Disability Studies and..., DRF News

Understanding disability through online interaction

[From DRF Member: Jayne Sellick  – find out more about Jayne on the People page]

In this piece I would like to draw your attention to a blog that I have composed as part of my ongoing doctoral research in the Geography Department at Durham University (UK). As it is intended to be user-led I’m looking for suggestions about where I might go to address potential participants or audiences; whom to contact to at which organisations or groups; or personal experiences of conducting online research. Despite the accessibility issues associated with some online networks I’m using Twitter and setting up a Facebook group to tell the world about the blog and hopefully start some new conversations!

The Blog – The purpose of disidentities.com is to access the views, experiences, opinions and current debates that are important to disability, health, illness, (chronic) pain and impairment. Drawing on both online and offline participants is just one step towards providing new understandings of the temporal and spatial experiences of dis(abled) identities.

Disidentities.com has been established using a participatory framework that positions the users of the research in a central role, encouraging them to make decisions, choose methods or topics and determine outcomes. Therefore the research project becomes a collaboration that involves working together to produce effective and relevant research.

The blog offers a space to listen, to share and to collaborate, where participants are asked to focus on change over time, thinking through the past or present and towards the future. While this complements the offline encounters that have taken place with wheelchair users; chronic pain groups; amputees; people who are blind or visually impaired; and partners or carers – the project is interested in:

  • Day-to-day and mundane routines;
  • Longer term change over time;
  • Practices and processes encountered or adopted as part of the above;
  • The role of other people (medical professionals, family, friends) in these experiences.

While the blog allows users to address the current themes or adopt their own, the following developed in face-to-face settings with participants retelling their own narratives:

  • The role of recovery refers to using alternative therapies as a way of ‘forgetting’ pain; spacing and breaking up time to perform tasks and organise daily routines; attending hospital appointments as  part of a process of temporary recovery;
  • The role of comfort refers to users discussing moments without bodily or emotional pain;
  • The role of different emotions associated with daily living or other experiences; feelings before, during and after treatment; revisiting emotions from the past; and the future of longer term emotions disidentities.

These are just starting points and provide an indication of things participants have been discussing.

You can contact me directly on j.m.sellick@durham.ac.uk, through the blog or comment on this post below. I’m looking forward to hearing people’s reactions, suggestions and own experiences.

Disability Studies and..., DRF News, Events and Conferences

Workshop on the Economies of Disease and Disability from Antiquity to the Middle Ages (December 2011, UK)

5th Annual Interdisciplinary Workshop: Economies of Disease and Disability from Antiquity to the Middle Ages 

Date: 3rd and 4th December 2011

Venue: University of Nottingham, UK

The ‘Disease, Disability and Medicine’ workshops have been a leading UK interdisciplinary forum for scholars working in a variety of disciplines and regions of Medieval Europe . For this year’s workshop we are inviting both scholars in Medieval Studies and Antiquity.

The topic for the 5th workshop is: ‘Economies of Disease and Disability from Antiquity to the Middle Ages’.

The current economic climate is seeing a renegotiation of the parameters of disability; similar renegotiations must have happened in previous centuries. This workshop will address the following: how did wealth and economy impact on the lives of impaired people, their families/carers and their dependants in Antiquity and Medieval Europe? We are inviting contributions from any discipline related to medical humanities.

Proposals are invited for any aspect of health and wealth, which may include the following topics:

  • poverty and disability (is disability wealth-related?)
  • definitions of disability
  • benefits/ charity and charitable institutions for the impaired
  • health economies
  • the economic impact of epidemics
  • the language of disability
  • burial and wealth of the impaired
  • work and status

We also welcome proposals applying contemporary models to medieval and antique evidence and vice versa.

Please send abstracts (no more than 500 words) to Dr Christina Lee: christina.lee@nottingham.ac.uk by 30th September 2011

For more information click here.

Critical Theory, Disability Studies and..., DRF News, Majority/Minority Worlds, Media and Culture, Publications

New Issue of JLCDS (5:2) is now available: Representing Disability and Emotion

The new issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (JLCDS) is now available.  Volume 5, Issue 2 is a special issue on Representing Disability and Emotion and is guest edited by Elizabeth J. Donaldson and Catherine Prendergast

Articles include: 

Comment from the Field

Book Reviews

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.

For more information, please contact: Dr. David Bolt: boltd@hope.ac.uk

Critical Theory, Disability Studies and..., DRF News, Events and Conferences

Final Few Places Available for… Interdisciplinary Disability Research Conference (July 2011)

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

Date: Wednesday 13th July 2011

Venue: University of Warwick, UK

This one day conference is sponsored by the British Sociological Association as part of a series of events for postgraduate students. Internationally renowned academics Professor Dan Goodley, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Professor Carol Thomas, Lancaster University, have been confirmed as keynote speakers.

Why a postgraduate critical disability studies conference?

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 be less linear than is suggested, 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 literature and debates surrounding disability are expanding and diversifying, 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 at the vanguard of this work.

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 brings together postgraduate students and disability activists from many parts of the UK and beyond 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’? 

How can I get involved?

The event will also see the launch of a postgraduate disability research network, Critical Disability Space, which will provide a critical space for postgraduates on a longer term basis.

Please see our new website for more details including a draft programme of the event.

If you are interested in attending please contact the conference organisers, Kirsty Liddiard and Simon Blake at criticaldisabilityspace@gmail.com before the end of Wednesday 6th July 2011.  Spaces are now extremely limited so please contact as as soon as possible.

Cost: Please note that the event is free to attend for British Sociological Association members (membership costs £35.00 for one year and gets you free access to many other events) and £25.00 for non-members.

Click here for more information or contact the organisers: Kirsty Liddiard k.liddiard@warwick.ac.uk (University of Warwick) and Simon Blake lqxsb2@nottingham.ac.uk (University of Nottingham)

Disability Studies and..., DRF News, Media and Culture

Lawrence Clark Returns to Edinburgh

Underbelly (The Wee Coo), Edinburgh – 3rd-28thAugust (not 16th) @ 6.40pm
Tickets from 0844 545 8252 or the Underbelly website.

What links Stephen Hawking, cardboard tube fights, Shane MacGowan, private health insurance, George Washington, Mussolini, a religious cult, the Queen, global Armageddon and the NHS?  Find out as highly acclaimed comedian Laurence Clark embarks on a one-man mission to help Obama sell the benefits of free healthcare to the American people.

“Intelligent and challenging… always a thought-provoking point behind the laughter.” **** Chortle

Following his critically acclaimed 2008 Edinburgh Fringe show which received an impressive total of eight 4 star reviews, Laurence Clark has taken a couple of years off from the Edinburgh Fringe to focus on his writing and creative development. He now gives talks and performances all over the world – including the US where he found inspiration for his show – and has a dedicated BBC1 documentary secured for Autumn / Spring broadcast. If you’re lucky you may see the crew following him round Edinburgh during the Fringe.

As an actor, presenter, commentator and comedian on BBC, ITV and C4, Laurence appears in documentaries, sitcoms, news shows and features and has also topped Shortlist magazine’s Britain’s Ten Funniest New Comedians. He is now returning to the Edinburgh Fringe to perform his brand new live show Health Hazard!

“Close to the bone and very funny… makes Chris Morris look lightweight.” **** The Scotsman

Inspired by his trips to the US, and the furore surrounding American health reforms, Laurence returned with camera-in-hand to find out for himself exactly how the American public view state-funded healthcare. Surely tales of Americans actually believing the NHS operates specialist death panels who decide whether you live or die are just propaganda and sensationalist press reporting … aren’t they? With personal tales, political exposés and an educational journey punctuated with bizarre incidents and amazing characters, Laurence Clark’s Health Hazard! is a show not to be missed.

“Any vaguely sentient being ought to leave this stupendously funny and thought-provoking show with their sides split and their minds buzzing. Laurence Clark has a wit drier than the Navajo desert, a control of timing that would put Seiko to shame and scores upon scores of fizzingly funny one-liners.” The Stage

Laurence has written 5 highly acclaimed solo shows, is a regular writer for BBC Ouch! and performs and writes sketches for comedy group Abnormally Funny People.  Across all his shows Laurence has had 18 x 4-star reviews and 3 x 5-star reviews.

“Remarkably funny… a damn fine comedian” **** Fest
“intelligent and incredibly mischievous” **** Metro
“nothing short of an excellent comedian” **** Three Weeks

Also visit Lawrence’s website at: www.laurenceclark.co.uk 

Development funded by Arts Council England, DaDafest ’10, Liverpool Decade of Health and Well-Being and North West Training and Development Team


LINK Conference 2011, 5th & 6th July, University of Antwerp

“The only disability in education is the reluctance to change.”  This conference is organised by SIHO (Stuenpunt Inclusief Hodger Onderwijs) and LINK (Learning Inclusively Network + Know-how).

The aim of the conference is to bring together experts, professionals and students from across Europe and beyond to share knowledge and experience in the field of disability in higher education. Speakers will range from students sharing their stories and ideas, to professionals presenting the latest innovations and research.

Topics covered will include:
• Influencing Policy Making
• Promoting Student Involvement and Empowerment
• Embedding Best Practices
• Inclusive Teaching and Learning
• Access to Education & a Professional Career
• Increasing Participation in International Mobility and Exchange Programme

Click on link for conference program: Antwerp Conference Programme