DRF Events 2022-2023

Welcome back to the DRF 2022-2023! We hope you have had a lovely summer in all of this sunshine, though I don’t know about you, I’m glad to see the back of the really hot weather!

As you know for the last couple of years we have held the DRF online due to the continued threat of COVID-19. We are going to continue to do that this year as well, however due to time pressures we are going to have a shortened seminar series this year – September to December. We hope to be back in full swing next year, and perhaps even have a few sessions face to face!

This year session will be held on Zoom (but please let me know if another online area is better for you in terms of accessibility) and I have updated our website to give information about privacy, accessibility and presentation guidance. Please check these pages out to keep up to date with how we aim to keep our sessions as accessible as possible for as many people as possible. Unfortunately we are constrained in that we have no funding to help with things like sourcing BSL interpreters, but I aim to give the best experience I can under these constraints.

We are asking you this year to sign up to each event using the Eventbrite site, so that the appropriate link can be sent to you on the morning of the talk. Again, please let me know if you have any accessibility problems using that platform.

The information below is of any events that are upcoming. If you would like to come and present at the DRF (virtually) please get in touch on the email address below. We are keeping things pretty flexible this year and I will try to fit in a time and date that is best for you. As a result some sessions may have two presenters, some may only have one – but with ‘zoom fatigue’ a real thing this may be a good thing!

Ever since it began, an important part of the DRF has been bringing people together.  Since 2005 it has worked to create informal networks by providing friendly and encouraging environments in which to discuss and think through all things ‘disability’.

In case you are interested in contributing to one of our future sessions, please contact Steph Hannam-Swain: s.r.hananm-swain@shu.ac.uk . Please also have a look at our guidelines about accessible presentations.

If you have any accessibility requirements please email Steph to try to facilitate.

DRF Events 2022-2023

Date: 24th October 2022

Time: Noon – 2pm

Presenter 1, Name: Anna Ślebioda

Presenter 2, Name: Laura Mora

To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drf-seminar-series-2022-event-1-tickets-443141065857

Talk 1, Title: Edith Stein`s philosophy as a new framework for disability studiesAnna Ślebioda

Talk 1, Abstract:

Edith Stein was a Jewish woman – philosopher who converted into  Catholic and became a nun. However, she died in a concentration camp along with other Jewish people. This indicates her faithfulness to primary identity. –

This as well as her academic work, for instance on woman and her place in the society provide a new framework for analysing femininity in disability.

The presentation covers biographical facts as well as summary of Edith Stein`s philosophy. These elements are next linked to analyses from disability studies area so that at the end a novel analytical framework is presented.

Talk 2, Title: Audiences’ affective engagement with Paralympians’ social media content

Talk 2, Abstract: This study explores the emancipatory potential of Paralympians’ social media presence in shaping progressive disability discourses, taking the Paralympic Games in Tokyo as its timeframe. To this end, it explores how the interaction between Paralympians and their social media followers can be understood as an “affective public” (Papacharissi 2015; Nikunen, 2018). Whereas existing studies have described the role of social media affordances in building affective publics, little is known about the role that audiences’ drive and interaction play therein. Our audience perception study aims to fill this gap by conducting focus group interviews with a diverse array of UK-based disabled people and non-disabled carers. Our findings highlight which types of Paralympic content on Instagram and Twitter is most appealing to followers, the role affect plays in engaging this audience, how their interaction with Paralympic content builds “mediated solidarity” (Couldry, 2012); and how this affective engagement is central to their demand for “cultural citizenship” (Stevenson, 1999). We also draw attention to factors that hamper solidarity, including political economy, accessibility and temporality issues. Nevertheless, our findings suggest that dis/abled audiences’ affective—and utopianist—expressions of solidarity are valuable, since this ever-growing affective public is grassroots-born and more sustainable than what existing literature suggests. As such, we argue that audience interaction on social media is an essential component of enhancing Paralympic solidarity, promoting disability inclusion and fostering social change.

Date: December 1st 2022

Time: Noon – 2pm

Presenter 1, Name: Ruadhán, J Flynn

Presenter 2, Name: Arianna Introna

To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drf-seminar-series-2022-event-2-tickets-472454352687

Talk 1, Title: A concept and theory of infantilisation, understood through disabled experience

Talk 1, Abstract:

Although sometimes used as a descriptor, the term ‘infantilisation’ has so far lacked any
real conceptual clarity. When people are infantilised, are they treated like children, or as children, thought of as being equivalent to children, or merely barred from some adult norms or formalities?
Is infantilisation just a severe form of paternalism, or is it something distinct?
Drawing on literature and empirical research from multiple disciplines and geographical regions, primarily concerning attitudes to and treatment of disabled people, I propose a concept and theory of infantilisation. I propose that infantilised adults are not merely considered childlike or less than fully adult; they are conceived of as being children in the bodies of adults. This means that infantilisation is conceptually distinct from paternalism – and it is important to understand this, if the ensuing treatments are to be properly understood. The concept ‘child’ cannot be applied to an
adult without conflict.
To provide a theory of infantilisation, I show how it is enacted. I propose that infantilisation has four distinguishing features: ‘baby talk’, infantilising activities and environments, desexualisation, and stasis. These features stem directly from the conceptual foundation of infantilisation, they are not
found even in cases of severe paternalism, and they reflect the conflict which occurs when the concept ‘child’ is applied to an adult. It is important to conceptually separate infantilisation from paternalism and to understand how it works in practice – especially in the context of people with high support needs – if its harmful effects are to be countered.
Ruadhán J. Flynn is currently prae-doc at the Messerli Research Institute and a member of the Vienna Doctoral School of Philosophy at the University of Vienna. They completed their Master of Research thesis, Infantilisation in Care, Community and Cognitive Disability, in 2021. Their doctoral project combines research on dehumanization, (philosophy of) cognitive disability, and feminist
social epistemology. ruadhanjflynn.com

Talk 2, Title: Crip Enchantments: Autonomist Narratives of Disability in Scottish Writing (and beyond)

Talk 2, Abstract:

Disorienting effects erupt when non-normative bodies and minds clash with the structures of capitalist normalcy. Arianna Introna’s Autonomist Narratives of Disability in Modern Scottish Writing: Crip Enchantments brings into conversation Scottish studies, disability studies and autonomist Marxism to explore the ways in which these ‘crip enchantments’ are imagined in modern Scottish writing, and the ‘autonomist’ narratives of disability by which they are evoked. In this talk Arianna will discuss the encounter between crip and class imaginaries in Scottish writing that Crip Enchantments is primarily concerned with as a starting point for a wider reflection on how disability and class politics meet (or clash) in Scottish cultural imaginaries and beyond.


Arianna Introna received her MLitt and PhD in Scottish Literature from the University of Stirling and is now Associate Lecturer with the Open University. Her research interests span Scottish literature, disability studies, Marxist autonomist theory and critical theory

Date: December 12th, 2022

Time: 1-3.30pm

Presenter 1, Name: Richard Woods

Presenter 2, Name: Andrew McEwan

Presenter 3, Name: ViKki McCall and Dianne-Dominique Theakstone

To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drf-seminar-series-2022-event-3-tickets-481486628467

Talk 1, Title: Pathological Demand-Avoidance”: exactly who has a “pathological” need to control whom?

Talk 1, Abstract:

Pathological Demand-Avoidance” (PDA) is a proposed mental Disorder, centered on the avoidance of “ordinary” demands, typically the requests by other persons. There is substantial debate and many controversies surrounding it, including that PDA, is used to allow children to transgress adult-centric cultural norms due to the use of collaborative approaches; these include reducing demands, offering two-three choices, and negotiating with the child. Consequently, in 2013, Damian Milton asked, exactly who has a “pathological” need to control whom?

Investigating this question, a thematic analysis is being conducted of selected PDA literature. Two main preliminary themes are emerging. One is that there is a power struggle between adults and children believed to have PDA, and the second is a power struggle between advocates for the “PDA Profile of ASD”, and those critical of this outlook. These results will likely add to the PDA’s controversies and its ongoing-historical debates. There is an urgent need to attempt to establish a robust ethical case for using PDA in clinical and research settings.

Talk 2, Title: Towards an Avant-Garde Dishumanism

Talk 2, Abstract:

This talk will put the theories and aesthetics of avant-gardism into conversation with recent theories of mental disability arising from critical disability studies and madness studies. It does so in order to develop a critical approach that both expands literary disability studies’ formal criticism, and provoke avant-garde theorization to reconsider some of its founding aestheticization and metaphorization of mental disability. This talk develops this interdisciplinary encounter through analysis of avant-garde writing by poets who have documented lived experiences of mental disability and ableist harm. I analyze the modes by which mentally disabled avant-garde poets integrated disruptive aesthetics with their lived experience. Through this analysis, I theorize avant-garde dishumanist aesthetics and social critique, based in Daniel Goodley and Katherine Runswick-Cole’s theorization of dis/humanism. With critical attention to silenced narratives, a combined avant-garde dishumanism presents a complex temporality that acknowledges incompleteness, messiness, and the shifting critical positions of communicative relation in audiences of the present. Avant-garde dishumanist texts trouble normative and dominant ideologies for the purposes of creating experiences of future modes of relation and communication from located and embodied positions of disability. This talk ultimately argues for a literary disability studies approach informed by avant-garde poetics to both address the avant-garde’s roots in mental ableism, and deepen disability studies’ formal textual analysis.


Andrew McEwan is the 2022-2023 Tanis Doe Postdoctoral Scholar in Gender, Disability, and Social Justice in the School of Disability Studies at Toronto Metropolitan University. He researches and writes on literary and cultural representations of mental disability, madness, and neurodivergence. He has published academic writing in the edited collections Literatures of Madness: Disability Studies and Mental Health and Imaginary Safe House. He is also a writer with two published poetry collections: Repeater (shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award) and If Pressed, and the forthcoming Tours, Variously (2024). He has also published numerous literary chapbooks including Conditional, Can’t tell if this book is depressing or if I’m just sad, Theory of Rooms, and Recoveringly (forthcoming 2023).

Talk 3, Title: New Project – Intersectionality of Stigma and Place-Based Ageing

Talk 3, Abstract: Come and join us to talk about our new project. We are looking to set up an advisory board and would like to hear from you about our ideas and potentially bring you on board.

The project synopsis
Stigma can lead to increased barriers to services, exclusion and negative experiences, yet little is known about the lived experiences of people impacted by several dimensions of stigma (intersectional stigma). The new Intersectional Stigma of Place-based Ageing (ISPA) Project will explore and understand how stigma attached to where people live, disability, and ageing intersect to give nuanced insights to the structures and systems that drive exclusion and to tackle inequalities experienced by older disabled adults.
This project will examine inequalities and stigma to develop interventions related to home and environmental modifications that encourage inclusive approaches that support people to age well within homes and communities.
This ambitious 5-year participatory mixed method study will include innovative analyses of secondary longitudinal quantitative data, new ethnographic qualitative data, and co-production with disabled community peer-reviewers. A new community peer-research group of disabled adults will be the heart of this project to developing more inclusive approaches to ageing in place that break down the barriers to access and inclusion in key services created by stigma.
Why this project is important
The ISPA project is so important because we know very little about how stigma intersects in different ways. Imagine that you live in an area which is often tarred with an unfair “blemish of place”. These are often our most multi-deprived areas and stigmatisation of place often results in underrepresentation, underinvestment and people living there often experience additional barriers. Now imagine you live in one of these stigmatised areas but you’re also experiencing ageism related to growing older. Perhaps also, you are living with a disability and experiencing discrimination due to this.
This project sets out to capture that nuance and intersectional experience and then translate those insights to changes in the home and wider environment that can tackle that stigma. We have an incredible range of partners signed up for our emerging Inclusive Living Alliance who are going to help us develop much more inclusive approaches to ageing-inplace.
Project team
The project is led by Dr Vikki McCall with Co-Investigators Professor
Alasdair Rutherford, Dr Kim McKee and Dr Dianne Theakstone, University
of Stirling in partnership with Dr Louise Reid, University of St Andrews,
Professor Rose Gilroy, Newcastle University and Professor David Manley,
University of Bristol.
Wider project co-investigators also include Debs Allan, Scottish Federation
of Housing Associations and Jeremy Porteus, Housing LIN.
The keystone to the project will be building an Inclusive Living Alliance, a
UK wide network.

Project partners already working with ISPA include:

  • The Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI)
  • Foundations
  • Public Health Scotland
  • Horizon Housing Association
  • Springfield Properties plc
  • Link Housing Group
  • Motionspot
  • Stonewater Housing Association
  • Artlink Central
  • The Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO)
  • Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities (SCLD)
  • Care & Repair Scotland
  • Care & Repair Cymru

Date: December, 14th 2022

Time: 2-4pm

Presenter 1, Name: Poongkothai, T

Presenter 2, Name: Steve Graby

To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drf-seminar-series-2022-event-4-tickets-482976404427

Talk 1, Title: Issues and Challenges of Visual Impaired Women who are away from their Family

Talk 1, Abstract:

The basic understandings of the society on people with visual impairment are, unable to see the world and being depended on others. The major foundation of women development begins from their family. According to the literature, most of the Indian families follow patriarchal thoughts. There are not many studies related to women with visual impairment in the literature. They are being marginalized in society by their gender and disability. The factors are analysed by random sampling with thirty (30) participants who are willing to share for the proposed qualitative and quantitative study with the limitation of a special approach to participate in the study on” Issues and Challenges of Women with Visually Impairment who are away from their Family”.

The objective of this study is to find out the causes and consequences of visually impaired unmarried women who stay away from their family.

The outcomes of the study are: 1) Visually impairment is a cause to bring the participants under one roof, 2) Strategies possessed by the visually impaired women to fulfill their needs, 3) Developing their independent lifestyle and 4) Getting a life partner.

Key words: Visually Impaired Women, Disability, Issues and Challenges.

Authors: T.Poongkothai *& N. Manimekalai**

* Ph.D. Research Scholar, Department of Women’s Studies, Bharathidasan University, ThiruchIrappallai – 23, E-Mail: vslp.family@gmail.com

** Professor & Head, Department of Women’s Studies, Bharathidasan University, ThiruchIrappallai – 23

Talk 2, Title: “Mutual support is absolutely a shared value”: synergies and potential for constructive engagement between co-operatives and the Disabled People’s Movement

Talk 2, Abstract:

Co-operatives are businesses which are collectively owned by their members and which follow an internationally agreed set of co-operative principles (Birchall 2011). In the UK, the best-established types of co-operatives include housing and workers’ co-ops, while there is growing interest in the potential of multi-stakeholder co-ops (those with two or more classes of member-owners) particularly in the area of social reproduction, including services used by disabled people such as personal assistance and communication support.

While some previous work has pointed towards synergies and similarities between co-operatives and the Disabled People’s Movement (e.g. Beresford 2016; Roulstone & Hwang 2015), in the UK (unlike for example in the Nordic countries) there has been little organised contact or collaboration between the two. However, many disabled people are members of co-operatives, and they have significant potential for challenging and surmounting disabling barriers in many aspects of daily life and for meeting many access and assistance needs that are currently not met by the state or market sectors.

This paper is based on research on disabled people’s involvement in co-operatives of all kinds in the UK, but focusing here largely on interviews with disabled members of housing and workers’ co-ops. Participants perceived both considerable synergies and possible tensions between the principles and practices of co-ops and those of the DPM. Key areas of connection include values of equity and inclusivity, subsidiarity or control by the directly affected, non-paternalistic solidarity, collective autonomy and interdependence. Identifying and examining these, while acknowledging problematic aspects such as unexamined barriers and ableist ideology within co-ops, points towards the value both of the co-operative business form as a strategic tool for disabled people, and of constructive dialogue about shared ideas and principles for both the disabled people’s and co-operative movements.