Events and Conferences, Media and Culture

The Accentuate Symposium: Has there been a Cultural Shift? A Year on from the Paralympic Games

The Accentuate Symposium
Friday 5th July 2013
Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton

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For further information on The Accentuate Symposium or to book a ticket to attend this event, please click on the following link:
One year on from the Paralympic Games – what is the positive legacy for the Cultural Sector and what are the challenges and opportunities ahead of us?

As an incubator for ideas and leader of cultural discussion within the disability context, Accentuate is keen to explore if there has been a cultural shift for disabled people one year on from the hugely successful Paralympic Games.  Therefore we are partnering with The University of Brighton to bring together leaders within the cultural sector to discuss what is working well, as well as the challenges being faced.  This event seeks to explore how we consolidate gains a year on from the Paraylmpic Games and map the new territory.

The Paralympic Games offered a platform to profile disabled athletes at a level that had never been seen before.  Public attitudes were noticeably shifted, along with the sort of media attention which moved us from “tragic and brave” towards genuine discussion about sporting talent.  There was also a spotlight on creative talent, through the Cultural Olympiad events along with the spectacular opening ceremony for the Paralympic Games.  The future looked bright.  So where are we now?  It seems there may have been a reversion of focus.  Very many disabled people have real concerns and fears. So how can we continue the positive sea change in attitudes towards disabled people, that we witnessed during Games time, as well as providing real access to opportunities for disabled people to develop career pathways within the creative and cultural industries?

At this critical juncture we must provide evidence of the success stories and celebrate, because without these, how can we regret their potential loss?

The Accentuate Symposium, in partnership with the University if Brighton, on 5th July 2013 at the Sallis Benney Theatre, Brighton, will bring together key academics, cultural leaders and disabled people to provide a platform to spark this discussion.   A headline panel debate will be followed by three further panels exploring Disability Heritage and the Built Environment, Artists working in the Public Realm and Disabled Young People Building Resilience.  Accentuate will also premier a new animated short lecture by Dr. Tom Shakespeare which will introduce some of the key themes for the headline panel.
All panels will encourage questions from the floor, or at the time of booking tickets.  There will also be opportunities for people to take part in the debate through live streaming and Twitter feeds.

Symposium Programme

Animated Lecture, Dr. Tom Shakespeare

Headline Panel: How do we consolidate the gains and map new territory, a year on from the Paralympic Games?

Chair: Esther Fox, Accentuate Programme Director

  • Liz Crow, Artist and Activist
  • Hannah Morgan, Lancaster University
  • Professor Nick Watson, Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research
  • Dr Alison Wilde, Bangor University
  • Hannah Morgan, Lancaster University
  • Jamie Beddard, Actor and Director
  • Rachel Gadsden, Artist and performer
  • John Harris, Paralympian

Case Study Panel 1:  Young Voices Challenge and Change.

Chair:  Kristina Veasey, Paralympian, Artist and Accentuate Ideas Hub Member

  • Kim Aumann, Director of ART Amaze and part of the University of Brighton’s resilience department
  • William Jessop, Writer and Filmmaker, Blue Apple Theatre
  • Adam Simmons, Young participant
  • Vicky Hope Walker, Driving Inspiration

Case Study Panel 2: Disability Heritage: Disabled People Shaping the Built Environment throughout the Ages.

Chair:  Colin Hambrook, Writer and Editor of Disability Arts Online and Accentuate Ideas Hub Member

  • Rosie Sherrington, Social Inclusion and Diversity Advisor, English Heritage
  • Dr David Bonnet, Architect and specialist in inclusive design
  • John D Walker, Senior Research Fellow, Deaf History, CUPP, University of Brighton
  • Mark Ware, Installation Artist

Case Study Panel 3: Disabled Artists Forging Careers in the Public Realm.

Chair:  Jon Adams, Artist and Accentuate Ideas Hub Member

  • Jonathan Banks, Chief Executive of Public Art Think Tank, Ixia
  • Wendy Mason, Director, AA2A, Artists Accessing Art Colleges
  • Carole McFadden, Drama & Dance Adviser for East Asia, China & Hong Kong, Middle East and North Africa, Arts Group, British Council
  • Zoe Partington

Closing remarks – Vidar Hjardeng MBE

We will also be showing a series of specially commissioned films which include contributions from: Dame Evelyn Glennie, Jenny Sealy MBE, Sophie Christiansen OBE, Dr David Bonnett RIBA FRSA, Nicholas McCarthy, Mat Fraser, Laurence Clark, Katherine Araniello, Hannah Cockroft MBE and David Proud.

There will be an opportunity for drinks and networking at the end of the event.

During drinks and networking you will also be invited to view the MA Inclusive Arts Practice Exhibition, which will be taking place in the Foyer next to the Sallis Benney Theatre.

The Accentuate Symposium is held in partnership with the University of Brighton.
Book tickets now

For further information on The Accentuate Symposium or to book a ticket to attend this event, please click on the following link:
For further information on The Accentuate Symposium email:

Events and Conferences

Sociology of Diagnosis Workshop with Simon Wessely, Monica Greco and Tom Shakespeare (Cambridge 31 October 2013)

The Third ESRC supported Sociology of Diagnosis workshop will be held on October 31st in Cambridge, UK. Our three speakers will be talking about the politics of diagnosis and the potential of collective health movements:

  • Professor Simon Wessely, Professor of Psychological Medicine, King’s College, University of London
  • Dr. Monica Greco, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London
  • Dr. Tom Shakespeare, Senior Lecturer in Medical Sociology, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia

Diagnosis can be liberating and restricting, empowering and dominating. This seminar, organised by Simon Cohn from the University of Cambridge, explores how diagnostic processes infiltrate the lives of ‘the healthy’ and ‘the sick’ alike. Contemporary forms of biomedical knowledge encourage people to think about themselves in new ways, making themselves amenable to medical categories and potentially altering social relationships as they draw on knowledge of their own biology to forge new collectives, both real and virtual. As a result, people with illnesses frequently find both support and meaning from others who share similar experiences, whilst specific-issue health movements can shape medical practice and government policy. However, whilst such observations are evocative, they beg critical analysis. In particular, how can they account for the ambiguity that frequently arises from many diagnostic practices, and the fact that diagnostic categories can, and often are, resisted or disputed? The main focus of this seminar will consequently be to explore ways in which diagnoses are contested, challenged and, as a result, politicised.

The seminar will discuss how diagnostic processes infiltrate the lives of ‘the healthy’ and give rise to notions of ethics of care. The political consequences of collective health movements are also brought into focus. Contemporary forms of biomedical knowledge encourage people to think about themselves in new ways and alter their social relationships as they draw on knowledge of their own biology to forge new communities, (both real and virtual) and reconfigure broader social issues relating to power and representation. However, whilst evocative, this begs critical analysis. For example, it is questionable whether this constitutes a novel development that is dependent on modern biotechnologies. People with illnesses frequently have found both support and meaning from others who share similar experiences and there are instances of specific-issue health movements shaping medical practice and government policy. The main focus in this seminar is the question to what extent diagnoses are contested, challenged and/or politicised. We ask whether the concepts of biological citizenship and bio-socialities have empirical validity and what we can learn from patients and patient groups.

Attendance is free, but you will need to register in advance. For further details and to sign up, please visit the project web site.


Introducing… Grahame Whitfield

From the very beginning, the DRF blog has include a space for brief biographical and contact details to be listed. The People section is open to everyone and anyone interested in disability research.

Our most recent addition is:

Grahame Whitfield: – PhD Student, School of Health and Associated Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield, UK.  After several years working in the UK Civil Service on disability policy and research, Grahame is now a PhD student.  His Project, funded by the NIHR School of Public Health Research, will focus on developing an understanding of how personalisation in health and social care for older disabled people – in particular of moves to deliver Choice and Control in practice – are being responded to by professionals and people and how these can be improved to improve health and social outcomes. Click here for profile.

If you’d like to have your biographical/contact details listed in the People section all it takes is an email to Rebecca Mallett (


CFP: ‘This is my Body’ Conference: Nov, 2013 – Cambridge, UK


Conference Title:  This is my Body

Dates: Monday, 18 November 2013 – Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Location: William Harvey Lecture Theatre, Addenbrooke’s Clinical School, University of Cambridge, UK

Conveners: Dr Olivia Will (Department of Surgery, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, UK) and Dr Lucy Razzall (Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, UK)

Summary: The relationship between the mind and the body raises innumerable challenging questions across the arts, humanities, and social science disciplines. For those who come into professional contact with the human body every day in the National Health Service, the mind and the body are usually considered distinct from each other. This is even reflected in the organisational structure of the NHS, where mental health trusts are separate from other healthcare services. Any medical interpretation of the human body, even while it is grounded in empirical evidence, is also inevitably shaped by the intricacies of cultural context, but this is often overlooked in contemporary medicine.

Keynote speaker:Ludmilla Jordanova (King’s College London, UK)

Call for Papers: This two-day conference aims to return human experience to the centre of medical discussion by bringing scholars of the body from across the arts, humanities, and social sciences together with medical and surgical practitioners from the National Health Service. In engaging with the human body from a wide range of perspectives, this conference will explore the ways in which understandings, experiences, and representations of the body beyond the traditional medical sphere might inform healing and healthcare. This interdisciplinary conference will be the first of its kind ever held at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and will establish an important new interface between the academy and the National Health Service.

We invite proposals (250 words) for 20-minute papers from graduate students and senior scholars in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and from medical students and medical/surgical professionals, which will offer disciplinary perspectives on the human body and experiences of embodiment. Papers could address, but are not restricted to, any aspect of the following:

  • physical and mental illness: treatment and recovery
  • roles, identities, and relationships of patients, carers, and doctors
  • injury, wounds, and healing
  • trauma and disfigurement
  • pain and suffering
  • gender and sexuality
  • life-cycles: birth, childhood, puberty, reproduction, ageing, frailty, death 

Please email your proposal to Any informal enquiries may be addressed to the conveners, Olivia Will and Lucy Razzall.

The deadline for submission is 31 July 2013.

DRF News

Request for Interest in PhD project

Message from DRF Member: Jill Smith


I’m in the market for some families to collaborate with me in my PhD research project at Sheffield University. I’m coming towards my second year of study now and looking for parents and children who would be willing to share their experiences with me.

The project aims to explore the ways in which families talk about autism and their children, and how others around them speak about their child and autism too. I am hoping to broaden my understanding of the ways families involved in ‘autism’ perceive wider discussions of what autism means for their child and their lives.

I feel it would be useful to share a little of my background and motivations for undertaking this PhD to help you understand the direction I’m coming from and to help you decide if you would like to work with me.

My academic interest in this area is both personal and practical beginning in 2006 during a voluntary placement at The Toby Henderson Autism Trust in Northumberland as part of my undergraduate study. Having no prior experience of working with autistic children this time proved exciting, engaging and challenging. Returning to the academic world to see what ‘autism was all about’ I found myself troubled by how little I felt the written world of autism reflected the everyday world of working with autistic children that I experienced. I found it almost impossible to find anything written about the real, the personal, the everyday lives and relationships of autistic children and their families. I was overcome, and disappointed by what seemed to be the dominance of pessimism that seemed to cloud study after study.

I have continued to work with autistic children and their families throughout including summer play-­schemes and work within family homes. I feel that we need to listen more, explore more, and talk more about the lives of autistic children; their happiness, their relationships and their futures outside of the worlds of medicine and psychology, which is what brought me to my PhD studies.

It is with these motivations that I am hoping you would be interested in taking part in this project.  My aim is to work with you towards promoting new ways of talking about autism, autistic childhoods and the everyday value within their relationships and daily lives.

I’m looking for families that are willing to share their experiences and their time. I am hoping to spend time with you informally to talk through my project and to hear your stories about your children. I’d like to spend time with your child too and get to know you all in as relaxed and informal way as possible – I don’t want my research to become a burden or a further obligation in yours or your child’s lives. If you’d like to meet for a chat about what I’m doing and/or taking part that would be brilliant – or we can do it via email etc.

Thank you all in advance for taking the time and the interest to read this – I look forward to hearing from, and meeting some of you soon, I hope!


Contact Details: