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Envisioning a Care-Centred Society Within and Beyond COVID19

The CareVisions project sets out to reflect on care experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to explore and reimagine how we might envision future care relations, practices and policies in Ireland. It has been established by an interdisciplinary team of academics and researchers within UCC who have diverse research, policy and activist experiences in the care arena.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus significant deficits and inequalities in current care practices and policies in Ireland, and raised important questions about how we think about and conceptualise care itself. CareVisions addresses these questions by drawing on a feminist ethics of care perspective which suggests that care and caring should not be understood in narrow, functionalist terms, or in ways which creates binary categories of people/ways of being (care giver and care receiver, for example), but rather as fundamental to society and for human life to flourish. 

Aims and objectives

The overall aim of CareVisions is to reframe how we understand present and future care relations and practices in contemporary Ireland in light of the challenges and issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project has 3 key objectives:

  • To re-imagine and envision future care relations, practices and policies drawing on and developing a feminist ethics of care approach. 
  • To explore the social, political and ethical implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for care relations, practices and policies in Ireland.
  • To build a collaborative, interdisciplinary network of scholars, policymakers and community/voluntary organisations within Ireland committed to advancing knowledge, theory and public policy debate about the ethics and practice of care in Ireland.

Underpinning the whole the project is a concern to explore moral and ethical questions about the future of care, by developing an empirical ethics of care in the Irish context which both (a) advances feminist ethics of care scholarship, and (b) informs future policy debate and development on care in Ireland.


CareVisions will utilise a range of different qualitative methodological approaches to explore the implications of COVID-19 on care relations, and re-imagine alternative care futures. These include: 

  • Discourse analysis to explore how care relations (including care provision for different groups) have been talked about, represented and constructed in policy documents and political and public debate during the pandemic.
  • Qualitative research methods designed to explore the social, political and ethical implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for care relations, practices and policies in Ireland, by engaging with care givers and receivers, as well as those working within the arena of care provision and policy. We seek to undertake this exploration by addressing care relations in three different arenas: disability, older people, and asylum seekers and refugees.
  • A deliberative process using citizens’ panels, to reflect on the experiences of COVID-19 and ask what we might understand by ‘good care’. The panels will explore the potential of practical pathways towards the development of what we might term a care-centred society.
  • Hosting of a number of collaborative workshops and international speakers as a way of promoting academic, policy and public conversation and participation in debates about care issues in Irish society.

Further details on the CareVisions project are available at the following link: 

Project Events & Outputs

Online Seminar Series 2021/2022:

  • 14 November, 2022: 'The Dark Side of Care',  with Dr Tiina Sihto (University of Helsinki) and Dr Paula Vasara (Tampere University). Details and a recording available here

  • 14 October, 2022: Researching Care Workshop. This full-day workshop, hosted by the CareVisions research project and ISS21, showcased care-related research in UCC. Details available here

  • 25 April, 2022: 'Relational research and producing knowledge about care', with presenter Dr Lizzie Ward (University of Brighton). Details and a recording are available here
  • 7th Feb. 2022: 'The Care Economy in Crisis: A post-COVID-19 feminist recovery plan', with presenters Silke Staab and Laura Turquet (UN Women, New York) and discussant, Dr Ailbhe Smyth. Details and a recording of the seminar are available here 
  • 24th Jan. 2022: 'Care and Capitalism: Moving beyond Capitalocentric thinking about equality, social justice and politics' with Professor Kathleen Lynch, Professor Emerita of Equality Studies at University College Dublin & a Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. A recording of the event is available here
  • 15 Nov. 2021: 'Care Provision: A Feminist Economist's Perspective' with Professor Nancy Folbre (University of Massachusetts) and Professor Mary Murphy (Maynooth University). A recording of the event is available here
  • 11 May 2021: 'What Have We Learned about Long-term Care in the Pandemic?' with Professor Mary Daly, University of Oxford. Further details available here


  • Edwards, C., Daly, F., Kelleher, C., Loughnane, C. and O’Riordan, J. (2023) CareVisions: Re-Envisioning a Care-Centred Society in Ireland Beyond COVID-19. Cork: University College Cork. Accessible at the following link CareVisions Report An easy read version is available at: CareVisions EasyRead Report
  • Daly F. and O'Riordan J. (2023) 'Unintended Consequences: Divisions of Care within Ireland's Response to Ukranian Refugees and Impacts on Asylum seekers', Peace Human Rights Governance, 7(1): 23-44. DOI: 10.14658/PUPJ-PHRG-2023-1-2.
  • Loughnane, C., Kelleher, C. and Edwards, C. (2023) ‘Care full deliberation? Care work and Ireland’s citizens’ assembly on gender equality’, Critical Social Policy DOI: 10.1177/02610183231169195
  • O’Riordan, J., Daly, F., Loughnane, C., Kelleher, C. & Edwards, C. (2023) 'CareVisions: Enacting the Feminist Ethics of Care in Empirical Research', Ethics and Social Welfare, DOI: 10.1080/17496535.2023.2173794
  • Daly, F., & Edwards, C. (2022). Tracing State Accountability for COVID-19: Representing Care within Ireland’s Response to the Pandemic. Social Policy and Society, 1-13. doi:10.1017/S1474746422000665  
  • Loughnane, C., & Edwards, C. (2022). Reimagining care discourses through a feminist ethics of care: analysing Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality, International Journal of Care and Caring

Other outputs

A full list of project briefing papers and conference presentations is available at: Team Outputs — CareVisions (

Funder & Project Dates

This project has been funded by the Carolan Research Trust and runs from 2020 - 2024.

Project team

Dr Claire Edwards, Director ISS21 & School of Applied Social Studies:

Dr Carol Kelleher, ISS21 & Management and Marketing:

Dr Jacqui O’Riordan, ISS21 & Applied Social Studies:

Dr Felicity Daly, CARE-VISION Postdoctoral researcher, ISS21:

Dr Cliona Loughnane, CARE-VISION Postdoctoral researcher, ISS21:

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

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