics and Public Policy, particularly in relation to disability issues and policies. He also provided training and academic services in accordance with the needs of the local community, as well as coordinating with and giving advice about educational service provisions for disabled students at Ubonratchathani University and other universities in the Province and the surrounding areas. Besides formal academic tasks at the University, he was also involved in external special activities and events including helping local government organizations to improve the living standard of disabled people in Ubonratchathani Province. In 2010, he was appointed by the Office of the Prime Minister as a group facilitator for a public hearing on Constitutional reform regarding disability and local policy. That same year, he was selected as a disabled representative in Ubonratchathani Province for National Health reform related to disability and health services.
Although the employment right of disabled people in Thailand has been guaranteed by law over the past two decades, a large number of visually-impaired people are persistently excluded from the labor market. Street performing so has unalterably become one of the income sources obtained by many of those who are denied job opportunities. This research aims to make the explanations for people with visual impairment from rural regions being involved and remaining in street performing in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR) which is a large urban area for a reliable income source from a large population. This research will examine social and cultural issues specific to contemporary Thai Society, in particular the Buddhist traditions and interactions with people with disability. This research will additionally study the current employment promotion and social protection conditions for people with disability in Thailand. This research is mainly qualitative in its approach applying face to face, semi-structured interviews with 30 visually impaired street musicians and with 10 key informants from disability organizations, as well as 2 focus group interviews with visually impaired street musicians. As well as using a thematic analysis of qualitative data, the data analysis and interpretation will be emphasized on descriptions and explanations in association with social constructionist approach to disability and social policy. This research will draw the conclusions on how current and prospective employment promotion and social protection could enable visually impaired street musicians stabilize their income sources, to live a dignified life, to achieve their career purpose and make more income generating choices available for them, and what changes could be made in order to facilitate these outcomes.