Donna Thomson

DONNA THOMSON began her career as an actor, director and teacher. But in 1988, when her son Nicholas was born with severe disabilities, Donna embarked on her second career as a disability activist, author and consultant.    In her book, "THE FOUR WALLS OF MY FREEDOM", (McArthur and Co., September, 2010), Donna examines her personal family experience through the lens of Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach and a wellbeing index created by Sabina Alkire, co-creator of the Bhutan Happiness Index.  Donna examines how social innovation leading to practical solutions for families can thrive even in times of austerity - a subject she blogs about regularly.  

Donna is the International Advisor to the PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship including its social enterprise Tyze and is a trustee of the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies.  She is the co-founder of Lifetime Networks Ottawa, a PLAN affiliate and is a member of the Cambridge University Capability Approach Network.  Donna holds degrees in Fine Art (Theatre), Education and Theatre in Education.  Donna’s interest in new modes of social engagement for marginalized families led her to sit on numerous boards such as the London International Festival of Theatre, Women for Women International Leadership Circle and Dovercourt Community Association.  Donna has spoken on disability and family wellbeing extensively, including at the London School of Economics, the Skoll World Forum, and the International Centre for Evidence in Disability.  

Donna is married to James Wright, Canada's former High Commissioner to the UK.  She has 23 years of experience in giving and coordinating the care of her two children.  Donna is also the daughter and part-time caregiver to her mother who is 90.