Children, Familes and Young People, DRF News, Events and Conferences

Reminder of the next DRF seminar and more…

Just a little reminder that the next DRF seminar will be held on Tuesday 15th February 2011 (1pm-3pm) in Room 10111 (First Floor) Arundel Building, Charles Street, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, S1 1WB.


  • “How to approach group work among men labelled with ‘learning difficulties’: Should the ultimate goal be participative to improve health instead of being emancipative?” ~ Michael Richards (Department of Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

In this paper, I will explore the best approaches that should be taken with groups of men, particularly the positive effects of using a participative approach. This does not mean rejecting the goal of providing the space for men to be ‘emancipated’, which should still be the ultimate goal, but by being participative, men can still be in control, make decisions and improve their health’. 

  •  “A Review of ‘Designing our Own Asylums’: A Research Project” ~ Mike Walker (Department of Social Science, University of Hull, UK)

This will be an overview of research based upon an ‘observant participant’ method. The fieldwork took place within both secure residential care and a family in which the researcher lived as a full member. The paper will explore how the researcher’s position as someone with complex needs but also academically trained allowed access to areas normally unreachable to researchers. 

An array of *FREE!*events have also been added to the ‘Other Events‘ page including:

  • Centre for Culture & Disability Studies (CCDS) Research Forum (23rd February 2011)
  • Debates in Disability Studies Symposium II: Parenting Disabled Children (16th March 2011)
  • Critical Disability Studies Conference: Child, Family and Disability (5th April 2011)
  • Does Every Child Matter, Post-Blair’: The Interconnections of Disabled Childhoods’ – End of Project Conference (6th April 2011)
DRF News, Events and Conferences

Critical Autism Seminar Day makes an impact

The first Critical Autism Seminar Day was held yesterday (18th January 2011) at Sheffield Hallam University.  The event was co-hosted by the Disability Research Forum, the Autism Centre (Sheffield Hallam University) and Critical Disability Studies @ MMU (Manchester Metropolitan University).  In stark contrast to ‘traditional’ seminars, often led by professionals, which promote autism awareness or intervention strategies, the Critical Autism day offered as a space for people who identify with the label of autism, parents/carers, activists and academics not only to challenge ‘deficit’ understandings of autism but also to challenge the category itself.  An audience of 40 people attended the event, and delegates from Canada joined in the sessions via Skype.

The keynote was given via Skype by Anne McGuire from the University of Toronto.  Anne’s presentation was entitled ‘We have your son…:  Frames of Terror in Advocacy’s ‘War on Autism’ and was warmly received by the trans-Atlantic audience.  There were seven other presentations on the day including: Mitzi Waltz (University of Birmingham) who spoke on ‘Negotiating the autism spectrum diagnosis of celebrities in popular music’; Anat Greenstein (MMU) and Steve Graby (Disabled People’s Direct Action Network and Autism Rights Movement) on ‘Social dis-order: autistic experiences of/in radical political activism’; and Katherine Runswick-Cole (MMU) and Rebecca Mallett (Sheffield Hallam University) presented a paper based on a recently completed book chapter entitled ‘Buying (into) Autism: The Commodification of ‘Disability’ in the Academy’.   At the end of the day Dan Goodley presented ‘Autism: a post-structuralist analysis’ which was followed by a wine reception to launch his new text, Disability Studies: An Interdisciplinary Introduction.

One of the organisers, Katherine Runswick-Cole, said: “This was a fascinating and enjoyable event which brought together a range of perspectives on the cultural production of autism.  The participation of people who identify with the label of autism, parents/carers, activists, academics and professionals was key to the success of the day. The results of the questionnaires completed by delegates at the end of the session suggest that we can be confident that the day had impact.  Indeed, one professional told us that the day had given him new ways of thinking and talking about autism to share with the families he works with.”

For more information about the day or to add your name to a contact list to receive information about future Critical Autism events please contact Katherine Runswick-Cole

The next DRF seminar is on Tuesday 15th February 2011 (1pm-3pm) – details here  

…and remember information on the Debates in Disability Studies Symposium I (26th January 2011) at MMU in Manchester, UK can be found on our Other Events page.

DRF News, Events and Conferences

DRF Update: January 2011

Welcome all to 2011.  As the new year begins, there are a few things we wanted to share with you…

Mencap is holding a series of roadshow events across the UK to tell people about the cuts happening in their area, and to look at ways of working together to fight them.  The events will take place from January to March 2011 and all these Big Cuts events are free.    The dates and times are as follows:

  • 27 January 2011: Hampshire, The Maltings, Alton
  • 1 February: London, Channel 4, Horseferry Road
  • 2 February: Essex, Central Baptise Church, Chelmsford
  • 16 February: Cambridgeshire, Woodgreen Animal Shelter Godmanchester
  • 23 February: Nottingham, Nottingham Race Course
  • 1 March: Devon, ISCA Centre, Exeter
  • 2 March: Avon, Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, Bristol
  • 8 March: Surrey, St Georges Christian Centre, Ashtead
  • 9 March: West Yorkshire, Ramada Jarvis Hotel, Leeds
  • 15 March: Staffordshire, Cannock Hockey and Cricket Club, Cannock
  • 22 March: Manchester, Wythenshawe Forum Hall
  • 23 March: Durham, Durham University

More information, including a booking form, can be found here.  Links to other campaigns against the UK cuts can be found on our UK Activism page.

A slot has become available for the February 2011 DRF seminar (more info here).   If you would like to present a paper or suggest a topic for a roundtable discussion please contact Rebecca Mallett (

Information about a Debates in Disability Studies Symposium I (26th January 2011) at MMU in Manchester, UK has been added to the Other Events page.

The Critical Autism Seminar Day is now just two weeks away – the programme can be found here, please note that there have been a few changes.  Due to the popularity of this event we do not any spare places, so if you are no longer able to attend please email us to free up your place for another delegate.  If you have not signed up but would like to attend the seminar day and/or the book launch please email Katherine Runswick-Cole ( and you will be added to a waiting list.