Disability Research Forum

… creating spaces for thinking through

2017 PhD Scholarship Programme: UNSW Australia

Posted by rebeccamallett on October 21, 2016

UNSW Australia is seeking applicants for the 2017 Scientia PhD Scholarship Programme

Research Area of Interest: Knowledge Exchange – Social Policy, Government and Health Policy – Social and Educational Inclusion and Disability

Specific Topic Area:  People with cognitive disability and complex support needs – voices in policy and practice

Description of the proposed project: This project will be an empirical inquiry into the experiences of people with cognitive disability who experience intense social disadvantage and connected with mental health issues, substance misuse, homelessness and/or contact with the criminal justice system. The project captures the voices of this group via innovative strategies to ensure the challenges they encounter are understood in multiple arenas of social care.

More information on the scheme and the application process is available via the following link: https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/research/research-culture/scientia-fellowships-scholarships/2017-scientia-scholarships/

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While we’ve been away…

Posted by rebeccamallett on October 20, 2016

After ten years of disability seminars, 2015-2016 saw the Disability Research Forum (DRF) take a bit of a break. We will soon be announcing the return of our seminar series with a range of fascinating speakers.


While we’ve been away, Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: Precious Position has been published by the University of Chester Press. Many of the chapter authors have, at one time or another, presented at a DRF seminar. It’s a book close to our hearts and we thought you’d like to know more.

Description: Emerging from the internationally recognised Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane conference series, the chapters in this book offer wide-ranging critiques of that most pervasive of ideas, “normal”. In particular, they explore the precarious positions we are presented with and, more often than not, forced into by “normal”, and its operating system, “normalcy” (Davis,2010). They are written by activists, students, practitioners and academics and offer related but diverse approaches. Importantly, however, the chapters also ask, what if increasingly precarious encounters with, and positions of, marginality and non-normativity offers us a chance (perhaps the chance) to critically explore the possibilities of “imagining otherwise”?

The book questions the privileged position of “non-normativity” in youth and unpacks the expectation of the “normal” student in both higher and primary education. It uses the position of transable people to push the boundaries of “disability”, interrogates the psycho-emotional disablism of box-ticking bureaucracy and spotlights the “urge to know” impairment. It draws on cross-movement and cross-disciplinary work around disability to explore topics as diverse as drug use, The Bible and relational autonomy. Finally, and perhaps most controversially, it explores the benefits of (re)instating “normal”. By paying attention to the opportunities presented amongst the fissures of critique and defiance, this book offers new applications and perspectives for thinking through the most ordinary of ideas, “normal”.

Editors: Rebecca Mallett (Principal Lecturer at the Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University, UK), Cassandra A. Ogden (Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for Sociology at the University of Chester, UK) and Jenny Slater (Senior Lecturer in Education and Disability Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, UK).

For more info: click here.

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Call for Submissions: Knots: An Undergraduate Journal of Disability Studies #3

Posted by rebeccamallett on October 17, 2016

Journal: Knots: An Undergraduate Journal of Disability Studies

Submissions Due: 1st January 2017

Description: The Equity Studies program (at New College, University of Toronto) invites submissions for the next issue of Knots: An Undergraduate Journal of Disability Studies. Knots is a peer-reviewed journal that highlights high-calibre work by undergraduate students, and undergraduate alumni*, which moves beyond normative biomedical conceptions of disability and contributes to the development and growth of Disability Studies as a field. The editors are open to the widest array of topics that contribute to Disability Studies and to the continued examination and deconstruction of ableism. Submissions in the forms of essays, creative writing, book and film reviews, and art pieces are welcome. Submissions are not limited to students from the University of Toronto.

The theme for Knots Issue #3 is interdependency. Interdependency challenges ableist and capitalist assumptions of independence as a universal ideal. In ‘Changing the framework: Disability Justice’ Mia Mingus (2011) writes:

“we want to move away from the “myth of independence,” that everyone can and should be able to do everything on their own. I am not fighting for independence … I am fighting for an interdependence that embraces need and tells the truth: no one does it on their own and the myth of independence is just that, a myth.”

In a world where the desirability of independence is a rarely questioned norm, embracing interdependency can be a radical act of resistance for disabled people and allies. Interdependency exists on many levels, including (but not limited to) between humans; humans and animals; humans and machines; and within communities.

We welcome a range of submissions, including those that engage with the concept of interdependency in the context of Disability Studies. We encourage all submissions to take up an intersectional analysis.

Requirements and Reviewing: Submissions should be original and unpublished with an emphasis on completed (rather than intended) works. Essays should be 4500 words maximum, excluding bibliography; book and film reviews should be 1000 words maximum; art pieces should be accompanied by an artist’s statement not in excess of 500 words.

Style and Process: Manuscripts should be fully and correctly cited in APA style. Submissions will be evaluated on both significance and relevance to the field of Disability Studies as well as technical strength and clarity, and should be accompanied by a 100-word abstract and a short author bio. Submitted work will be subject to peer-review; successfully reviewed entries will be returned to submitters for revisions before being approved for publication. Once the editorial period has come to a close, we will not accept any changes to an accepted paper.

Submission Procedure & Information: The submission process is electronic: all manuscript submissions can be made online to knots.contact@gmail.com by no later than January 1st, 2017. The author/s name and the title of work both should appear in the subject line of the email; the full manuscript should be attached as a PDF file to the editors.

 Any questions regarding content, submission, or accessibility requests should be directed to knots.contact@gmail.com.

* ‘Undergraduate alumni’ refers to people who are no longer registered undergraduate students but who wish to submit work produced during their undergraduate degree.

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CFP: ‘The Biopolitics of Art Education’ for Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

Posted by rebeccamallett on October 17, 2016

Journal: Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

Call for Papers for Special Issue: The Biopolitics of Art Education

Guest Editors: Claire Penketh (Disability and Education, Liverpool Hope University) and Jeff Adams (Education, University of Chester)

In The Biopolitics of Disability David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder argue that “curriculum needs to contextualize the lives of crip/queer people in order to create a context of receptivity for a more productive interaction with the embodied differences of crip/queer lives in school.” This special issue seeks to explore the ways art education might respond to such a call to develop disability pedagogy and curriculum content with “the active participation of crip/queer subjects.”

Art education has been long recognised and valued for its contribution to learning for children, young people, and adults. More recently there have been moves to explore art education as critical social practice, recognising the importance of art education to identity work. Although lines have been drawn around visual arts education, moves to incorporate contemporary practices have resulted in a more expansive range of approaches (e.g., video installations, performance art, and conceptual art pieces examining the use of text and ready-mades). However, art education has also been subject to criticisms of anachronistic and exclusionary practice.

This special issue asks: is there a need for curriculum reform in order to make crip/queer content integral to art education? How can art education respond to the request for creative pedagogies that resist processes of normalization? How can art education learn from people’s differences? How can literary and cultural representations of disability inform pedagogies in art education? Where does art education fit in recent developments in Disability Studies? How can Disability Studies be informed by recent research in art education?

Please email a one-page proposal to penketc@hope.ac.uk and j.adams@chester.ac.uk by April 1, 2017. Contributors can expect to be selected and notified by June 1, 2017. (Full drafts of the selected articles will be due on March 1, 2018). Please direct any questions to either guest editor.



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Event: Disabled Students at University – Facilities, Support Services and the Impact of Funding Changes (January, 2017; London, UK)

Posted by rebeccamallett on October 17, 2016

Event: Disabled Students at University – Facilities, Support Services and the Impact of Funding Changes

Date: Thursday, 26th January 2017

Place: Central London

*** this event is CPD certified ***

Timed to follow the reform of the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) – which includes a significant reduction in the range of support which can be funded and is due for introduction in September 2016 – this seminar will bring together key policymakers and stakeholders to discuss the immediate impact of the changes as well as steps that can be taken to address further challenges for disabled students’ in Higher Education. Planned sessions will look at the accessibility of campuses, examples of best practice in providing facilities and support services for disabled students – particularly in light of the funding reforms – as well as what more can be done to increase the number of disabled people entering HE in the first instance.

We expect attendees to include university and college leaders and support staff, deans and senior teaching staff; senior representatives from within the NHS and private support providers; assistive technology providers; lawyers; architects, university estates directors, construction companies and others involved in campus design and students’ and lecturers’ unions.

Sarah Howls, Head of Student Opportunity, HEFCE; Professor Geoff Layer, Vice Chancellor, University of Wolverhampton and Chair, The Disabled Students Sector Leadership Group and Paul Williams, Deputy Director, Student Funding Policy, Department for Education have agreed to deliver keynote addresses. Chris Brill, Senior Policy Advisor, Equality Challenge Unit; Dr John Conway, Principal Lecturer & Disability Officer, Royal Agricultural University and Director, National Association of Disability Practitioners; James Elliott, Disabled Students Officer, NUS; John Lamb, Executive Director, British Assistive Technology Association; Mei-Yee Man Oram, Senior Consultant, Accessible Environments and Co-Lead, Accessible Environments Team, ARUP and Liz Sayce, Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK have also agreed to speak at this seminar, as well as a senior speaker confirmed from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

Dr Lisa Cameron MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Disability and Lord Holmes of Richmond, Disability Commissioner, Equality and Human Rights Commission have agreed to chair this seminar.

Link for more info: www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/forums/event.php?eid=1298&t=17783

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Event: Next Steps for Policy on Children and Young People’s Health (February, 2017; London, UK)

Posted by rebeccamallett on October 17, 2016

Event: Next Steps for Policy on Children and Young People’s Health

Date: Thursday, 2nd February 2017

Place: Central London

Guest of Honour: Dr Jacqueline Cornish, National Clinical Director, Children, Young People and Transition to Adulthood, NHS England

Policymakers and stakeholders at this seminar will discuss next steps for improving children and young people’s health outcomes in England. Delegates will consider the early impact of new models of care on better coordinating children and young people’s health services, and the potential for Sustainable and Transformation Plans in integrating care for local populations. Further sessions focus on public health initiatives – such as the Government’s childhood obesity strategy and the introduction of the levy on the soft drinks industry from 2018, as well as progress on increasing the provision of high quality mental health care for children and young people, as outlined in NHS England’s Business Plan for 2016/17.

At this early stage, Eustace de Sousa, National Lead, Children, Young People and Families, Public Health England; Tim Atkin, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Chair of Faculty for Children, Young people and their Families, Division of Clinical Psychology, British Psychological Society; Dr Chad Hockey, GP, Hammersmith and Fulham GP Federation; Matthew Hopkinson, Lead for Mental Health and Bullying, Department for Education; Toby Hyde, Head of Strategy, NHS Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group; Kate Martin, Director, Common Room Consulting; Professor Neena Modi, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Professor of Neonatal Medicine, Imperial College London; Dr Claire Lemer, Deputy Programme Director, Children and Young People’s Health Partnership and Consultant in General Paediatrics and Service Transformation, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust; Richard Stewart, Chair of the Children’s Surgical Forum, Royal College of Surgeons and Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham and Dr Sonia Saxena, Clinical Reader in Primary Care, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London have also agreed to speak. Earl of Listowel, Vice-Chair, All‐Party Parliamentary Group for Looked After Children and Care Leavers and Helen Whately MP, Member, Health Select Committee and Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Health Group have kindly agreed to chair this seminar.

Link for more info: http://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/forums/event.php?eid=1369&t=1869

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Event: Improving mental health provision in Northern Ireland (January 2017; Belfast)

Posted by rebeccamallett on October 17, 2016

Event: Improving mental health provision in Northern Ireland: prevention, treatment and developments in care

Date: Tuesday, 17th January 2017

Place: Belfast

Timed to follow the Department for Health’s ongoing review of the Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability – and with the Minister for Health identifying mental health as a key priority for the forthcoming mandate and pledging to be a ‘mental health champion’ – this timely seminar will assess mental health provision in Northern Ireland. Delegates will have an opportunity to consider the recommendations of the Department’s evaluation of the Bamford Review, including how reform would be implemented and what effect it may have on service users and the Health Service. There will also be an opportunity to discuss how to best utilise the resources allocated for the prevention and treatment of mental health problems; bring out new thinking in relation to methods of care and treatment; and consider issues surrounding the growing problem of poor mental health in young people and mental health issues for older people. Those attending will include key policymakers as well as stakeholders from Health and Social Care services for mental health, advocacy and patient groups, mental health charities and community care organisations, local authorities, academics and commentators, and others with an interest in the important issues being discussed.

We are delighted to be able to include in this seminar a keynote address from Andrew Dawson, Head of Mental Health Policy and Capacity Unit, Department of Health, Northern Ireland Executive. Further confirmed speakers include: Oscar Donnelly, Divisional Director, Mental Health, Learning Disability and Community, Northern Health and Social Care Trust; Dr Iris Elliott, Head of Policy and Research, Mental Health Foundation; Dr Raman Kapur, Chief Executive, Threshold; Dr Gerry Lynch, Chair, Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland and Vice Chair, Royal College of Psychiatrists; Mairéad McCafferty, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People; Trevor Millar, Director, Adult Mental Health and Disability Services, Western Health and Social Care Trust; Professor Siobhan O’Neill, Professor of Mental Health Sciences, Ulster University and Eileen Shevlin, Expert by experience.

Robbie Butler MLA, Ulster Unionist Party Spokesperson for Mental Health and Member, Committee for Health, Northern Ireland Assembly has kindly agreed to chair the first half of this seminar.

For more info – Link: www.policyforumforni.co.uk/forums/event.php?eid=1362&t=18818

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CFP: ‘Autism Narratives’ Special Issue of Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

Posted by rebeccamallett on October 17, 2016

Journal: Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

Call for Papers for Special Issue: Autism Narratives

Guest Editors: Stuart Murray (English, University of Leeds) & Mark Osteen (English, Loyola University Maryland)

2018 will mark the 10th anniversary of the publication of two major studies on the cultural representations of autism, Stuart Murray’s monograph Representing Autism: Culture, Narrative, Fascination and Mark Osteen’s edited collection Autism and Representation. In the intervening years, autism representation has proliferated across media and been re-configured diagnostically in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V. This special issue asks: what current topics shape the cultural conversations around autism? Has the greater profile of the condition over the last ten years led to improvements in the ways it is discussed and greater sophistication in its representations? Have increases in cross-and multi-disciplinary academic work produced more nuanced accounts of autism experiences? Where does the condition fit in recent developments in Disability Studies? In short, do we now know better what is meant by an ‘autism narrative’?

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • – Autism in fiction, film, and life-narratives
  • – Autism and the visual arts
  • – Music and autism
  • – DSM-V and changes in autism diagnosis; the ‘disappearance’ of Asperger’s syndrome
  • – Autism and popular media
  • – Theorising autism
  • – Medical discourses of autism
  • – Autism and social communities
  • – Autism and technology
  • – Autism and inter/dependence and care
  • – Autism and cultural, ethnic and racial diversity

Please email a one-page proposal to s.f.murray@leeds.ac.uk and mosteen@loyola.edu by February 28, 2017. Contributors can expect to be selected and notified by March 31, 2017. (Full drafts of the selected articles will be due on December 15, 2017). Please direct any questions to either guest editor. We welcome contributions from autistic/neuro-atypical persons.

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New Disability Reading Group Starting at Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Posted by jenslater on September 29, 2016

A message from Stephanie Hannam-Swain who is starting a Disability Reading Group at Sheffield Hallam University:

Hello all,

This year I am taking the lead in running the Disability Reading Group at Sheffield Hallam University. It is an informal, supportive group session, where we have a look at some current and/or key literature within Disability Studies, and come together to discuss the article. We aim to meet once a month for an hour. Each session I ask a member of the group to choose the article and lead the discussion, although there is no pressure to do so.

This month the session is being held at Charles Street Building, Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Howard Street, Sheffield S1 1WB in room 12.2.19 at 1pm Tuesday 11th October.

I have chosen an article which I thought was appropriate with the recent Paralympics in Rio.

Schalk, S.(2016). Reevaluating the Supercrip. Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies. 10(1). pp71-86 DOI: 10.3828/jlcds.2016.5

This can be accessed at: http://online.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk.lcproxy.shu.ac.uk/doi/pdf/10.3828/jlcds.2016.5

Please contact me at srhannam@my.shu.ac.uk for further information or if you have any questions about accessibility. If you can’t make this months session but you are interested in future sessions and want to be added to the email list please also drop me a line!

Hope to see you soon,

Stephanie Hannam-Swain


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Improving student health: mental and physical wellbeing in university (Nov, 2016: London, UK)

Posted by rebeccamallett on July 20, 2016

Event: Improving student health: mental and physical wellbeing in university

Date: Monday, 7th November 2016

Place: Central London

This event is CPD certified

More info: www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/forums/event.php?eid=1350&t=18095

Guest of Honour: Gregor Henderson, National Lead for Wellbeing and Mental Health, Public Health England

This seminar will explore issues around the rising numbers of students suffering from mental health issues in higher education institutions, and wider aspects of student well-being including sexual health, nutrition, substance abuse and active lifestyles. It comes amid concerns in the sector regarding the rising number of students suffering from mental health issues and – in a report commissioned by HEFCE – a mismatch in the services available for them. Areas for discussion include the current state of student health in the UK and the key challenges facing university health services for improving the quality of and access to mental health services for students – as well as steps universities can take to better identify and react to students in need of support.

Delegates will also consider latest thinking on how to address the causes in the rise in student mental health problems. Further sessions look more widely at ways forward for improving students’ all-round health and well-being in the areas of nutrition and diet, sexual health, and encouraging active lifestyles, as well as tackling alcohol and drug abuse.

Gregor Henderson, National Lead for Wellbeing and Mental Health, Public Health England has agreed to be Guest of Honour at the conference, Dr Jeremy Christey, Counsellor and Psychotherapist, Counselling Services, University of Sussex and Chair, Universities & Colleges, British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy; Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Founder and Chief Executive Officer, stem4; Michael O’Toole, Chief Executive, Mentor UK; Rosie Tressler, Chief Executive Officer, Student Minds and Jane Shewring, Strategic Lead for Sport – Deputy Director, Herts Sports Partnership have also agreed to speak.

Kevan Jones MP and Viscount Younger of Leckie, former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have kindly agreed to chair this conference.


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