DRF News

Invitation of Participation in Research Project: Cyber Campuses

[Posted on behalf of Louis Nisiotis: louis.nisiotis@student.shu.ac.uk]

My name is Louis Nisiotis and I am a doctoral student at Sheffield Hallam University.  I am conducting an experimental study as part of my PhD degree and I would like to invite you to participate.

My research aims to analyse the flexibility of cyber campuses to support learning and overcome barriers that restrict students from accessing and participating in the University.

There are many reasons why some students cannot regularly attend university, varying from temporary illnesses to chronic medical conditions, army obligations, caring commitments, etc. that restrict their travel from, to and around the educational institution. Attendance and participation in learning is an invaluable experience where the students not only obtain important information but also develop their understanding and skills by interacting with peers and tutors. To support these students, institutions are adopting E-Learning technologies to allow them to access education at a distance. One of these technologies is the use of virtual worlds in the form of cyber campuses.

Cyber campuses are specially designed meeting points that operate on Multi-User Virtual Environments (like Second Life), where users can gather virtually and exchange learning materials, communicate and collaborate in a state of the art 3D environment over the Internet.

For the needs of my research, I have designed a cyber campus prototype and I am investigating its flexibility to support students learning and overcome barriers of access and participation to the university.  To perform this investigation, I am conducting a series of experimental studies that requires the participation of current or recent students.

I invite members of the DRF who, for any reason might face obstacles that restrict their attendance and participation to the university, to participate in two experimental sessions that will be held in the virtual world.

During this unique experience, you will have the opportunity to immerse in the virtual world, virtually meet and interact with other members in real time and attend a learning scenario simulation from the comforts of your own environment.

The sessions are scheduled as follows: (dates and times of the sessions will be mutually agreed.)

Session 1: Introduction, orientation and virtual lecture. In this session, you will learn how to navigate, communicate and interact with other users and objects in the virtual world. After that, a virtual lecture based on the use of virtual worlds in education will take place. Following the lecture, you will undertake a virtual quiz and then participate in a group activity.

Session 2: Focus Group discussion. This session will take place on a different date. In this session, we shall virtually gather together in a friendly focus group and discuss: What are the barriers that make your access and participation to the university difficult? And how the use of the virtual worlds can overcome some of the barriers that restrict you from attending the university.

To participate in this experiment, you will have to install specific viewer software on your computer, login and interact in the virtual world with other participants using a virtual character (Avatar). During this study, you will be asked to complete two surveys and participate in a virtual focus group.

I will be happy to answer any questions you have about the study.  Thank you for your consideration.

If you would like to participate, please email me directly expressing your interest so I can provide you with more information and materials.

If you are interested to participate, I encourage you to join my forum for discussion http://learninvw.com/forum

With kind regards, Louis Nisiotis

Research Student – Sheffield Hallam University

DRF News

CFP: Borders without Boundaries: Canadian Disability Studies Association 2014 Annual Conference (May 2014, Canada)

Call for Papers

Borders without Boundaries: Canadian Disability Studies Association 2014 Annual Conference

Date: Wednesday May 28 – Friday May 30, 2014

Where: Brock University, St. Catherines Ontario, Canada

**DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACT SUBMISSIONS: extended to 15 November 2013**

The Canadian Disability Studies Association invites abstract submissions for papers to be presented at the 11th annual conference to be held at Brock University. Our CDSA meeting is part of the larger Congress 2014 of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

CDSA’s 2014 theme “Borders without Boundaries” reflects the overall Congress theme. We are seeking contributions that demonstrate the ways in which disability challenges, disturbs or blurs the borders of taken for granted or privileged practices in the global north and south. Should your critical work exist beyond or outside of these margins, we still welcome your response to the call.

Submissions are peer-reviewed by panels composed of: faculty, students, and community members.

The five major subthemes are as follows:

1. A disability studies perspective on borders without boundaries

How are images and ideas of disability used to separate, settle and contest cultural divides, political divisions and/or geographic regions? This subtheme broadly considers the relationship between disability and nation-making. We welcome submissions that explore:

  • Disability in global culture and contexts
  • Transnationalisms, border crossings and cosmopolitanisms
  • Disability in relation to colonial continuums and post-/anti-colonial critiques
  • Disability in relation to Aboriginal/First Nations communities
  • Disability and environmental sustainability

2. Disability at the border of academic and activist scholarships

This subtheme broadly explores the tensions between the academic/activist interface. What counts as academic or activist work? What is valued? Can there be academic-activist scholarship? What is gained or loss in a blurring of these endeavours? We welcome submissions exploring:

  • How activism is conceptualized within and without disability studies
  • Disability activist scholarship in the academy
  • Disability studies outreach and education in community-based activism
  • Barriers and facilitators to academic-activist collaborations
  • Disability activist scholarship and social justice

3. Disability at disciplinary borders

This subtheme broadly explores where disability studies is found and placed within the academy. Presentations that consider what makes Canadian Disability Studies distinct are especially encouraged. We welcome submissions exploring:

  • The status and future directions of the field of disability studies in Canada and abroad
  • Professional development for Canadian disability studies students
  • The meaning and limitations of interdisciplinarity in contemporary educational regimes
  • Strategies for troubling, queering and cripping discipline in the academy

4. Disability at the border of mainstream arts and culture

This subtheme explores the ways in which the category of ‘disability’ actively and tacitly creates cultural references, while disability is often simultaneously excluded from mainstream cultural representations. We welcome submissions, including performances or artistic displays, exploring:

  • Arts-based research in disability studies
  • Performances or displays of disability art
  • Literary and cultural analyses using disability studies lenses
  • Historical/contemporary disability communities and cultures

5. Beyond the boundaries of the bordered body – embodiment, technology and virtual spaces

This subtheme explores how disability troubles unexamined relations to the meaning and appearance of “bodies” and embodied relations. We welcome submissions exploring:

  • Disability and the materiality of the body
  • Disability, desire, gender and sexuality
  • Disability, race and racialization
  • The meaning of the ‘human’ and human/technology interfaces

Abstract guidelines:

All session formats are 90 minutes in length. There will be 3-4 papers per session and each paper will be 15-20 minutes in length depending upon the number of papers within the session.

Individual Papers – Individual presentations will be placed alongside two-three other panelists who share a similar focus. A submission will include the following: 1) name, affiliation and contact information 2) a biographical note: 100-150 words as a separate document 3) paper title and a 250 word abstract; the abstract should consist of the following:

  • stated purpose and relevance to one or more of the conference themes
  • significance of the proposal to the field
  • include relevant literature to support your abstract
  • explicit use of disability studies theory, perspective or concepts
  • describe how the work was done
  • contributions to research, theory, activism, advocacy or social change
  • 4 or 5 key words that describe your abstract
  • details of audiovisual needs (e.g. DVD, LCD projection, and/or VHS).

Panels (3-5 more persons) – People submitting a panel abstract are asked to identify and submit proposals around a central topic, theme, or approach. The abstract should include the following:

  • all information as stated in the Individual paper section as appropriate
  • a panel title and a 350 word abstract that illustrates the coherence between each of the panel presentations

Workshops – Interactive sessions organized around a central theme. People submitting workshops should include:

  • all information as stated in the Individual paper section as appropriate
  • workshop title and a 350 word abstract; the description of the workshop’s objectives and content should be as specific as possible

Performances –This may include poetry reading, dance, a viewing, or an installation. We will do our best to provide a suitable space but please be prepared to improvise! Abstract should include:

  • all information as stated in the Individual paper section as appropriate
  • a performance title and a 350 word abstract; the description of the performance content should be as specific as possible

Submission Guidelines

1. Submit via email attachment to: cdsa.acei@gmail.com – by 15 November 2013. The subject line should read, “CDSA-ACEI proposal for Borders without Boundaries”.

2. Attachments should be in pdf format.

3. Please send in two documents for each abstract.

a. One abstract document will have your name, affiliation and complete contact information.

b. The second abstract document must be anonymous. Do not put your name or any other identifying information on the abstract. In addition, be sure to anonymize your pdf document by clicking on “File”, then “Properties”, removing your name if it appears in the “Author” line, and resaving before uploading it. If any identifying information is included on the abstract, the abstract will be returned to the author unevaluated.

We anticipate notifying participants of abstract status by Dec 14, 2013. If your paper is accepted for the 11th CDSA-ACEI conference at Congress you will need to register for Congress as well as for CDSA-ACEI. Registration will be open starting mid-January 2014. Instructions for how to register will be posted at www.congress2014.ca/register. We would appreciate speakers registering by Jan 30, 2014. If this is not possible please email us.

DRF News

Job op: Lecturer/ Senior Lecturer in Education Studies (Sheffield Hallam University)

What: Lecturer/ Senior Lecturer in Education Studies

Where: Sheffield Hallam University (Department for Education, Children and Inclusion, Faculty of Development and Society)

(Note from DRF team: ‘Education Studies’ courses at this institution include quite a bit of Critical Disability Studies and ‘Inclusion’ content – if this is your area, please consider an application.)

Position: Permanent. Full time. £31,331 to £45,941 per annum, dependent on experience

Ref: DS 537/13

More Info: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AHN760/lecturer-senior-lecturer-in-education-studies/

This post offers an opportunity to teach within the Department for Education, Children and Inclusion, contributing to curriculum development and delivery. You will teach on our BA (Hons) Education Studies course as well as other related courses; designing and delivering innovative, high quality and challenging learning experiences, which equip your students with the skills, knowledge and attributes required by employers.

We take a holistic approach to the student experience, aligning our teaching with high-quality learning support and the very best of facilities. Building on this approach you will contribute to curriculum development and delivery, and other forms of scholarly activity as part of a multi-disciplinary team. You will teach and support students by taking a learner centred approach in line with the University’s Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy.

We want to hear from you if you are vitally engaged with your subject areas through research, scholarship, or professional practice, and capable of generating that enthusiasm and commitment in our students. You should have a post graduate qualification in a relevant discipline, alongside well developed and current knowledge and understanding of critical, practical and theoretical issues relevant to Education Studies. You will also need the organisational skills to manage conflicting demands and meet deadlines.

Our employment package includes generous holiday entitlements, pension scheme and other staff benefits such as wellbeing initiatives, child care vouchers, development and training courses and assorted staff discounts.

Non-EU Nationals please note: we welcome applications from non-EEA applicants. However, we have a legal responsibility to ensure that all employees are entitled to live and work in the UK. Before applying please check whether you would be eligible to work in the UK under the points-based system by using the UKBA points-based calculator. For further information please visit the UK Border Agency website. If you will need a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship, contact us before applying to check whether we should be able to issue one if you’re appointed.

Further information and application forms are available by telephone 0114 225 3950 or email recruitment@shu.ac.uk. (Please quote reference: DS 537/13).

DRF News

Event: 30th Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity (May 2014: Hawaii, USA)

Announcing the 30th Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity.

Theme: Learn from Yesterday. Live for Today. Envision Tomorrow.

Date: 19th – 20th May 2014

Place: Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

For more information: 

 Proposal submissions deadline: 31st January 2014.

The event is preceded by the Pacific Rim International Forum on the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities (17th May 2014) at Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Children, Familes and Young People, Disability Studies and..., Inclusion, Majority/Minority Worlds, Publications

New book: Youth Responding to Lives: an International Reader

Youth: Responding to Lives – An International Reader

Edited by Andrew Azzopardi

Part of the Studies in Inclusive Education series edited by Roger Slee

Including a chapter by DRF member, Jenny Slater: Playing Grown-up: Using Critical Disability Perspectives to Rethink Youth

This book draws from various fields of knowledge, in an effort to theorise, create new and innovative conceptual platforms and develop further the hybrid idea of discourses around social inclusion and youth (from policy, practice and research perspectives).

Youth: Responding to lives – An international handbook attempts to fill the persistent gap in the problematisation and understanding of inclusion, communalism, citizenship – that are intertwined within the complex youth debate. It writhes and wriggles to highlight the interconnections between the encounters, events and endeavors in young people’s lives.

The focus of this edited work is also intended to help us understand how young people shape their development, involvement, and visibility as socio-political actors within their communities. It is this speckled experience of youth that remains one of the most electrifying stages in a community’s lifecycle.

Contributors to this text have engaged with notions around identity and change, involvement, social behavior, community cohesion, politics and social activism. The chapters offer an array of critical perspectives on social policies and the broad realm of social inclusion/exclusion and how it affects young people.

This book essentially analyses equal opportunities and its allied concepts, including inequality, inequity, disadvantage and diversity that have been studied extensively across all disciplines of social sciences and humanities but now need a youth studies ‘application’.


DRF News

Enter The Irwin Mitchell & Contact A Family Photography Competition: No Limits!

To the judges, No Limits! is an attention-grabbing image that is positive, empowering and demonstrates that there really are No Limits!, because every disabled person has the right to live their life and work towards their goals without limitations.

Send us your inspiring photos for your chance to win a prize bundle including an iPad and £200 to spend online at Amazon, in association with Contact A Family.

How Do I Enter?

Simply send your pictures to us here for your chance to win. There are four categories to choose from in the competition. Each entry will be divided into two age groups: aged 17 and under and aged 18 and over. For more information on each category and to see some of the entrants so far, click on one of the following:

  1. Ambition: No matter how small or large the task is that lies ahead, ambition is the desire to achieve something that matters to you. Discover more about the ambition category.
  2. Independence: Achieving independent living and seeing the positive impact it has on people is something to be celebrated. Discover more about the Independence category.
  3. Life: Life is about embracing opportunities either at work, home, in education or sport. Discover more about the Life category.
  4. People: People are made up of characteristics, personalities and other qualities making them unique and distinctive. Discover more about the People category.

All abilities are welcomed. We are looking for your own personal perception of ‘No Limits!’. Winners will be judged on individual merit, rather than the standard of photographic technique.

There will be an iPad awarded to one winner from each age group for each of the four categories, as well as an overall competition winner which will be decided by our panel of judges. The judges may also award a commendation for individual entries at their discretion.

The overall winner of the competition will receive:

  • iPad
  • £200 Amazon voucher
  • Annual subscription to Photography Monthly magazine
  • Smartphone attachable lens-style camera

Closing date for entries: Sunday 24th November 2013

Enter the competition now by uploading your chosen picture

Terms & Conditions

DRF News

Announcing 5th Annual International Conference ***Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane***: More Questions of the Human (July, 2014: Sheffield, UK)

Event: 5th Annual International Conference ***Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane***

Theme: More Questions of the Human

Date: 7th + 8th July 2014

Place: University of Sheffield, UK

follow on twitter @normalcy2014  #normalcy2014

This conference is organised by the University of Sheffield, Manchester Metropolitan University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Chester, the University of Toronto in association with the White Rose Studies of Ableism Research collaboration.

The University of Sheffield is delighted to be hosting this conference in July 2014. This year our call for papers encourages engagement with the human and its historically problematic relationship with idealisations of the normal, the able and the non-disabled. The last 4 normalcy conferences have seriously contested and challenged these idealisations. For #normalcy2014 we seek to up the ante a little more and debate together what kinds of human/ity should be valued in our context of austerity, economic crisis and neoliberal capitalism. Some questions that might be addressed:

  • To what extent is ‘the human’ a desirable or problematic category?
  • In what ways do normative understandings underpin ‘universal’ notions of children’s humanity?
  • What does it mean to be post-human?
  • In these times of technological and human enmeshment does it make more sense to talk of the post-human than the outdated category of human?
  • Do we need to hang on to notions of de-humanisation as powerful political statements?
  • What do post-human politics resemble?
  • How do queer, dis/ability, postcolonial analyses evoke different or alternative notions of the human?
  • How might we (not) want to resist, revise and shape notions of the human?
  • Is the human worth fighting for?
  • To what extent is the human an ableist fiction?
  • To what extent are queers and crips nightmare characters to the narratives of humanity?


Abstracts of no more than 200 words (with a short bio) should be submitted by 1st February 2014 to the normalcy2014@gmail.com

Presenters will be informed of acceptance by 1st May 2014.  To secure a place in the conference programme, presenters should have booked a place by 30th May 2014. Keynotes will be announced before November 2013. In the spirit of an eco-friendly conference, registered delegates will be sent information electronically.  Details of accommodation near the venue will also be sent to delegates.

While the conference is FREE, we have secured funding for lunch and refreshments.  Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements so we can make the catering team aware of delegate requirements.


We look forward to welcoming you to Sheffield

Normalcy2014 conference organisers* in association with White Rose Studies of Ableism**

* Dan Goodley (UoS); Nick Hodge (SHU); Rebecca Mallett (SHU); Cassie Ogden (Univ of Chester); Katherine Runswick-Cole (MMU); Jenny Slater (SHU).
** http://whiterosestudiesofableism.wordpress.com/


DRF News

DRF Seminar Series 2013-2014… filling up fast…

We’ve had a great response to our request for presenters for the 2013-2014 seminar series – slots are filling up fast (more info: here).  Don’t forget… if you, or anybody you know, would like to present at a DRF seminar please do get in touch. For that, or any other questions, please email Rebecca Mallett: r.mallett@shu.ac.uk or Jenny Slater: j.slater@shu.ac.uk.

Disability Studies and..., Events and Conferences

Seminar: Interdisciplinary dialogues in disability studies (16th Oct, 2-4pm, University of Sheffield)

You are cordially invited to the 2nd Interdisciplinary dialogues in disability studies at Sheffield University on 16th October 2013, 2 – 4 pm.

This roundtable will include the following contributions:

Rebecca Mallett – ‘From Geography with Love: Tales of a Disciplinary Nomad (With No Reference to Deleuze or Guatari)”

Jenny Slater – ‘I don’t know what my discipline is, but I just get cross about ‘reasonable-ness’ (‘cos it’s everywhere)’

Katie Hemear – ‘Investigation of disease and physical impairment from the study of human remains’

Katherine Runswick Cole and Dan Goodley – ‘Humanities and the Social Sciences: disability and the post-human’

G19 Elmfield Building, Northumberland Roadhttp://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/maps/elmfield

All welcome!

DRF News

Announcing the DRF Seminar Schedule 2013-14

The DRF blog (launched in Sept 2010) now has 760 subscribers from across the globe and has received well over 36,000 hits. As a virtual network of disability scholars, researchers, disabled people and disability activists it has established itself as the place to be.

Today, we are pleased to announce the seminar schedule for 2013-2014. More information on the venue can be found here and we’d like to take this opportunity to remind all presenters of the Accessible Presenting Info here.

If you, or anybody you know, would like to present at a DRF seminar (slots available are shown below) please do get in touch. For that, or any other questions, please email Rebecca Mallett: r.mallett@shu.ac.uk or Jenny Slater: j.slater@shu.ac.uk

1. Monday 11th November 2013: 10am-12pm – Arundel 10111

Slot 1: John Rees  (Independent Scholar): History, Memory: Eugenics and the Holocaust, Fighting the Concept of the Perfect Neo-Liberal Human
being today.

Slot 2: *Available*

2. Monday 9th December 2013: 10am-12pm – Arundel 10111

Slot 1: Sue Chantler (Independent Scholar): Is this inclusive?: Teachers Resisting Narratives of Normalcy within the Classroom

Slot 2: Emma Spring (English Federation of Disability Sport): Findings from a Recent Report

3. Tuesday 11th February 2014: 2pm-4pm – Arundel 10111

Slot 1: *Available*

Slot 2: *Available*

4. Thursday 13th March 2014: 2pm-4pm – Arundel 10111

Slot 1: Cassie Ogden (Univ. of Chester)

Slot 2: Jenny Slater (SHU): Adulthood as Dehumanising Discourse

5. Tuesday 8th April 2014: 2pm-4 pm – Arundel 10111

Slot 1: Esme Cleall (Univ. of Sheffield):

Slot 2: *Available*

6. Wednesday 7th May 2014: 10.30am-12.30pm – Arundel 10111

Slot 1:  Lauran Doak (SHU): Using multimodal analysis to explore the communication of pre-verbal children with autism

Slot 2: *Available*

We look forward to productive and engaging discussions ahead.