DRF session, 28 February 2018

Our next DRF session will take place at the 28th of February at 3:30-5:30pm in Arundel 10212B.

The first speaker is Anna Przednowek 

Caring to Include: A relational study of the everyday life and care with persons labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their families in Ontario, Canada.

How are the everyday lives of adults labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Also known as Learning Disabilities in the UK context) and their familial carers affected by shifting social policies and practices in Ontario? In addressing this research question, I draw on Feminist Political Economy as informed by Feminist Ethics and Critical Disability Studies and apply a relational approach that attends not only to the lives of these individuals (adults labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their familial carers), but, centrally, to the care relations existing between them (Muir & Goldblatt, 2011). I use this approach to explore how practices, policies and relations of care shape their everyday experiences. I take up this project in the Ontario, Canada context where, in the last forty years, deinstitutionalization and cost-constraining policy directions have reconfigured the care and support of people labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities IDD. Some scholars have called for research that explores the experiences and struggles of people labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their supporting family members, whose perspectives have been neglected in both the care and disability policy literatures (Kelly, 2016; Green, 2015).

Anna Przednowek is a PhD candidate with the School of social Work at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She is currently completing a month-long term as a Visiting Scholar with the Department of Education at University of Sheffield, under the supervision of Dr. Katherine Runswick-Cole. Prior and during her doctoral studies, Anna worked as a direct support worker and social worker with children, youth, adults and seniors labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their families in Ontario for over 15 years. Her practice experience working with individuals labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their families largely informed Anna’s decision to take up this topic of “care relations’ in her research.

Our second speaker is Katherine Runswick-Cole

Storying Inclusion: digital stories of enacting inclusive education

In this presentation, I will share some stories collected as part of a research project: Enacting Critical Disability Communities in Education. This is a two-year international Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council-funded multimedia storytelling project, located in Toronto, Canada, focused on  inclusion in schools. The project explores how multimedia storytelling might enhance inclusion by making spaces for a proliferation of representations of autism –  beyond the dominant biomedical model of autism as a deficit in need of remedy. Enacting is a collaboration between Patty Douglas, PI, Brandon University, Carla Rice, from the University of Guelph and Revision: The Centre for Social Justice and Art, and me. Together with other researcher-collaborators, people who identify as autistic, family members and artist-facilitators  created 17 short multimedia films and a documentary about autism and inclusion.

Katherine Runswick-Cole is Professor in Education in The School of Education at the University of Sheffield. She locates her work in the field of critical disability studies.  Recent publications include: Re-thinking autism: disability, identity and equality (Ed with Mallett and Timimi, 2016, Jessica Kinglsey) and The Palgrave Handbook of Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies (Ed with Curran and Liddiard, 2017, Palgrave).




Defiant Lives – film screening and discussion, Disability Research Edinburgh

Thu 22 February 2018

14:00 – 17:00 GMT

Screening Room

University of Edinburgh

50 George Square



‘Defiant lives’ (Sarah Barton, 2016) is a film, telling the story of the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain and Australia, using archival footage and interviews with activists.

For more information about the film see https://defiantlives.com/

The Disability Research Edinburgh network will host this opportunity to see this film and to lead a discussion on disability activism to today. The discussion will focus on the film and its implications for current debates regarding disability rights and collective action

This film screening is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Festival of Creative Learning. For more information about the festival see the Festival website http://www.festivalofcreativelearning.ed.ac.uk/

As well as showing this film, we are organising an event on carrying out research – for information see here

Refreshments provided – please let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements

Tickets are free but please register so that we know how many people to expect.

The film will be shown on the ground floor of 50 George Square Edinburgh and is accessible to wheelchair users. For full information about access to the film screening, see here

The film will have subtitles and facilities for audio-description.

We have booked a sign language interpreter for the discussion.

Please contact us if you have any further accessibility requirements

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Please contact Jackie Gulland jackie.gulland@ed.ac.uk

This event may be photographed and/or recorded for promotional or recruitment materials for University and University approved third parties. For further information, please contact the organiser


Lancaster Disability Studies conference call for papers

The Lancaster Disability Studies conference brings together researchers, practitioners, policy makers and activists from around the world, to share and debate research, ideas and developments in disability studies. In the 21st Century disability activism plays a vital role in identifying and challenging disablist policy and practices which limit and deny the rights of disabled people across the globe. Disability activism has provided a road map of good practice, offering ways to consider the means by which disabled people can live independent lives. Key questions for Disability Studies in this context are

  • what role does/can/should the academy play in supporting disability activism
  • In what ways can the relationship between the academy and activism develop praxis?

We invite submissions of abstracts for either symposia, paper or poster presentations on current research, ideas, issues and new developments in disability studies. In particular we welcome submissions in (but not limited to) the following areas

  • Disability activism
  • Participatory research approaches and practices
  • Impact of global economic changes
  • Welfare reform
  • War, conflict and political change
  • Institutions, independent living and citizenship
  • Normalcy and Diversity
  • Mad studies
  • Media Cultures
  • History, Literature and Arts
  • Transnational perspectives and the ‘Global South’
  • Borders, boundaries, migration and citizenship
  • Theoretical and methodological ideas and debates
  • Assistive technologies
  • Death, dying and end of life
  • Hate crime, violence and abuse
  • Social policy and legislation
  • Human rights and social justice

Abstracts of up to 300 words should be submitted by 31st March 2018. Abstracts should be submitted via the Conference’s Easy Chair webpage [nb, you have to create an easychair account to make a submission.].

Please contact Hannah Morgan with queries about the call for paper or abstract submission.


This is the call for papers for the special Critical Dialogues in Neurodiversity conference stream by the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC):

Whilst there have been a growth in publications and events on this topic, there are also tensions and divides within this area of scholarship (Milton, 2016). In addition, critical research on neurodivergent ways of being other than autism, such as ADHD, is often situated outside of Disability Studies, primarily within the fields of medical sociology or critical mental health.

The vast majority of research published regarding neurodivergent ways of being is closely aligned with clinical practice, resulting in a focus on establishing ways to ‘remediate disorder.’ Whilst there may be indications that this is changing in some quarters, and the view that a neurodivergent way of being can involve potential cognitive strengths as well as limitations is emerging, such views have traditionally been held on the margins. One implication of this has been the exclusion of neurodivergent voices in the processes of knowledge production, leading to research in the field being epistemologically and ethically suspect (Milton and Bracher, 2013).

Whilst seeking and obtaining the views of disabled people is now often a requirement of policy formation or legislation within and across national boundaries, such efforts often remain tokenistic in nature. Another implication is that researchers and policymakers often fail to examine the varying personal and social conditions in which neurodivergent people live, and the impact these have on disablement. Academic narratives about neurodiversity and neurodivergent people and cultures often do a disservice to the diversity of views therein, and can create further barriers by constraining or controlling the way neurodivergent people make their own contributions, are interpreted and are talked about.

This stream led by the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC) seeks to facilitate a sharing of views across critical perspectives within the neurodiversity field. We seek to broaden the field to include a diverse range of neurodivergent ways of being, bridging fields and connecting concepts and experiences, and also to make a positive change regarding the input of neurodivergent scholarship and to further a participatory ethos.

We welcome papers contributing to these goals. Indicative themes:

  • Participatory and emancipatory research with and by neurodivergent people – theory, method and impact on policy.
  • Defining and diagnosing: Issues of identity, diagnostic categories, and the use and impact of diagnostic categories.
  • The dynamics of knowledge production about neurodivergent people, such as within critical autism studies.
  • The barriers and opportunities in considering embodied situated knowledge and academic expertise, in particular for neurodivergent people working within academia.

We will welcome submissions for papers, workshops, or other activities. We will also be looking to compile a publication from submissions to the stream.

If you have questions, please contact the chair of the PARC network: Damian Milton, damianmilton.sociology@yahoo.com


Self-Harm Mini Conference, organised by Steph Hannam-Swain, 24 February

Feb 24th 2018, 2-5pm – Sheffield Hallam University.

A mini conference addressing issues surrounding self-harm, organised by Stephanie Hannam-Swain and funded by Sheffield Hallam University’s Equality, Diversity, and Social Justice Research Group.

Self-harm is an important health concern in the UK with numbers seemingly rising, especially in teens. This mini conference is being held for anyone who has an interest in self-harm as we look at various aspects of the behaviour ranging from self-harm in people with intellectual disabilities to harm-reduction techniques of supporting those who engage in it.


Speakers and presentation titles are as follows:

Stephanie Hannam-Swain – Disabled peoples’ conceptualizations and experiences of self-harm

Dr Kay Inckle – Harm-Reduction: Mainstreaming social justice and user-led interventions for people who hurt themselves

Jess Williams – “They aren’t all like that”: perceptions of clinical services, as told by self-harm online communities

Dr Rebecca Fish – Working with men who self-harm on locked wards

Places can be booked on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/self-harm-a-mini-conference-tickets-39414918081

Please contact the organisers if you have any access needs or dietary requirements that you would like us to take into consideration.

Presentation abstracts can be found at the accompanying website: https://srhannam2.wixsite.com/self-harm-mini-conf

Organisers: Stephanie Hannam-Swain – PhD student, Sheffield Hallam University, organiser for the Disability Reading Group and co-organiser of the Disability Research Forum

Professor Nick Hodge – Autism Centre, Sheffield Hallam University and Lead for the Equality, Diversity and Social Justice Research Group