PhD opportunity at Sheffield Hallam University: Exploring the lives of trans, non-binary and gender nonconforming disabled young people

Project Lead: Dr Jen Slater (j.slater@shu.ac.uk)

A recent report from the UK Anti-Bullying Alliance (2017) indicated that disabled young people are often not believed when they say that they are trans. Noting this, and a general lack of qualitative research documenting the experience of trans and non-binary disabled children and young people, you will develop qualitative methods to explore the lives of trans and non-binary disabled young people. You are free to develop a proposal within this broad remit, which may wish to concentrate on a particular context (e.g. schools, families, youth services, media representation, age-group). Applications which critique medicalised approaches are particularly welcome.

It is anticipated that the project would lead to public and professional engagement activities that could inform popular perceptions and understandings, and likely lead to impact on practice in education settings, and across voluntary and youth sector services. In turn this could contribute to potentially marginalised young people’s wellbeing. This impact will be supported via the supervisors’ existing activities and relationships with relevant public bodies and voluntary sector organisations. Our aim would always be to extend dissemination well beyond the academy. The supervisors in Sheffield Institute of Education (SIoE) have experience of accessing further funding to support such activities, for example having run various successful ESRC Festival of Social Science events previously.

Successful applicants will receive the additional benefits of involvement with the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership Education, Childhood, and Youth Pathway.

How to apply

Applicants must email a postgraduate application form (including a 1500 word proposal) to fdsresearch@shu.ac.uk by 17:00 on Wednesday 24 January 2018. At this stage, you only need to include the names and contact details for referees and do not have to request references.

We strongly recommend that you contact the theme lead
to discuss and develop your research proposal before submitting your application form. Please indicate clearly in your email whether you would like to be considered for: • Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Scholarship offered by the Faculty of Development and Society • University PhD scholarship • White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership scholarship • All scholarship schemes

Please note – GTA scholarship holders will be expected to contribute to the resourcing of the student experience during their second and third years of study, either through seminar teaching or some other form of student support. This forms part of the terms and conditions of the scholarship and there is no additional payment for it.

Successful applicants who are studying for a masters qualification must complete their course of study before taking up their PhD place.

Fees are paid at home/EU levels only. Where English is not your first language, you must show evidence of English language ability to the following minimum level of proficiency: an overall IELTS score of 7.0 or above, with at least 7.0 in each component or an accepted equivalent. Please note that your test score must be current, i.e. within the last two years.

Please view our eligibility criteria before submitting an application.


Postponement of the Around the Toilet event to 18 January

We are sorry to announce that the Around the Toilet roundtable discussion, planned on the 7th of December, has been cancelled. It has been moved to Thursday the 18th of January at 2-4pm in Arundel 10212B.

As a refresher, this is the abstract:

In this round table we will introduce the Around the Toilet project (aroundthetoilet.com). We will then offer a series of provocations to begin a discussion about toilets, but also wider issues of gender, disability and access. By doing this we will show that although toilets are portrayed as mundane, they in fact, anything but. Toilets not only reflect but also shape socio-cultural-political understandings of who is and isn’t welcome in particular spaces; they teach us about whose bodies matter; and, indeed, the ways that we are able to live our embodied lives.

NB: although this round-table will be largely discussion based, people will be able to engage in various different ways, including speaking, writing, drawing, or just listening. We also always welcome thoughts on Twitter via @cctoilettalk #cctoilettalk


Autism Dialogue session series at the Hubs

Sheffield Hallam University will host a new session series called Autism Dialogue for all Autistic students and staff at any university.

These sessions will be held in the Common Room at The Hubs (the Sheffield Hallam Student Union Building, Paternoster Row)

The sessions will take place at every 2nd Tuesday of the month starting Dec 8th from 1.30pm – 5pm

There are 30 spaces available. No previous experience is necessary.

Info and booking: http://bit.ly/2zFHM13


Call for Papers: Emotional Politics. The Role of Affect in Social Movements and Organizing, University of Kent

Thursday, 31 May 2018

University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Dr Carolyn Pedwell (University of Kent)

This one-day interdisciplinary conference will bring together academic researchers, activists, policy-makers and practitioners to exchange and discuss current concerns and developments in the research and practice surrounding emotion, organizing and social movements.

Veteran activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis (2016) claims that in order for a movement to be effective it needs to mobilize the masses. How does one do this? What motivates people to join a movement, especially if they are not directly affected by the campaign’s agenda and the successful implementation of its goals? Deborah Gould (2009) argues that the purposeful channelling of emotion can be decisive for the success or failure of a movement. Recent campaigns such as Black Lives Matter or the Women’s Marches, though US-centric, have managed to garner the support from millions of people worldwide. According to Carolyn Pedwell (2014) and Sara Ahmed (2004), the key lies in the relational nature of such elusive terms as emotion, feeling and affect and their ability to circulate between subjects and objects. How can organizers and campaigners make use of these characteristics? What problems may arise in the concrete experience of organizing?

Themes for papers may include (but are not restricted to):

  • Politics, emotion, and affect
  • Social movements, rights-based action, campaigning and protest (for example, LGBTQI+, disability, human rights)
  • NGOs and non-profit organisations
  • Critical race, gender, and cultural studies
  • Queer, trans and feminist activisms
  • Legal and political studies perspectives
  • Political theologies and philosophies
  • Queer and non-binary phenomenologies
  • Alienation and engagements
  • Practice-based activism and activist-scholars
  • Influencing policy and policy formation

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words for a twenty-minute research paper to emotionalpolitics@gmail.com by Friday, 22 December 2017.

We also welcome contributions by activists and practitioners on their experience of the role of affect and emotion in their work. Please submit a proposal of no more than 250 words for a 10-minute presentation.

Postgraduates and early career researchers are particularly encouraged to submit proposals.


December’s Disability Reading Group

December’s Disability Reading Group session will take place on the 11th of December at  1pm until 2pm in Arundel 10212B

Emma Rice, who will speak at the DRF session on the same day, has proposed the following article and questions to think about:

Justine Mercer (2007) The challenges of insider research in educational institutions: wielding a double‐edged sword and resolving delicate dilemmas, Oxford Review of Education, 33:1, 1-17, DOI: 10.1080/03054980601094651

When reading this methodological paper please consider the following:

  • Where might you place yourself in relation to the insider/ outsider position within research?
  • Does this lead to any conflicts or challenges for your research?
  • What relevance do these debates have to disability research?

Around the Toilet event, 7 December

This event will be held in collaboration with the Around the Toilet project on the 7th of December at 1-3pm in Arundel 10111, Charles Street, Sheffield Hallam University City Campus.

Toilet Roundtable: Conversations about Gender, Disability and Access – Jenny Slater, Charlotte Jones and Jill Pluquailec

In this round table we will introduce the Around the Toilet project (aroundthetoilet.com). We will then offer a series of provocations to begin a discussion about toilets, but also wider issues of gender, disability and access. By doing this we will show that although toilets are portrayed as mundane, they in fact, anything but. Toilets not only reflect but also shape socio-cultural-political understandings of who is and isn’t welcome in particular spaces; they teach us about whose bodies matter; and, indeed, the ways that we are able to live our embodied lives.

NB: although this round-table will be largely discussion based, people will be able to engage in various different ways, including speaking, writing, drawing, or just listening. We also always welcome thoughts on Twitter via @cctoilettalk #cctoilettalk


Call for proposals: Grappling with Diversities, University of Regina, Canada

Grappling with Diversities


15th Annual Conference of the

Canadian Disability Studies Association

Association canadienne d’études sur le handicap


May 27-29, 2018

University of Regina

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences


Deadline for Proposals December 1, 2017



“Individuals located perilously at the interstices of race, class, gender, and disability are constituted as non-citizens and (no) bodies by the very social institutions (legal, educational, and rehabilitational) that are designed to protect, nurture, and empower them.” (Erevelles & Minear, 2013, p. 355)


The Canadian Disability Studies Association-Association canadienne d’études sur le handicap (CDSA-ACÉH) invites proposals for presentations at the 15th annual conference, which will be held at the University of Regina in Regina Saskatchewan. CDSA-ACÉH welcomes presentations, panels, workshops, posters, and artistic contributions on a variation of the 2018 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences theme, “Grappling with Diversities.” CDSA-ACÉH calls for works that examine the following question: How do we invite, reflect, and enact diversity in our scholarship, activism, and art on disability, Deafhood, and madness?


This year’s Congress theme, “Gathering Diversities,” acknowledges the history of Regina, a city located on the territories of the Cree, Saulteaux, and Assiniboine, and the home of the Métis. The University of Regina specifically is located on Treaty 4 territory, with a presence in Treaty 6 territory. Regina’s original name Wascana, or oskana kâ-asastêki, meaning “where the bones are piled,” refers to the region’s heritage as buffalo hunting grounds for Plains cultures. Congress thus seeks to honour the history of the land as a gathering place. But the community-building entailed in our gathering takes careful, reflexive, and constant work, especially when our places of gathering, like Regina, hold ongoing histories of settler colonial violence. The CDSA-ACÉH conference is interested in what happens when there is a call for greater diversity, what diverse representation means, and how to navigate a community where difference is its unifying principle. In sum, CDSA-ACÉH is interested in asking: once we have gathered together, what comes next?


Ours is a complex community, given the varied expressions and experiences of disability, Deafhood, and madness. Key to our scholarship, activism, and art has been the call to ensure our myriad manifestations and materializations of difference are recognized and respected: in architectural design, pedagogical strategy, political participation, cultural representation, and resource distribution, among other arenas. To navigate structural and generational disadvantage, our identification with the Disability Studies field must grapple with compounding and colliding privileges and oppressions—that is, how we relate to, are situated in, are affected by, and resist systems of ableism, colonialism, white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, hetero- and cis-normativity, and ageism. Reflection on, sensitivity to, and mobilization around diversity enables us to challenge the paradigmatic force of the “normate,” defined by Rosemarie Garland-Thomson as “the corporeal incarnation of culture’s collective, unmarked, normative characteristics” (2002, p. 10). We challenge privileged standards by collectively constituting, imagining, and organizing around a body politic defined by its composite differences.


We invite proposals that generally reflect or engage with Disability Studies, Deaf Studies, and Mad Studies. Proposals that demonstrate a connection to the theme “Grappling with Diversities” will be prioritized. Works both polished and in progress may take the form of reflections, storytelling, empirical studies, statistical analyses, theorizing, cultural critiques, methodological developments, professional or pedagogical interventions, art installations, and performance pieces. This call for proposals also extends a special invitation to community members and undergraduate students to submit. Instructors, professors, and community leaders are encouraged to share the call with their students, colleagues, and comrades, and to co-submit where appropriate. This call also welcomes submissions from persons interested in presenting at the conference remotely as long as presenters register as members of CDSA-ACÉH. Submissions are peer-reviewed by a panel composed of university and college faculty and students and community members.


Read more about this year’s Congress here: https://www.congress2018.ca

Read more about CDSA-ACÉH here: https://www.cdsa-aceh.ca



Submission Guidelines

Submit two Word documents via email attachment to cdsa.aceh@gmail.com by December 1, 2017: (1) an anonymized document containing your title, abstract, and 4-5 keywords (or collection of panel titles, abstracts, and keywords); and (2) a completed submission template. The subject line of the email should read, “CDSA-ACÉH 2018 Proposal.”


Your submission template must include the following information:

Presentation Title (for panels, list panel and presentation titles):
Thematic Stream (Open Call, Decolonizing Disability Movements, Negotiating Diversity, Bringing Disability In):
Proposal Format (Presentation, Panel, Workshop, Poster, Performance):

Author name(s):
Biographical Note(s) (100-150 words per author):

Language of Presentation (ENG, FRE, ASL, LSQ):

Audiovisual Needs (DVD, LCD projection, VHS):

Presentation Delivery (in-person, remote):




Thematic Streams


All submissions must identify which of the following thematic streams their proposal falls into.


  1. Open Call for Submissions

Proposals that share explorations within the fields of Disability Studies, Deaf Studies, and Mad Studies or that adopt these perspectives but may not directly relate to the overarching conference theme of “Grappling with Diversities.”


  1. Decolonizing Disability Movements
    This thematic stream broadly explores how disability, Deafhood, and madness are positioned in Canada’s ongoing colonial history. We welcome proposals related to:
  • residential schooling and institutionalization
  • Indigenous sovereignty movements
  • intergenerational trauma
  • environmental justice and body burdens


  1. Negotiating Diversity
    This thematic stream explores the necessity, promise, and hurdles to intersectional and interdisciplinary work. We welcome proposals related to:
  • war, imperialism, and debility
  • police brutality
  • immigration restriction
  • cultural representation in popular media
  • collaborative scholarship and community mobilizing


  1. Bringing Disability In
    This thematic stream explores how to build alliances in wider projects and movements to make space for disability, Deafhood, and madness. We welcome proposals related to:
  • involvement in legal and policy initiatives
  • critical approaches to care
  • labour movements and union organizing
  • grassroots advocacy work
  • community arts projects



Proposal Format

Authors can submit multiple proposals, but can only be listed as first author on one presentation in the conference program.


  1. Presentations

Presentations must include a title, a 250 word abstract, and 4-5 keywords. The abstract must include the following:

  • stated purpose
  • relevant literature
  • explicit use of Disability Studies theory, perspective, or concepts
  • contributions to research, theory, activism, advocacy, or social change


  1. Panels

People (3-4 persons) submitting a panel must submit proposals around a central topic, theme, or approach. The proposal must include the following, all in a single document:

  • a panel title and a 100 word abstract that illustrates the coherence between each of the panel presentations
  • a title, a 250 word abstract, and 4-5 keywords for each presentation (see Presentation guidelines for abstract criteria)


  1. Workshops

Interactive sessions must be organized around a central theme. The proposal must include the following:

  • a workshop title, a 250 word abstract, and 4-5 keywords (see Presentation guidelines for abstract criteria)


  1. Posters

People may ask for their work to be considered as a poster submission, or may be asked to present their work in poster format. The proposal must include the following:

  • a poster title, a 250 word abstract, and 4-5 keywords (see Presentation guidelines for abstract criteria)


  1. Performances

This may include poetry reading, dance, or an installation (artwork, poetry, zine, etc.). The proposal must include the following:

  • a performance title, a 250 word abstract, and 4-5 keywords (see Presentation guidelines for abstract criteria)

December’s Disability Research Forum session

The December Disability Research Forum will take place on the 11th of December in Arundel 10212B at 2.30-4.30pm. Our speakers will be two postgraduate students who are based at Sheffield Hallam University and will talk about their PhD work.

Our first speaker is Stephanie Swain

Disabled peoples’ conceptualisations and experiences of self-harm

Self-harm is an important concern in the UK, partly as it is the most prevalent predictor of eventual death by suicide and death by any cause (Cavanagh, Carson, Sharpe & Lawrie, 2003; Hawton, Harriss & Zahl, 2006). During my Masters Degree which in part looked at older adults experiences of self-harm, I became aware that some of their reasons sounded as though they may also apply to disabled people; however I found very little research in this area. In this presentation I will take you on my journey from Masters Degree to my current position in my PhD. I will highlight some of the key literature within self-harm research and offer some critique in relation to this and disabled people. Additionally I will talk about the research which is available which attempts to deal with both.

I will go on to speak about my plans for my own research, the methodologies I intend to use and what my completed phase 1 research addressed. Additionally I will provide some very initial observations from this phase.

Due to the sensitive nature of the topic I will discuss some of the ethical issues that I have faced and speak about how I have overcome these especially in relation to my phase 1 research.

Finally I will move on to outline my approximate timeline for completion.


Our second speaker will be Emma Rice.

Sense of self and autism: the mainstream secondary school experience

Autism research has been dominated by the medical model approach, which emphasises a diagnosis of deficiency, positioning autistic young people as an example of abnormal development. Sense of self research regularly employs autistic young people in comparison with their normative counterparts and takes this deficit approach. Here, autism and a sense of self is explored in terms of what is lacking in comparison with others. My research aims to allow autistic young people to reclaim their sense of self, telling this story of ‘who am I?’ with their own voice. This approach therefore draws on participatory paradigms to explore how autistic young people conceptualize their sense of self, with a focus on the mainstream secondary school environment. Currently, very little is known on how mainstream schooling enables or disables self-esteem and sense of self for autistic pupils. Therefore, my research explores the influence of the school environment on the positive or negative valence of autistic young people’s sense of self. Within my participatory approach, I am following the plurality of research methods advised by Stone and Priestley (1996); the autistic young people involved can employ individualized modes of expression to enable their opinions and experiences to be heard. Consequently, my research will draw together visual, verbal and written methods into a qualitative thematic analysis to consider the research questions I have proposed. Within this presentation, I will be exploring current research literature, placing my research in the context of the current research landscape. I will set out the participatory paradigm and plurality of methods I employ and explore my own positionality, including the challenges this brings to the research process. Having just begun to collect data, I will also offer preliminary thoughts and the conflicts my positionality has brought to the research process. Here, I do not wish to draw final conclusions on this position but instead wish to invite reflective discussion on the challenges and conflicts I have identified so far within my research project.

Key words: autism, sense of self, mainstream secondary school, participatory, positionality.