DRF – 2019/2020

Hi everyone!

I hope the start of the new academic year is treating you well!

Just a quick announcement to say that we do intend to run DRF sessions again this academic year and I hope to be able to put some dates up on the website within the next two or three weeks.

If you would like to present please drop me an email (s.r.hannam-swain@shu.ac.uk) and I’ll contact you soon with some suggested dates.

Hopefully see you all soon!



Job Vacancy! Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Education – Sheffield Hallam University

Job details – Closing date 8th September
Lecturer / Senior Lecturer in Education
Social Sciences And Humanities
Grdae 7/8 – £34,189 to £50,132 per annum dependent on experience
Contact Person : Dr Jean Harris-Evans or Dr Iain Garner Contact Number : 0114 225 4585/4848
Date Advertised : 25-Jul-2019 Closing Date : 08-Sep-2019
Employment Type : Permanent – Full Time Location : City Campus
Job number : 052005

For further information please see this link: http://bit.ly/shu-education


New project looking for contributions

Dr Amy Kavanagh (@BlondeHistorian) is launching a new project all about disabled women & non-binary people’s experiences of non-consensual touching and intrusive behaviours. The message below is from Amy inviting you to participate.

I’ve collaborated with Dr Hannah Mason-Bish (an academic from the University of Sussex who has researched street harassment to create a research project inspired by my own campaign and also the movement.

Using a blog, we’re inviting disabled women & non-binary people to contribute their stories about unwanted help, non-consensual touching, intrusive behaviours and harassment in public. All the stories are anonymised and will be used to support the development of more research into the issue, including some interviews with willing contributors. I understand this is a difficult subject for many, and recognise it can bring up distressing experiences. However, we think it’s essential that disabled women & non-binary people aren’t forgotten from the discussion about street harassment and we hope this research will have an impact, and demonstrate problematic many of the intrusive behaviours are.

I would really appreciate it if you felt able to contribute your own experiences, and tweet about the project, you can use the tweet below or do your own if you feel comfortable doing so. You can read all about the project including an information sheet here Thank you, Amy

Suggested Tweet:

Private places, public spaces is a new research project which invites disabled women & non-binary people to record their experiences of unwanted touching & public harassment. Please share your story & read more about the project here


Final DRF Session for 18/19!

Tuesday, 14th May

Time: 11am – 1pm.

Place: 12.02.20 Charles Street Building, Sheffield Hallam University. City Campus

This is on the second floor of the Charles Street Building which is just next to Arundel where we held meetings last year.

Speaker 1: Emma Rice

Title: Employing inclusive research methods: autistic pupils’ sense of self and the influence of mainstream schooling


Autism advocates critique autism research for the exclusion of autistic voice, its predominant focus on identifying deficit development, and its subsequent focus on ‘normalising’ through treatment (Chown et al., 2017; Milton, 2014; Milton & Bracher, 2013). Autism and sense of self research regularly employs autistic young people in comparison with their ‘normative’ counterparts, exploring autistic sense of self in terms of what is lacking in comparison with others. Responding to the call for more participatory and inclusive research methods, the research project reported on in this paper, draws on participatory paradigms to enable autistic young people to articulate their sense of self- to tell the story of ‘who am I?’ with their own voice (Chown et al., 2017; Milton, Mills & Pellicano, 2012). Alongside this, the mainstream secondary school environment and its influence on autistic young people’s positive or negative self-views is explored. In focusing on an inclusive research approach, the project is engaging with a plurality of research methods, as advised by Stone and Priestley (1996) with the autistic young people involved employing individualised modes of expression. Consequently, this research project draws together visual, verbal and written methods to consider how autistic young people conceptualise their sense of self, including the impact of mainstream schooling on this. Within this presentation, I will explore how drawing on a participatory paradigm and providing a range of choices, including in methods of expression, has enabled autistic pupils to share their views and experiences. This evaluation will include autistic pupils’ own appraisal of the participatory methods employed together with their experiences, thoughts and opinions in relation to sense of self and mainstream schooling.

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

Speaker 2: Antonios Ktendis

Title: ‘Does an extra inch make a ‘real’ difference?’

Short Stories of Young People with Restricted Growth of their Secondary Education


Once we start talking about the body and how we live in our bodies, we ‘re automatically challenging the way that power has orchestrated itself in that particular institutionalised space (hooks, 1994: 136-137).

Does growth matter? To whom? Where? Why? Whose/WHO’s growth?

Two stories, three readings, no morals.

Critical Disability Studies, Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies, Dis/Human Disability Studies

Biopolitics, Critical Pedagogy, Biopedagogies, Heightism

Stories, counter stories, (counter)storytelling, embodiment, storying, dis/storying

Restricted (Growth), (Restricted) Growth, (Restricted Growth), Restricted Growth


Representations of Autism in Literature

On Tuesday,  30th April, 11-noon, Tom Price on behalf of SHARP (Sheffield Hallam Autism Research Partnership) is hosting a presentation by Dr Sarah Whitely (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/english/people/whiteley#tab01)  from the University of Sheffield. Sarah  will be sharing her research on the representations of autism in literature.  All are welcome to attend. This event will be held in Sheffield Hallam’s City Campus in the Adsetts Building – floor 6, room 20 (Adsetts 6620) https://www.shu.ac.uk/visit-us/how-to-find-us/city-campus-map

Sarah describes her research interests as lying ‘at the interface between language and literature, in the disciplines of stylistics, cognitive poetics and discourse analysis. My research examines issues of textual effect and interpretation in relation to contemporary prose and poetry. I am particularly interested in studying the experience of reading and researching reader responses to literary texts using empirical methods’


Next DRF Session, 12th April

Friday, 12th April

Time: 11am – 1pm.

Place: 12.02.19 Charles Street Building, Sheffield Hallam University. City Campus

This is on the second floor of the Charles Street Building which is just next to Arundel where we held meetings last year.

Speaker 1: Richard Woods

Title: An Updated Interest Based Account (Monotropism theory) & a Demand Avoidance Phenomenon discussion.”


This talk explores recent literature on monotropism theory to explain Demand Avoidance Phenomenon (DAP). Previous DAP theory focuses on role of anxiety in producing a need for control that is suggested leads to demand avoidance. However, we provide an alternative view by situating in critical DAP scholarship, highlighting the uncertainty around the DAP construct. Utilising the work of Beardon (2017) to develop monotropism to elucidate how anxiety acts in autism & thus, DAP. Monotropism theory clarifies the nature DAP phenotype behaviour from a non-pathologising perspective, bringing DAP theory in line with common views of autistic persons. The theory adds to the epistemic integrity of DAP research & assist in closing the theory-to-research-to-practice gap. Consequently, generating accurate interpretations that can allow for use of suitable strategies.  

Speaker 2: David Hartley

Title: Autism, Replicants and Other Humans: Exploring Fantastical Neurodiversity with Blade Runner (1982)


The encounters of autism and the fantastical Other are fraught with adverse ideological implications wherein autistic individuals are cast as ‘aliens from another planet’ (Ian Hacking, 2009) or treated like ‘cold soulless automatons’ (Penny Winter, 2012). And yet, science-fiction and fantasy fandoms can be places of refuge and community for autistic people who are disaffected by an allistic (non-autistic) world, where neurodiverse heroes such as Spock from Star Trek and The Doctor from Doctor Who often reign supreme. And yet the genres themselves tend to avoid including characters coded as autistic in their narratives, thereby creating a conspicuous void in the cultural representation of autism.

Can the narrative strategies of science-fiction and fantasy be productively reconfigured to better suit the paradigms of neurodiversity? How might the presence of autism help us to rethink the theories of fantastical genres? Might we be able to root out autistic representation in futures and fantasies that have thus far avoided it? This talk will tackle a behemoth of science-fiction, Ridley Scott’s 1982 dystopia Blade Runner, to seek out the possibilities of its neurodiverse message and to find productive autism within its radical replicants. It will also take on the genre at the level of theory by confronting Darko Suvin’s ideas of the ‘cognitive estrangement’ of science-fiction (Suvin, 1979). It asks: exactly whose cognition does he refer to? And whose estrangement?


Monday 25th March

Time: 1pm – 3pm.

Place: 12.02.19 Charles Street Building, Sheffield Hallam University. City Campus

This is on the second floor of the Charles Street Building which is just next to Arundel where we held meetings last year.

Speaker 1: Petra Anders

Title: Promoting Inclusive Theatre Work and Dance Practice


This presentation discusses how Niko von Glasow’s play Alles wird gut [Everything will be Alright], the film Resilience and Inclusion: Dancers as Agents of Change, which is part of to the British Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project InVisible Difference: Dance, Disability and Law, and Ohad Naharin’s Gaga Movement Language contribute to inclusive theatre work and dance practice.

I investigate how rehearsal dynamics change, if the director of a play or choreographer of a dance performance are themselves disabled, and not only (some of) the actors or dancers. The inclusive potential of Naharin’s Gaga Movement Language, on the other hand, is based on in the fact that this method was not created for people with disabilities in order to give them the chance to dance, but can be used by dance professionals with and without disabilities as well as amateur dancers with and without disabilities.

All three approaches are stunning examples of how theatre work and dance practice (can) become more and more inclusive and diverse.

Speaker 2: Ciaran Burke

Title: “Repeat after me…”: dysfluency and the pursuit of gestalt.


Within social science research, identifying as a particular type of researcher carries with it certain assumptions about an individual’s personality type and approach to knowledge or epistemology. A researcher who opts for a quantitative approach to data collection and analysis is often understood to be more “scientific” or “good with numbers” whereas the qualitative researcher is a “people person” who enjoys talking with people and getting to know their respondents on a personal level in pursuit of understanding rather than explaining a phenomena.  Thus, to be a qualitative researcher, the researcher is expected to enjoy talking and be able to talk on demand without hesitation or pause, in other words be fluent.  The friction that this paper wishes to unpack is that between the assumption of ease of speech and dysfluency, in particular stammering, in the context of life history research.

Life history research covers a broad range of approaches to data collection and analysis. However, a particularly clear and at the same time dogmatic approach within this school is the biographical narrative interview method (BNIM).  Stemming from grounded theory, BNIM developed by Fritz Schütze (1992, 2008) and Rosenthal (2003, 2005) and Miller (2000, 2005) has offered an opportunity to conduct ethnographic research within an interview setting (Burke, 2011). As outlined in many of these texts, the BNIM has a set of very strict rules which surround the principle of “gestalt”, essentially preserving an individual’s narration and protecting it from as long as possible from the researchers’ interference.  Two central rules which allow this to happen are:

  • Once the initial narration question is asked, the researcher cannot interject or direct the narration either verbally or physically.
  • Once the initial narration has finished the researcher can ask questions but covering topics in the order the narration presented them and using the precise language used by the respondent. It is this second rule which presents issues for researchers who have a disability which affects fluency of speech. In this chapter I will first outline the sociological literature concerning speech dysfluency building on previous application of social theory to consider why stammering is such an issue within communication and why is it a site of ridicule and a marker of devaluation of that individual. I will then briefly set out the current landscape, within the UK, for academics who stammer. The chapter will then turn to outlining the specific mechanics of the BNIM and the rationale for its application within my own research. I will reflect on the issues I faced when balancing a lack of fluency and adhering to the strict rules of the BNIM. In addition, I will discuss ways in which the gestalt can be preserved within the BNIM while not requiring researchers to keep to the strict language parameters the method currently demands. As such, I will provide guidelines for future researchers who wish to engage with this method but would initially feel unable to meet its demands.

Call for papers!

Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

Special issue: Learning Difficulties: Histories and Cultures

Guest editors: Owen Barden and Tina Cook

Until the late 20th century, intellectual disability history was subsumed or neglected within accounts from the psycho-medical professions, educational and mental health services, sociologists, and historians. More recently, input from a broad range of disciplines has helped to challenge the assumed truths generated about learning difficulties generated by medics, scientists, and medical historians.  Learning difficulties have also emerged as a field of inquiry in their own right within disability studies, following recognition that this aspect of disability has frequently been overlooked in both the initial turn to the social model and the subsequent re-turn to impairment. The overall objective of this special issue will be to make a significant contribution to this growing field of interdisciplinary and emancipatory research about learning difficulties.

Disabled people generally, and people labelled with learning difficulties specifically, have often been excluded not only from research but from culture and history more broadly. This has made people labelled with learning difficulties almost invisible. Where representations do exist, they are often skewed by the label and tropes of learning difficulties. We seek contributions evidencing the generation of new knowledge about learning difficulties and their histories, and which bring a variety of perspectives to bear not only on historical material and accounts, but also on the lived experience of learning difficulties today.

We encourage histories which foreground the role of culture, and the impact people labelled with learning disabilities have had on culture, rather than medicalized accounts. A cultural approach to history addresses the discursive practices and formations surrounding learning difficulties; it is concerned with the way people said to have learning difficulties are conceptualized, spoken about, and interacted with, and with the relational and environmental factors contextualizing and shaping these practices and formations. We welcome both histories of lives of people labelled with learning difficulties and historical analyses of cultural representations of learning difficulties.

Possible topics might include:

  • Representations of learning difficulties in historico-cultural artefacts.
  • Explorations of identity and intersectionality in relation to learning difficulties.
  • Analyses of the cultural work done by the organizing concept of learning difficulties.
  • Cultural histories, including ‘histories of the present’, which reveal important yet hidden aspects of contemporary experience.
  • Local, personal and insider histories, knowledges and perspectives.


5th April, 2019: submission of a 500-word proposal for articles or a 150-word proposal for reviews and a short bio to the guest editors Owen Barden bardeno@hope.ac.uk and Tina Cook cookt@hope.ac.uk.

3rd May, 2019: prospective authors notified of proposal status.

30th Nov, 2020: Full versions of selected papers due to editors.

May, 2020: Finalists selected.  Decisions and revisions on submissions sent to authors.

August, 2020: Final, revised papers due.


Call for papers: Chronic Illness and Representation

Ana Bê and Emma Sheppard are pleased to announce a special issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (JLCDS) and have announced a call for papers!

Special issue: Chronic Illness and Representation
Guest editors: Ana Bê (Liverpool Hope University) and Emma Sheppard (City, University of London)

This special issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies will consider the representation of chronic illness.

Disability studies has for a number of years engaged closely with understanding chronic illness as a category of impairment (Thomas, 2008). Significant early contributions have been made by authors such as Carol Thomas and Susan Wendell and books such as Dissonant Disabilities: Women with Chronic Illnesses Explore Their Lives (2008). It is also important to recognize the relevance of more recent contributions such as those of Alyson Patsavas and Mel Chen in the context of cripistemologies (2014), as well as those offered by Alison Kafer in problematizing the role of pain and fatigue (2013), and Hillary Gravendyk’s concept of ‘chronic poetics’ (2014).

There has been increasing discussion, representation, and awareness of chronic illness in recent years – as part of, and distinct from, disability. Celebrities and public figures such as Lady Gaga have candidly discussed their experiences of chronic illness and been open about the obstacles they have faced, while Jennifer Brea’s documentary Unrest (2017) ignited further discussion. Bitch magazine’s In Sickness series (2017) presented complex and intersectional analysis of chronic illness and feminism. Social media has helped develop a culture of activism around chronic illness, from support groups to activist pages and the creation of memes. Recent films, such as Love and Other Drugs and The Big Sick, have provided audiences with popular representations of chronic illness.

However, there remains a substantial gap in this part of the field of disability studies, and we would like to make a start on filling it by inviting contributions that focus on cultural representations of chronic illness in a range of different cultural mediums–from literature to film, to TV and social media. We aim to take stock of how representations of chronic illness might have developed and what these are telling us about how we understand this experience.

Chronic illnesses are sometimes also designated as long-term health conditions or chronic diseases. For the purposes of this issue, we use the term chronic illness as it tends to resonate in activist circles. Our understanding of chronic illness is underpinned by Susan Wendell’s definition: ‘Usually, they [chronic illnesses] are understood to be illnesses that do not go away by themselves within six months, that cannot reliably be cured, and that will not kill the patient any time soon’ (Wendell 1996:20). Within this definition, we include experiences of undocumented illness (Mollow, 2014)–illnesses that have no recognised or agreed upon classification, whose cause is debated, and the experience of which is often dismissed. Therefore, the definition is quite open, and fits a wide range of experiences, but we emphasize that our understanding of chronic illness is also based on a shared disability studies politics that sees this experience as being framed by both social oppression and impairment effects.

Possible topics for papers include, but are not limited to:

● Documentary film
● Fictions and stories of chronic illness
● Social media representations and cultures of chronic illness
● Intersections of race, gender, sexuality and chronic illness
● Chronic illness and celebrity
● Cripping and queering chronic illness
● Crip time and chronic illness
● Representations of chronic illness in art
● Global perspectives on cultures of chronic illness
● Masculinities and chronic illness
● Cripistemologies of chronic illness
● Historical perspectives on chronic illness
● Activism and cultural representations
● Theater, performance and chronic illness
● Poetry and chronic illness
● Representations of chronic pain and fatigue
● Music and chronic illness


15th April, 2019: submission of a 500-word proposal for articles or a 150-word proposal for reviews and a short bio (150 words) to both the guest editors Ana Bê (pereira@hope.ac.uk) and Emma Sheppard (Emma.Sheppard@city.ac.uk).

28th June, 2019: prospective authors notified of proposal status.

1st December, 2020: Full versions of selected papers due to editors.

June, 2020: Finalists selected. Decisions and revisions on submissions sent to authors.

September, 2020: Final, revised papers due.


Call for papers! SHU Humanities Post-Graduate Conference

Call for papers is open until 1st April 2019

Conference will take place at Sheffield Hallam University, on May 31st 2019

More information available here and below: https://postgradgroupshu.wordpress.com/call-for-papers/

Details: Inter-disciplinary conference with the theme of Invisibility

Potential approaches to Invisibility and Absence may include:

  • Absent voices in political discourses, and how those voices are silenced.
  • Power relationships predicated upon the absence of voice of some of the participants.
  • The gaining of voice; making oneself visible.
  • The ontological status of the ‘invisible’.
  • Narratives of those who have been traditionally under-represented or oppressed: women, trans, minority narratives.
  • The ‘unseen’ consequences of political discourses on those without voice.
  • Agency and visibility.
  • Age and invisibility.
  • Social media and presence.
  • The experience of being ‘invisible’ within discourse and its consequences.
  • Disempowerment relating to absence.

The conference is aimed at giving masters, PhD students and early career researchers the opportunity to have their ideas heard in a supportive environment. It has been run for three years and is a great opportunity to gain experience of a conference, practise delivering a conference paper or to network with others.

The conference isn’t limited to Sheffield Hallam University, there will be a key note from Manchester and 5 abstracts from universities all over England have been received so far.

If you wish to submit your abstract please email it to: invisibilityconferenceshu@gmail.com and should include a 250 word abstract and a short biography.