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Inclusive Practices in Teaching and Learning at Third Level - Tuesday

Event date: 05/03/2024 13:00 - 14:30 Export event

Autism Acceptance Festival

DCU, NCI and ATU Sligo are, respectively, the first, second and third HEIs in Ireland to receive AsIAm designation as Autism Friendly HEIs. This year, CCT, DkIT and NCAD are in the processing of applying for this designation.

In 2024, we six higher education institutes are proud to work together to host the first Autism Acceptance Festival, a series of public-facing events to centre autistic people and promote autism acceptance. All events will be online and free to attend.

Learn more about the speakers in this event and find more events in this series by visiting our Festival Hub.

Inclusive Practices in Teaching and Learning at Third Level

Date: Tuesday 5th March

Time: 1-2:30pm

Where: Online (link will be shared here closer to the date)

Facilitated by NCI Professor Leo Casey, Director of the Centre for Education and Lifelong Learning, this session shares positive experiences of both lecturers and students, highlighting things that have worked both in the teaching and the learning practice.  

Our panel members for this exciting event are as follows:


  • Keith Hopper and Elske Rahill, ATU Sligo, the Writing and Literature programme
  • James Garza, CCT, Data Analytics and Computing Lecturer
  • Emer Thornbury, NCI, Computing Lecturer, Computing Support Tutor


  • Brigid MacMurrough, ATU Sligo
  • Cass O’Kelly, NCAD
  • Alexandra Pimentel, DCU

Our Panelists

Speakers at Inclusive Practices in Teaching and Learning at Third Level event

Bios for each of our speakers can be found at the end of the page.

Other Events

If you are interested in finding out more about our other events, please visit our Festival Hub to check out what is happening.

More information on our panelists

Keith Hopper

Dr Keith Hopper teaches on the Writing & Literature Programme at ATU. Prior to that, he taught Literature & Film Studies at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education for over twenty years. He has a strong commitment to Access and Lifelong Learning programmes, and has worked as an Adult Literacy Tutor and as a College Mentor in a voluntary capacity.

Keith has a BA and MA in English Literature from the University of Galway, an MSt in Research Methods and a DPhil in English Literature from the University of Oxford, and an MA in Digital Humanities from King’s College London. He has held research fellowships at St Cross College, Oxford, and at St Mary’s University, London.

He is the author of Flann O’Brien: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Post-modernist (revised edition, 2009), and editor of twenty books on Irish literature and culture. His most recent book is A Door Opening: Sligo and the Legacies of Partition (2023), which he co-edited. (For a full list of his publications, see:

Elske Rahill

Elske Rahill is an Irish-born novelist and short story writer. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, she holds a degree in English, an MPhil in Creative Writing and an MPhil in Gender and Women’s Studies.

Her debut novel, ‘Between Dog and Wolf’, was listed by the Irish Times as one of ‘The Best Books by Women of the 20th Century’. Publications include the novel ‘An Unravelling’ and the short story collection ‘In White Ink’. In the words of The Bookseller, her work explores ‘maternity, nurture, the inequality of social expectations and human compassion.’

She spent over a decade living in France where she worked as a specialist copywriter for governmental and intergovernmental environmental and human rights publications, before returning to Ireland to teach. She has been teaching creative writing on ATU’s Writing and Literature Programme since 2021.

James Garza

James Garza, MSc, a lecturer at CCT College Dublin, lectures on Data Analytics and Computing, emphasising the integration of soft and hard skills into organisations after education. He lectures at levels 7, 8, and 9, using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to create an inclusive learning environment accommodating diverse learning needs. As a contributor to the Autism Acceptance Festival 2024, James intends to discuss the beneficial effects of integrating UDL concepts into teaching to motivate and provide helpful guidance to present and potential students. His dedication to educational inclusivity and diversity is fundamental to his teaching philosophy, ensuring students have equitable chances to succeed.

Cass O’Kelly

Cass O’Kelly is a queer neurodivergent student, currently studying Jewellery and Objects in NCAD. They were previously the PTO for students with disabilities in the student’s union, during which they helped form and run the neurodivergent society and create a sensory room on campus.

Brigid MacMurrough

Brigid L MacMurrough (he/she/they) is a final year student of the Creative Writing and Literature programme at ATU Sligo. She is a writer, poet and visual artist currently based in Sligo. He is currently doing his dissertation on the intersection of online spaces and traditional publishing.

Brigid has been a neurodivergent student ambassador since beginning her studies at ATU Sligo in 2021. Collaborating with both staff and students, Brigid has worked to improve accessibility for autistic students, to advocate on their behalf, and bring awareness to barriers within the college for neurodivergent students. Brigid has a special focus on students with multiple neurodivergences as they themselves have lived experience with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and CPTSD.

Prior to this, Brigid contributed to the writing of a book to support foster carers with Fostering First Ireland and did advocacy work with EPIC (Empowering Kids in Care).