Children, Familes and Young People, DRF News

Inquiry announced into the implementation of the right to independent living for disabled people (UK)

Those of you in the UK interested in the impact of funding restrictions on the right to independent living may be interested to know that the parliamentary Joint Committee of Human Rights (chaired by Dr Hywel Francis MP) is conducting an inquiry into the implementation of the right to independent living for disabled people, as guaranteed by Article 19, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Committee invites interested persons and groups to submit evidence on this issue and would welcome written submissions by Friday 29th April 2011.  

The Committee particularly welcomes submissions from disabled people and their families about independent living and how Government policies, practices and legislation or the activities of public authorities and others can implement the right to independent living in practice.

Further information about the Committee’s inquiry, together with questions the Committee intends to address can be found here.

In other related news, as part of the recently published Welfare Reform Bill, the UK government has delayed its decision to remove the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for disabled people living in residential care homes.  Find out more about Mencap’s campaign to protect the DLA mobility component here.

DRF News, Events and Conferences

Seminar Announced on ‘Investigating Socio-Technical Experiences of Disability in Social Media’ (8th March 2011)

The following event has been added to the Other Events section.

Event: Centre for Culture & Disability Studies (CCDS) Research Forum *FREE!*

Date: 8th March 2011 ~ 4pm – 6pm

Venue: WAREE036 (Powys Lecture Theatre), Liverpool Hope University, UK. 

  • ‘Disability 2.0: Investigating Socio-Technical Experiences of Disability in Social Media’ ~ Sarah Lewthwaite (Learning Sciences Research Institute, School of Education, University of Nottingham, UK)

Abstract: For many young people, social networks are an essential part of the student experience. Sarah Lewthwaite explores disabled students’ experiences of disability in social networks to understand how dis/ability difference is ascribed and negotiated within such networks, and the impact it has on university life. This research is firmly located within the social sciences, drawing on the thinking of Foucault to develop understandings of disability and power relations online. However, its research object, the socio-technical mediation of disability, is interdisciplinary, drawing on research territories that are unfamiliar to many disability studies researchers. Sarah gives a backstage look at negotiating a path through interdisciplinary disability studies research, touching on information sciences and human computer interaction, and the particular problems and opportunities that this kind of activity presents. She introduces the notion of ‘bricolage’ as a user-friendly multi-perspective methodology and research approach that has enabled her to develop new, technology-enhanced and accessible research methods, and develop a research lens drawing on complementary methods from Activity Theory, Phenomenography, Discourse Analysis and Case Study. It will be an interactive session aimed at researchers and students, but prior knowledge of the methods and technologies presented is not necessary. Following on from an orientation in social media research for disability studies, Sarah will also talk about the findings of her research, which consider the ways in which social technologies reposition disabled people within taxonomies of identity, enabling some and dis-abling others.

For further information from the organisers, please contact: Dr. Ria Cheyne:

DRF News, Publications

New issue of JLCDS (5:1) is now available

The new issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (JLCDS)  is now available.  Volume 5, Issue 1 is a general issue bringing together the research interests of literary, cultural, and disability scholars from around the world.

Articles include:

  • Ann M. Fox (Davidson College, North Carolina, USA) considers Lynn Nottage’s Ruined;
  • Alex Tankard (University of Chester, UK) investigates of the place of the Victorian consumptive in Disability Studies;
  • D.H. Lawrence and the aesthetics of disability form the basis of an article by Valerie L. Popp (University of California, Los Angeles, USA);
  • Narrative constructions of motherhood and autism are the focus for Josje Weusten (Maastricht University, Netherlands);
  • Natalie Abbott (University of California, Berkeley, USA) writes about the Positive Exposure photography project;
  • Vivian Yenika-Agbaw (Pennsylvania State University, USA) focuses on disability in Hans Christian Andersen’s Tales.

The issue also contains comments from the field and book reviews by Pauline Eyre (University of Manchester, UK), Liz Crow (Roaring Girl Productions), and Michael Gill (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA).

The new issue is available in print and online formats to individuals and institutions who subscribe via Liverpool University Press; it is also part of the Project MUSE collection.

DRF News, Events and Conferences

Exhibition ~ ‘Re-framing Disability: Portraits from the Royal College of Physicians’ (UK)

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in the UK, is hosting an exhibition exploring historical portraits of disabled people. The exhibition will run from 14th February – 8th July 2011, and includes the voices of 27 disabled participants from across the UK, who came together to discuss the historical portraits and their own identities and lives. 

There are many accessible features to the exhibition itself including a film, audio description and audio points, and also the chance to visit the exhibition during one of our late night or Saturday openings.

The exhibition will tour to further venues throughout 2011–12.  (For example, between 28 July and 29 September 2011 the exhibition will be held at Shape, the disability-led arts organisation, in Kentish Town, London.) 

For more information click here.

Children, Familes and Young People

Exploring ‘Children, Families and Disability’ Events

We thought we’d share some more details for the trilogy of *FREE!*events focusing on ‘children, families and disability’ at MMU.   For more information from the organissrs and/or register your attendance please email Katherine Runswick-Cole:

Event 1: Debates in Disability Studies Symposium II: Parenting Disabled Children

Date: 16th March 2011 ~ 11am-3.30pm

Venue: New Lecture Theatre, Gaskell Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. 

Brief Description:  This symposium is the second in a series of events that will reflect on some of the current theoretical and political debates facing disability studies in the UK. It is free to attend and will be of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers of disability studies and related subjects and disability activists.

 Confirmed speakers and papers include:

  • ”I just want some peace in my life’: emotional labour and ‘care’ work in mothering a disabled child’ ~ Chrissie Rogers (Anglia Ruskin University)
  • ”Basically I had a baby and it has completely and utterly affected every area of my life’: Saying the unthinkable in disability studies ~Sara Ryan (Oxford University)
  • ‘Response paper’ ~ Katherine Runswick-Cole (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Event 2: Critical Disability Studies Conference: Child, Family and Disability

Date: 5th April 2011 ~ 10am-4pm

Venue: New Lecture Theatre, Gaskell Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. 

Brief Description:  Call for Papers: This conference brings together an international group of disability studies researchers. This call for papers seeks contributions around the following areas:

  • Challenging the psychologisation of childhood
  • Making sense of normal and normalcy
  • Making sense of and challenging ableism
  • Questioning concepts of ‘good parenting’
  • Intersections of child, gender, class, ethnicity, ability
  • Exploring policy conceptions of child and disability
  • Bringing together ideas from the human and social sciences and humanities

Deadline for paper abstracts: 28th February 2011
Deadline for attendance: 31st March 2011

Event 3: ‘Does Every Child Matter, Post-Blair’: The Interconnections of Disabled Childhoods’ – End of Project Conference

Date: 6th April 2011 ~ 10am-4pm

Venue: New Lecture Theatre, Gaskell Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. 

Project and conference funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (RES-062-23-1138)

Brief Description:  The aim of this conference is to introduce and discuss the findings of the project: ‘Does Every Child Matter, post-Blair?: The interconnections of disabled childhoods’.  The project has explored what it is like to be a disabled child in post-Blair England.  Findings touch on the following key issues:

  • Children’s voices
  • Parents/carers’ views
  • Enabling professional practice
  • Policy for disabled children
  • Methodological approaches
  • Disabled child in the Coalition era

The conference will include keynotes by: Professor Dan Goodley and Dr Katherine Runswick-Cole (Manchester Metropolitan University), Dr Janice McLaughlin (Newcastle University) and Dr Angharad Beckett (Leeds University)

Deadline for paper abstracts: 28th February 2011
Deadline for attendance: 31st March 2011  


Critical Theory

Interdisciplinary Disability Research Conference announced (July 2011) ~ Call for Papers

The following event has been added to the Other Events section.

Event: Postgraduate Disability Research: A Critical Space to Engage ~ An Interdisciplinary Disability Research conference

Date: Wednesday 13th July 2011

Venue: University of Warwick, UK

The event is sponsored by the British Sociological Association (BSA) as part of a series of events for postgraduate students, therefore postgraduate student researchers working in the broad field of disability are invited to present at the conference.  Internationally renowned academics Professor Dan Goodley, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Professor Carol Thomas, University of Leeds, have been confirmed as keynote speakers. 

The event is FREE to attend for British Sociological Association (BSA) members and £25.00 for non-members.

Critical Disability Studies: In concluding his ground-breaking work mapping the terrain for critical disability studies, Goodley (2011 p.157) asserts: ‘while critical disability studies might start with disability, they never end with it’. Whilst the journey might well be non-linear, along the way ‘intersections’ are encountered and engineered which ‘connect disability studies with other important agendas of class, feminist, queer and postcolonial studies’ (p.157). The literatures and debates surrounding disability continue to expand and diversify.  And yet, these flows are happening against economic, social and policy backdrops which serve to further challenge the potentials for change.  There is then, ever more, a need to open up spaces for transdisciplinary debate about the position and future(s) of critical disability studies.  Postgraduate students addressing and engaging with these issues and debates are part of the vanguard of this work.

Conference aims and objectives: Critical Disability Studies is an emerging subfield within the UK, but collective and collaborative spaces within which to explore and interrogate its options are infrequently opened up.  This conference will bring together postgraduate students, disability activists and professionals/practitioners to explore some of the key questions which connect to the embrace of a critical perspective to disability research.  In particular, what kinds of critical disability researchers might we ‘be’ and how should critical disability studies research be ‘done’? 

Issues and themes: We welcome papers that address issues, agendas and debates which take, at least broadly, a critical disability studies approach. 

Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

•    Concepts and their Re/Conceptualisations:  ‘disability’, ‘impairment’, dis/ableism, as well as approaches based upon models, theories and ideological standpoint positions;

•    Performances of Power: artistic, cultural, political, poetic, ritual; protest and activism; violence/non-violence; politicized and contested spaces

•    Histories and Historical Ontologies: globalisation; colonialism and the postcolonial; empire; industrialization; materialism; gender; ethnicity; sexualities; time and memory.

•    Difference and Dialogue: single impairment through to collective disability identity emphases; identity; intersectionalities; diversity; subjectivities; individualism; normalisation

•    Bodies: impairment; embodiment; self and others; performativity; corporeality, materialization; discursive/transgressive/queer bodies; gendered/raced/classed/sexed bodies; cyborgs and hybrids

•    Action, Motivation and Practice: choice, desire, dependence/independence/co-dependence;  freedom/constraint; 

•    Methodology and methods:  examples and experiences of empirical research taking approaches such as: critical; emancipatory; participatory; emerging;

Please submit a 300 word abstract or poster proposal accompanied by a 100 word biography to the conference organisers, Kirsty Liddiard and Simon Blake at

Presentations must be no longer than 30 minutes inclusive of 10 minutes for questions. We would also like to welcome the submission of research posters. Posters must be between paper sizes A3 – A1.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 28th March 2011.

Click here for more information or contact the organisers: Kirsty Liddiard (University of Warwick) and Simon Blake (University of Nottingham)

DRF News

FREE Seminar Focuses on Inclusive Methodologies in Landscape Architecture

The following event has been added to the Other Events section.

Event: Experiential Landscape and Spectrum Active present: Experiential Mapping: Community Participation in Learning and Teaching of NOW and WISH Concepts in Landscape Architecture *FREE!* Seminar 

Date: 22nd February 2011 ~ 12pm – 1.30pm

Venue: The Conference Room, Floor 1, The Informatics Collaboratory of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), University of Sheffield, 219 Portobello, Sheffield S1 4DP, UK

Brief Description:  

The seminar will disseminate work carried out for the Knowledge Transfer Rapid Response funded Experiential Mapping project, carried out by the Experiential Landscape research group (Ian Simkins, Alice Mathers and Kevin Thwaites), Victoria Henshaw, University of Sheffield and Spectrum Active (a Sheffield-based vocational training centre for people with learning disabilities).

Experiential Mapping arose out of a mutually beneficial concept. Experiential Landscape wished to develop and extend the impact of their current mapping methodologies to include use by the community, whilst Spectrum Active aspired to secure the future of their premises and land through development of strategic site design with their trainees. This identified a key opportunity for knowledge exchange through use of Experiential Landscape mapping techniques to enable Spectrum Active trainees to communicate their site experiences and ambitions with professional audiences.

The seminar takes an original perspective on research dissemination with a focus on the participants’ project experience through a participant-led presentation. This is a unique opportunity for university staff, students and external interested parties to hear first-hand a local community’s experience of Experiential Mapping in a real life context. In addition Alice Mathers and Victoria Henshaw will provide an introduction to the project and an explanation of applied sensory methodologies.

The seminar will be followed by refreshments, the opportunity to talk with project members and walk around the project exhibition.

For further information and/or to confirm attendance (please note, places are limited) please contact Alice Mathers at

DRF News, Events and Conferences

Disability and European Literature Event Announced

The following event has been added to the Other Events section.

Event: Centre for Culture & Disability Studies (CCDS) Research Forum *FREE!*

Date: 23rd March 2011 ~ 2.15pm – 3.45pm

Venue: Eden 109, Liverpool Hope University, UK. 

Brief Description:  

  • From Impairment to Empowerment: Mapping Disability onto European Literature ~ Dr. Pauline Eyre (Independent Scholar)

A cultural model of disability calls for the insertion of representations of disability from all manner of sources. Yet the predominantly Anglophone world of Disability Studies has so far had little engagement with the literature and culture of Europe, where English is not the first language. Dr. Pauline Eyre investigates a novel written in German by a Czech writer, Libuše Moníková’s Pavane for a Dead Infanta (1983), and argues that its exploration of life for someone who uses a wheelchair is of great importance to disability scholars.

Thus far, Moníková’s representation of disabled life has been understood by academics in the field of German Studies as a metaphor for the protagonist’s sense of alienation. Only once has the text been examined through a Disability Studies lens, when it was found to be reductive. Dr. Eyre argues that disability scholars must move beyond an assumption that when disability serves a secondary metaphorical function, then it ipso facto fails to represent the materiality of disabled people’s lives. In contrast, Pavane is read here as a vibrant, phenomenological representation of disabled existence.  Indeed, the entire text is understood as the transliteration of a painting, Velázquez’s Las Meninas, which Moníková chose as the frontispiece to the first edition. 

Thus, in the same way that Velázquez’s painting portrays a disabled woman with tender accuracy, subverting conventions about disabled people’s place in representation, so Moníková turns the literary spotlight on someone who uses a wheelchair, systematically yet sympathetically exposing the dynamics of disabled experience: Moníková scrutinizes cultural attitudes to disabled people, probing the relationship between impairment and disability and challenging the opposition of normality and disability.  Indeed, so subversive is Moníková’s representation of disabled subjectivity that ultimately she unfixes altogether the meaning attached to the term disability.

Dr. Pauline Eyre recently gained her Ph.D. at the University of Manchester. Entitled Permission to Speak, it explores the relative merits of autobiography and fiction as a means of both representing disability and challenging prejudice. Her current research interests include disability in TV comedy; the effect of genre on understandings of disability; feminist approaches to disability and ageing, with particular reference to the work of Simone de Beauvoir; and literary and film representations of ageing. She has published work on German perspectives on disability theory and has work forthcoming in an edited book on German life-writing in the twentieth century and in the Edinburgh German Yearbook devoted to disability (2010). She has also written for the forthcoming general issue of Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies.

For further information, please contact: Dr. David Bolt:

A 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 – more info here.