Friday’s Disability Research Forum session

This Friday, 9 March 2018,  we will have our next Disability Reading Group and Disability Research Forum session. The location for both is Arundel 10212B.

At 10:30-11:30am, we will discuss the following article:

Pritchard, E. (2017). Cultural Representations of dwarfs and the disabling affects on dwarfs in society. Considering Disability1, 1-31.

The DRF session will take place at 12-2pm. We will have two speakers.

Our first speaker is Dr Erin Pritchard from Liverpool Hope University

“He’s Adorable”: Representations of People with Dwarfism in Family Guy

This presentation examines how people with dwarfism are represented in the American animated sitcom Family Guy. Whilst the show has been criticised for its controversial humour, in this presentation I argue that the show actually exposes negative social attitudes that people with dwarfism encounter from other members of the public, whilst refraining from encouraging stereotypes of dwarfism. It builds upon Fink’s (2013) suggestion that animated comedies are a source of both humour and social commentary. It is suggested that Family Guy has the potential to challenge social attitudes towards people with dwarfism, and the way they are perceived in society, through directing the humour towards those who mock them as opposed to those with dwarfism.

Our second speaker is Dr Maria Tsakiri from Frederick University – University of Nicosia

Emotion Pictures – Documentary & Disability International Festival and crip activism

My paper will attempt to examine disability film festivals as the spaces where the representations of disability in films, and more specifically in documentary films, work towards a change that is required for understanding disability. I find that the representations that lead to this change are representations of “crip killjoys” (Johnson and McRuer). I also argue that disability film festivals combine arts and activism,bringing together crip killjoys, giving them the space to take action, and challenging notions of normative aesthetics and compulsory able-bodiedness. This paper will suggest that disability film festivals can be the spaces where crip activism works towards inclusion and social justice in austerity times. I mainly focus on the Emotion Pictures – Documentary & Disability International Festival where I undertook my fieldwork at the beginning of my research.

Maria Tsakiri is an independent researcher. She teaches at Frederick University (Cyprus) and the University of Nicosia (UNICAF). Her research interests lie in critical disability studies and film festival studies, focusing on representations of disability in documentary films and crip activism.



DRF session, 28 February 2018

Our next DRF session will take place at the 28th of February at 3:30-5:30pm in Arundel 10212B.

The first speaker is Anna Przednowek 

Caring to Include: A relational study of the everyday life and care with persons labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their families in Ontario, Canada.

How are the everyday lives of adults labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Also known as Learning Disabilities in the UK context) and their familial carers affected by shifting social policies and practices in Ontario? In addressing this research question, I draw on Feminist Political Economy as informed by Feminist Ethics and Critical Disability Studies and apply a relational approach that attends not only to the lives of these individuals (adults labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their familial carers), but, centrally, to the care relations existing between them (Muir & Goldblatt, 2011). I use this approach to explore how practices, policies and relations of care shape their everyday experiences. I take up this project in the Ontario, Canada context where, in the last forty years, deinstitutionalization and cost-constraining policy directions have reconfigured the care and support of people labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities IDD. Some scholars have called for research that explores the experiences and struggles of people labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their supporting family members, whose perspectives have been neglected in both the care and disability policy literatures (Kelly, 2016; Green, 2015).

Anna Przednowek is a PhD candidate with the School of social Work at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She is currently completing a month-long term as a Visiting Scholar with the Department of Education at University of Sheffield, under the supervision of Dr. Katherine Runswick-Cole. Prior and during her doctoral studies, Anna worked as a direct support worker and social worker with children, youth, adults and seniors labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their families in Ontario for over 15 years. Her practice experience working with individuals labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their families largely informed Anna’s decision to take up this topic of “care relations’ in her research.

Our second speaker is Katherine Runswick-Cole

Storying Inclusion: digital stories of enacting inclusive education

In this presentation, I will share some stories collected as part of a research project: Enacting Critical Disability Communities in Education. This is a two-year international Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council-funded multimedia storytelling project, located in Toronto, Canada, focused on  inclusion in schools. The project explores how multimedia storytelling might enhance inclusion by making spaces for a proliferation of representations of autism –  beyond the dominant biomedical model of autism as a deficit in need of remedy. Enacting is a collaboration between Patty Douglas, PI, Brandon University, Carla Rice, from the University of Guelph and Revision: The Centre for Social Justice and Art, and me. Together with other researcher-collaborators, people who identify as autistic, family members and artist-facilitators  created 17 short multimedia films and a documentary about autism and inclusion.

Katherine Runswick-Cole is Professor in Education in The School of Education at the University of Sheffield. She locates her work in the field of critical disability studies.  Recent publications include: Re-thinking autism: disability, identity and equality (Ed with Mallett and Timimi, 2016, Jessica Kinglsey) and The Palgrave Handbook of Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies (Ed with Curran and Liddiard, 2017, Palgrave).




Defiant Lives – film screening and discussion, Disability Research Edinburgh

Thu 22 February 2018

14:00 – 17:00 GMT

Screening Room

University of Edinburgh

50 George Square



‘Defiant lives’ (Sarah Barton, 2016) is a film, telling the story of the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain and Australia, using archival footage and interviews with activists.

For more information about the film see https://defiantlives.com/

The Disability Research Edinburgh network will host this opportunity to see this film and to lead a discussion on disability activism to today. The discussion will focus on the film and its implications for current debates regarding disability rights and collective action

This film screening is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Festival of Creative Learning. For more information about the festival see the Festival website http://www.festivalofcreativelearning.ed.ac.uk/

As well as showing this film, we are organising an event on carrying out research – for information see here

Refreshments provided – please let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements

Tickets are free but please register so that we know how many people to expect.

The film will be shown on the ground floor of 50 George Square Edinburgh and is accessible to wheelchair users. For full information about access to the film screening, see here

The film will have subtitles and facilities for audio-description.

We have booked a sign language interpreter for the discussion.

Please contact us if you have any further accessibility requirements

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Please contact Jackie Gulland jackie.gulland@ed.ac.uk

This event may be photographed and/or recorded for promotional or recruitment materials for University and University approved third parties. For further information, please contact the organiser


Lancaster Disability Studies conference call for papers

The Lancaster Disability Studies conference brings together researchers, practitioners, policy makers and activists from around the world, to share and debate research, ideas and developments in disability studies. In the 21st Century disability activism plays a vital role in identifying and challenging disablist policy and practices which limit and deny the rights of disabled people across the globe. Disability activism has provided a road map of good practice, offering ways to consider the means by which disabled people can live independent lives. Key questions for Disability Studies in this context are

  • what role does/can/should the academy play in supporting disability activism
  • In what ways can the relationship between the academy and activism develop praxis?

We invite submissions of abstracts for either symposia, paper or poster presentations on current research, ideas, issues and new developments in disability studies. In particular we welcome submissions in (but not limited to) the following areas

  • Disability activism
  • Participatory research approaches and practices
  • Impact of global economic changes
  • Welfare reform
  • War, conflict and political change
  • Institutions, independent living and citizenship
  • Normalcy and Diversity
  • Mad studies
  • Media Cultures
  • History, Literature and Arts
  • Transnational perspectives and the ‘Global South’
  • Borders, boundaries, migration and citizenship
  • Theoretical and methodological ideas and debates
  • Assistive technologies
  • Death, dying and end of life
  • Hate crime, violence and abuse
  • Social policy and legislation
  • Human rights and social justice

Abstracts of up to 300 words should be submitted by 31st March 2018. Abstracts should be submitted via the Conference’s Easy Chair webpage [nb, you have to create an easychair account to make a submission.].

Please contact Hannah Morgan with queries about the call for paper or abstract submission.


This is the call for papers for the special Critical Dialogues in Neurodiversity conference stream by the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC):

Whilst there have been a growth in publications and events on this topic, there are also tensions and divides within this area of scholarship (Milton, 2016). In addition, critical research on neurodivergent ways of being other than autism, such as ADHD, is often situated outside of Disability Studies, primarily within the fields of medical sociology or critical mental health.

The vast majority of research published regarding neurodivergent ways of being is closely aligned with clinical practice, resulting in a focus on establishing ways to ‘remediate disorder.’ Whilst there may be indications that this is changing in some quarters, and the view that a neurodivergent way of being can involve potential cognitive strengths as well as limitations is emerging, such views have traditionally been held on the margins. One implication of this has been the exclusion of neurodivergent voices in the processes of knowledge production, leading to research in the field being epistemologically and ethically suspect (Milton and Bracher, 2013).

Whilst seeking and obtaining the views of disabled people is now often a requirement of policy formation or legislation within and across national boundaries, such efforts often remain tokenistic in nature. Another implication is that researchers and policymakers often fail to examine the varying personal and social conditions in which neurodivergent people live, and the impact these have on disablement. Academic narratives about neurodiversity and neurodivergent people and cultures often do a disservice to the diversity of views therein, and can create further barriers by constraining or controlling the way neurodivergent people make their own contributions, are interpreted and are talked about.

This stream led by the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC) seeks to facilitate a sharing of views across critical perspectives within the neurodiversity field. We seek to broaden the field to include a diverse range of neurodivergent ways of being, bridging fields and connecting concepts and experiences, and also to make a positive change regarding the input of neurodivergent scholarship and to further a participatory ethos.

We welcome papers contributing to these goals. Indicative themes:

  • Participatory and emancipatory research with and by neurodivergent people – theory, method and impact on policy.
  • Defining and diagnosing: Issues of identity, diagnostic categories, and the use and impact of diagnostic categories.
  • The dynamics of knowledge production about neurodivergent people, such as within critical autism studies.
  • The barriers and opportunities in considering embodied situated knowledge and academic expertise, in particular for neurodivergent people working within academia.

We will welcome submissions for papers, workshops, or other activities. We will also be looking to compile a publication from submissions to the stream.

If you have questions, please contact the chair of the PARC network: Damian Milton, damianmilton.sociology@yahoo.com


Self-Harm Mini Conference, organised by Steph Hannam-Swain, 24 February

Feb 24th 2018, 2-5pm – Sheffield Hallam University.

A mini conference addressing issues surrounding self-harm, organised by Stephanie Hannam-Swain and funded by Sheffield Hallam University’s Equality, Diversity, and Social Justice Research Group.

Self-harm is an important health concern in the UK with numbers seemingly rising, especially in teens. This mini conference is being held for anyone who has an interest in self-harm as we look at various aspects of the behaviour ranging from self-harm in people with intellectual disabilities to harm-reduction techniques of supporting those who engage in it.


Speakers and presentation titles are as follows:

Stephanie Hannam-Swain – Disabled peoples’ conceptualizations and experiences of self-harm

Dr Kay Inckle – Harm-Reduction: Mainstreaming social justice and user-led interventions for people who hurt themselves

Jess Williams – “They aren’t all like that”: perceptions of clinical services, as told by self-harm online communities

Dr Rebecca Fish – Working with men who self-harm on locked wards

Places can be booked on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/self-harm-a-mini-conference-tickets-39414918081

Please contact the organisers if you have any access needs or dietary requirements that you would like us to take into consideration.

Presentation abstracts can be found at the accompanying website: https://srhannam2.wixsite.com/self-harm-mini-conf

Organisers: Stephanie Hannam-Swain – PhD student, Sheffield Hallam University, organiser for the Disability Reading Group and co-organiser of the Disability Research Forum

Professor Nick Hodge – Autism Centre, Sheffield Hallam University and Lead for the Equality, Diversity and Social Justice Research Group



Call For Papers – Queering Girlhood: Special Issue of Girlhood Studies

In the more than ten years since Marnina Gonick directly challenged the field by asking, “Are queer girls, girls?” (2006: 122), girls’ studies has grown into a formidable, expansive, and increasingly recognized area of academic discourse. Yet, while one might not characterize the “pairing of the words queer and girl” as “virtually unthinkable” in the scholarship today, as Susan Driver (2007: 28) found it then, there remains a distressing inability to dislodge girlhood from its (hetero)normative grounds. The stubborn persistence of white, affluent, able-bodied, Western heteronormative girlhood continues to plague critical work on girls and girl cultures, even as there are repeated calls by major scholars in the field to subvert and complicate this normative girl (Kearney 2011; Projansky 2014). Particularly with the increasing visibility and recognition of transgender and gender diverse girls, the queer girl again most pressingly (and perhaps inevitably) confronts girls’ studies with the imperative to re-examine the very definition of girlhood—a project that, as Whitney Monaghan’s recent work promises, might productively “denaturalise” the “girl” (2016: 35) anew as an entrée into further critical inquiry.

This Special Issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal takes up the project of bringing the queer girl from the margins to the center of girls’ studies by inviting articles from various disciplinary perspectives that explore the experiences and representations of queer girls, as well as the impact of queer girl cultures on the understanding of girlhood. When they appear in public discourse or popular representations, which happens far too infrequently, queer girls usually act as representative of a problem to be solved, a phase to grow out of, or a minor point within a larger debate about young female sexuality. In considerations of queer youth, they again find themselves marginalized or silenced by a seemingly inescapable focus on their male peers. Theirs are, in short, voices we too rarely hear and experiences too rarely figured. Yet, because they are so obviously marginalized by and/or resistant to normative constructions of gender and sexuality, queer girls provoke a number of important critical questions for definitions of youth and of girlhood.

Contributions to this special issue may consider, among others, the following critical questions.

  • How have normative notions of heterosexual childhood/adolescent development dominated understandings of young female sexuality and, therefore, disregarded the complexities of female sexuality and pleasure, or relegated queer sexualities to what is thought of as a temporary phase?
  • How might a disruption of gender binaries or a rejection of fixed gendered designations truly redefine girlhood which has for so long been founded in notions of femininity or so called feminine (and masculine) experiences or behaviors?
  • How does the queer girl have an impact on explorations of female friendship, female bonding, and close-knit groups such as those found in fan cultures or creative production?
  • What histories or archives of queer female experience have been lost from view or silenced in service of a dominant narrative on girlhood?
  • How are queer girls shaped by their position at the intersection of identities based in race, age, class, and/or ability?
  • How do queer girls consume, participate in, critique, and/or negotiate the dominant discourses around girlhood in popular culture that so often exclude their experiences? Do queer girls consume popular culture differently? If so, how? Do queer girls produce different popular culture and other creative media?
  • How do definitions and experiences of queer girlhood vary around the world? How has a particularly white and Western figure of queer girlhood limited the sense of diverse queer girl experiences?
  • What youth subcultures do queer girls participate in and/or create and how might their subcultural practices challenge prevailing notions of female subcultural experiences?
  • How have queer girls engaged with new technologies such as digital media production, mobile apps, social media, and platforms like YouTube and blogging, and for what purposes or ends?
  • What kinds of social and political activism have queer girls been engaged in or even spearheaded and how might their practices further inform our notion of queer and/or girl activism more broadly?
  • Guest Editor

Barbara Jane Brickman is guest-editing this themed issue. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Media and Gender Studies at the University of Alabama. Her research interests are in girls’ studies, feminist film theory, gay and lesbian studies, and American popular culture. Since the publication of her first book, New American Teenagers: The Lost Generation of Youth in 1970s Film, she has written a volume on the 1978 film musical Grease for the Cinema and Youth Cultures series. She is also the founder and director of the Druid City Girls Media Camp in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Article submission

Please direct inquiries to Barbara Jane Brickman (bjbrickman@ua.edu) and send expressions of interest and/or abstracts to her by 19 February 2018. Full manuscripts are due by 16 July 2018. Authors should provide a cover page giving brief biographical details (up to 100 words), institutional affiliation(s) and full contact information, including an email address.

Articles may be no longer than 6,500 words including the abstract (up to 150 words), keywords (6 to 8 in alphabetical order), notes, captions and tables, acknowledgements (if any), biographical details (taken from the cover page), and references. Images in a text count for 200 words each. Girlhood Studies, following Berghahn’s preferred house style, uses a modified Chicago Style. Please refer to the Style Guide on the website: http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/_uploads/ghs/girlhood-studies_style_guide.pdf

If images are used, authors are expected to secure the copyright themselves.

For more information, see http://www.berghahnjournals.com/girlhood-studies


Driver, Susan. 2007. Queer Girls and Popular Culture: Reading, Resisting, and Creating Media. New York: Peter Lang.

Gonick, Marnina. 2006. “Sugar and Spice and Something More Than Nice? Queer Girls and Transformations of Social Exclusion.” In Girlhood: Redefining the Limits, ed. Yasmin Jiwani, Candis Steenbergen and Claudia Mitchell, 122–137. Montreal: Black Rose Books.

Kearney, Mary Celeste. 2011. “Girls’ Media Studies 2.0.” In Mediated Girlhoods: New Explorations of Girls’ Media Culture, ed. Mary Celeste Kearney, 1–14. New York: Peter Lang.

Monaghan, Whitney. 2016. Queer Girls, Temporality and Screen Media: Not ‘Just a Phase.’ London: Palgrave.

Projansky, Sarah. 2014. Spectacular Girls: Media Fascination and Celebrity Culture. New York: NYU Press.

Contact Info

Dr. Barbara Jane Brickman

Contact Email: bjbrickman@ua.edu


Centre for Disability Studies (University of Leeds) seminar series session: Supporting people with mobility impairments in sexual engagement – what is the role of law and policy?

The next Centre for Disability Studies Seminar series session will be presented by Julia Bahner from the School of Sociology and Social Policy, on the 7th of February in G.28 of the Liberty Building at the University of Leeds at 2-3.30pm:

Supporting people with mobility impairments in sexual engagement – what is the role of law and policy?

 Julia Bahner is Marie Curie postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Sociology and Social Policy. Her project Sexual Citizenship and Disability – Implications for Theory, Policy, and Practice explores how issues around sexual support needs of people with mobility impairments (who have mental capacity) are framed within disability and sexual health policies as well as in political advocacy work by disability rights and sexual health and rights organisations. It is a comparative case study of the UK, the Netherlands and Australia.

 This will be a work-in-progress seminar where a preliminary policy analysis of the UK case will be presented, and a paper is available in advance if anyone would like to read Julia’s work in more detail prior to the seminar. In case you would like to have a copy, please email to cds-bounces@lists.leeds.ac.uk 

Dates for semester 2:

14th March 2018, 2-3.30 pm, Liberty Building SR1.13- Ed Hall (School of Geography Dundee), Relationality and Disability

25th April 2018, 2-3.30 pm- Inclusive Education Seminar (Room TBC)

11th May 2018, 2-3.30 pm, Baines Wing SR G.37 – Professor John Vorhaus (Philosophy, UCL) Baines Wing SR (G.37)


Disability & Society Call for Papers: Special Issue 2019

Disability, Activism and the Academy: Time for Renewal?

Our 2019 Special Issue aims at keeping alive the original values and intentions of the journal to bridge the gap between the academy and activists in the disability arena. Through the pages of Disability & Societywe have always wanted to reflect debates and struggles taking place locally, nationally and internationally to improve the lives of disabled people according to the priorities of disabled people themselves.In the next Special Issue we wish to bring together fresh insights into the relationship between disability, activism and the academy and to explore how this is playing out against the backdrop of very difficult times in which disabled people are bearing the brunt of global upheavals and conflicts, austerity policies and the changing nature of political activism amongst disabled people.

We invite contributions which will examine the relationship between disability, the academy and activism in relation to any chosen themes. Back in our first Editorial of 1986 it was said ‘we do not wish the journal to be viewed as a vehicle for merely representing professional perspectives. Thus we want to encourage the consumers of services and people with disabilities to speak for themselves’. We strongly encourage articles written in partnership for the Special Issue, though this is not a prerequisite for submission.

Submissions might focus on:

  • Examples of collaborative activist projects
  • Inclusive research and development strategies
  • The role of changing technologies in activism
  • How accessible is the academy?
  • Power relationships and the reality of participation in decision-making processes
  • Disability policy and service user agendas
  • The work of service user representative organisations
  • Globalisation and the changing nature of political activism amongst disabled people
  • Papers which seek to place debates within the conditions of oppression shared by others involved in liberation struggles.

There is an established well-informed international audience for the journal. Authors are expected to consider this wide readership and to exhibit knowledge of previously-published articles when submitting their work for consideration.

This Special Issue will be published in 2019.

Submission Procedures

Submissions should be made online at the Disability & Society ScholarOne Manuscript site  New users should first create an account. Once a user is logged onto the site submissions should be made via the Author Centre.  Maximum word length is 8,000 words (excluding bibliography).

The final deadline for receipt of papers is 31st August 2018.
No papers will be considered after this date.

For further advice on the submission procedure please go to:
Disability and Society


Next week’s Disability Research Forum events, 15 and 18 January

This January, we will have three events that are chaired by the Disability Research Forum.

The Disability Reading Group and subsequent DRF session will take place on the 15th of January in Arundel 10212A.

During the Disability Reading Group session from 12:30pm to 2pm, we will discuss the following two articles:

Garland-Thomson, R. (2005) “Feminist Disability Studies.” Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 30(2). 1557-1587.


St Pierre, J. (2015) “Distending Straight-Masculine Time: a phenomenology of the disable speaking body.” Hypatia. 30(1).  

The Disability Research Forum session from 2pm to 4pm will feature two speakers.

Our first speaker is Dr Emma Sheppard from Edge Hill University

Considering Crip Time

This paper presents an exploration of why the notion of crip time should be expanded within cripistemologies that consider fatigue, pain, and brain fog – to include experiences of “pacing,” thinking, and living slowly

Our second speaker is Dr Ella Houston from Liverpool Hope University

Disabled Women and Advertising Myths

My presentation is adapted from my PhD research, focusing on the representation of disabled women in UK and US advertising and the extent to which cultural stereotypes may impact on disabled women’s subjective wellbeing. In my presentation, I provide examples of participant analyses and my own analyses of three ads portraying women with mobility impairment, mental health issues and visual impairment. I focus on the ways in which advertising representations of disabled women dominantly support ‘inclusionism’, to use Mitchell and Snyder’s (2015) term, rather than authentic inclusion of bodily and mental health diversity.


On the 18th of January at 2-4pm in Arundel 10212B, we will hold a roundtable event on the Around the Toilet research project called Toilet Roundtable: Conversations about Gender, Disability and Access. This will be led by Dr Jenny Slater, Dr Charlotte Jones, and Dr Jill Pluquailec. 

In this round table we will introduce the Around the Toilet project (aroundthetoilet.com). We will then offer a series of provocations to begin a discussion about toilets, but also wider issues of gender, disability and access. By doing this we will show that although toilets are portrayed as mundane, they in fact, anything but. Toilets not only reflect but also shape socio-cultural-political understandings of who is and isn’t welcome in particular spaces; they teach us about whose bodies matter; and, indeed, the ways that we are able to live our embodied lives.

NB: although this round-table will be largely discussion based, people will be able to engage in various different ways, including speaking, writing, drawing, or just listening. We also always welcome thoughts on Twitter via @cctoilettalk #cctoilettalk