1. Monday, 11th November 2013: 10am-12pm – Arundel 10111 (SHU)
Slot 1: Ghasem Norouzi (Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran, & Visiting Research Fellow at University of Sheffield, UK): How do supported employment providers promote ‘meaningful work’ opportunities for people with learning difficulties?
This paper reports a study about ‘How do supported employment providers promote ‘meaningful work’ opportunities for people with learning difficulties?’ by providing a thematic analysis of the views and experiences of the eight supported employment providers (SEPs) in city in the North of England (Northtown). An eclectic approach, using qualitative methods (narratives inquiry, ethnography, interview, and observation) was adopted. The findings argue that ‘meaningful work’ meant more than just ‘paid employment’. It must include earning money, increasing self-esteem, self-respect, freedom, empowerment, choice on the work, enjoyment and satisfaction of people with learning difficulties with their lives. This findings show that generally, the SEPs through supported employment agencies had offered a lot of services to the employers and employees with learning difficulties. They were successful in increasing the employers’ awareness of the ability of people with learning difficulties; finding jobs and workplaces for people with learning difficulties; and supporting their employers in solving problems inside and outside of work. However, the SEPs were not successful in enabling people to gain ‘meaningful work’ in mainstream employment. The results of this study indicate various structural and individual barriers for people with learning difficulties to obtain ‘meaningful work’. Structural barriers include negative attitudes of employers, parents, carers, and service providers; inflexibility of the benefit system; unenforced legislation; difficulties in using public transport, and; a lack of long-term employment service support. The findings also revealed some major individual barriers including: unwillingness to work, a lack of confidence, having difficulty in communication with managers, colleagues and customers at work, a lack of qualifications, and limited social skills. This study suggested some ways of overcoming structural barriers including: changing the negative attitudes of employers, parents, carers and service providers towards people with learning difficulties. It also highlighted some ways of overcoming individual barriers included increasing self-confidence and providing suitable training for people with learning difficulties.
Slot 2: John Rees (Independent Scholar, UK): History, Memory: Eugenics and the Holocaust, Fighting the Concept of the Perfect Neo-Liberal Human being today
2. Wednesday, 27th November 2013: 2pm-4pm – Arundel 10212 (SHU)
Kate Macdonald (Ghent University, Belgium & Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London, UK): Reading First World War fiction for tales of impairment
Bio: Kate Macdonald teaches British literature and literary history at Ghent University, Belgium, and is a specialist in British literary history of the early twentieth century. She is the leading scholarly authority on John Buchan, and has published widely on middlebrow literary culture and book history. She is the series editor, with Ann Rea, for the Literary Texts and the Popular Marketplace monograph series for Pickering & Chatto, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London. She podcasts at www.reallylikethisbook.com, and is a member of the Vulpes Libris book blogging collective at http://vulpeslibris.wordpress.com/.
Abstract: This paper describes preliminary findings from my research for the CENDARI project at King’s College London, for which I’m a visiting research fellow. I’m reading fiction published during or shortly after the First World War to collect images and descriptions of the impaired body. I’m looking for the war-wounded ex-soldier and also for the man who could not serve due to physical impairment caused by congenital conditions, disease or industrial injury, because my hypothesis is that some kinds of disability were considered at this time to be more deserving than others. I will be using a cross-disciplinary approach to consider how these depictions were used, using my reading of historical assessment, disability studies theory, and literary analysis. My sources are from popular culture, since my wider project is on the depiction of the impaired body in popular culture, 1914-1939. Thus I am not looking at Lady Chatterley’s Lover or Mrs Dalloway, but at serialised magazine fiction, novels in reprint series, and advertisements. ‘Popular fiction has long been understood as having the potential to make visible the intangible nature of discursive power, cultural values – especially at moments of social transition – and emerging imaginative constructs that enable popular understandings of crisis and desire’ (Moody 2008).
3. Monday, 9th December 2013: 10am-12pm – Arundel 10111 (SHU)
Slot 1: Sue Chantler (Independent Scholar, UK): Is this inclusive?: Teachers Resisting Narratives of Normalcy within the Classroom
Abstract: The paper is based on the findings from a study in which I worked with a group of primary school teachers through a process of reflection-on-practice in the context of educational inclusion for children with the label autism. Titchkosky (2011) argues that current notions of access and inclusion within social institutions, for example schools, are predicated on the notion of the disabled individual as the ‘problem’. Within neoliberal conceptions of education and childhood there is a ‘cultural imperative to fit in, under a rubric of normality, to strive to be normal’ Goodley (2011, p146 citing Davis 1995); disabled students have to prove themselves against ‘normate standards’ of competence (Biklen 2002). The process of school performativity perpetuates a model of education which problematises children whom it is unable to ‘normalise’. The teachers in the study frequently identified the ‘problem’ with regard to educational inclusion as the system of education itself: the curriculum, the class sizes, the lack of effective and timely professional development, and the attitude of some teachers towards their work and towards children who do not conform to the stereotypical ‘norm’. Their perspectives reveal some of the ways in which teachers resist the process of ‘normalcy’ within the classroom.
Slot 2: Emma Spring (English Federation of Disability Sport): Findings from a Recent Report
Abstract: The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) is the strategic lead in sport and physical activity for disabled people in England. Our vision is that disabled people are active for life. Part of EFDS’s work is to champion opportunities for disabled people to enjoy sport, supporting the sport and physical activity sectors to be more inclusive. To achieve our vision, we work with various stakeholders. They include National Governing Bodies of sport (NGBs) and National Disability Sport Organisations (NDSOs) to increase
EFDS have conducted research designed to gain a better understanding of disabled people’s lifestyles, not just about their sporting habits, but how sport does or does not fit into their livelihood. By understanding more about disabled people’s lifestyles in general, we can start to understand the trigger points, motivational drivers and their likely sustainability. Rather than disabled people grouped generally by their impairment or other key demographics, they can be grouped by their motivations. Then, offers for these groups can be designed more appropriately and engage more disabled people based on their needs, rather than other factors. This presentation will deliver some of the results from this report, highlighting what this means for disability sport.
4. Tuesday, 11th February 2014: 2pm-4pm – Arundel 10111 (SHU)
Slot 1: Andreas Dimopoulos (Brunel University, UK): Police and Disability: Legal and Policy Considerations from the Social Model and British Sign Language
Abstract: In a recent case from the European Court of Human Rights, Dordevic v Croatia, the ECtHR held that Croatian police violated Art. 3 ECHR, because the police failed to protect a person with intellectual disabilities and his mother from disability harassment. The similarities with Fiona Pilkington’s case are striking. In UK law, Z v Police Commissioner for the Metropolis and Finnigan v Northumbria Police raise some important issues as to how the police address issues of disability. I will briefly discuss these cases in order to argue that the duty to promote equality under the Equality Act 2010 requires a stronger application through the social model of disability: the police has to be able to assess and be responsive to the specific needs of the person with disabilities. In the case of Finnigan this required the use of British Sign Language. I argue that the benefits of wide use of languages such as BSL, or Makaton are not fully appreciated by policy.
Slot 2: Dianne Theakstone (University of Stirling, UK): To what extent the governance structures in Scotland and Norway facilitate or impede disabled peoples’ access to independent living.
My presentation is about my recent PhD international comparative study which explored the ways in which housing shapes citizenship outcomes for disabled people. Evidence from Scotland and Norway indicate that as one of the most vulnerable groups across societies (WHO 2011), disabled people currently experience partial citizenship (Cronin and Habermas 1998). My research includes a mixed-methods approach and is entitled: “Building Inclusion: to what extent governance structures in Scotland and Norway facilitate or impede disabled peoples’ access to independent living?” It highlights the interconnections between citizenship, disability and housing studies.
However I will argue that due to the perpetuation of negative connotations around disability, citizenship outcomes of disabled people could progress through the disassociation of accessible housing. Notions such as wheel-chair accessible or specialist needs housing would be replaced by the concept of design for all. Therefore, the research data indicates that opening up an opportunity to attribute universal design constructions for the mainstream in both countries may increase compliance. Therefore I propose that the ethos of independent living for disabled people across cultures requires a holistic perspective with interrogation of its components, such as accessible housing, in order to assess the best strategies towards progressing disabled peoples’ citizenship outcomes.
5. Thursday, 13th March 2014: 2pm-4pm – Arundel 10111 (SHU)
Slot 1: Cassie Ogden (Univ. of Chester, UK): Troubling Borders with Bodies that Seep: an critical sociological exploration into children’s experiences of leaky realities and how we can learn to accept our bodies in all its leaky glory.
Slot 2: Jenny Slater (SHU): School Toilet Chat: Exploring how Issues of Space, Access, Embodiment, Identity and ‘Normal’ Function in the the Lives of Young People
For George (2011), toilets are “the big necessity”; a mundane part of life that, until absent or inadequate, we rarely pay attention. One place these facilities are consistently found to be inadequate are in schools (Burton, 2013, Greed, 2010). Vernon, Lundblad and Hellstrom (2003) reported that 62% of boys and 35% of in the UK avoided using toilets whilst at school (citing reasons of lack of hygiene, privacy and bullying); and in 2013, a study in Scotland similarly highlighted the poor state of school toilet (Burton, 2013). Here I seek feedback on a proposal which hopes to utilise theorisations of disability, queer and fat activists and academics, to think hard about school toilets as transdisciplinary spaces to explore how issues of space, access, embodiment and normal function in the lives of young people.
6. Tuesday, 8th April 2014: 2pm-4 pm – Arundel 10111 (SHU)
Slot 1: Esme Cleall (Univ. of Sheffield, UK): Orientalising Deafness: disability and race in imperial Britain
Slot 2: Arianna Introna (Univ. of Stirling, UK): A Scottish ‘paradox of devaluation in the midst of perpetual discussion’? Narratives of Disability in Scottish Studies
Abstract: Scottish cultural and literary discourse has oscillated between visions of Scottish culture perceived as ‘neurotic’, ‘underdeveloped’ and ‘deformed’ due both to disabling historical processes and to the ensuing cultural anxiety, and conceptualizations which have re-valued it as ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’. Both perspectives have reproduced unexamined assumptions regarding the undesirability and necessary erasure of disability. In order to investigate the extent to which the neglect of a disability studies perspective in Scottish literary criticism may be rooted in the specificities of a Scottish cultural context, my presentation will examine the simultaneous reliance on and rejection of narratives of disability in Scottish Studies. This exploration is work in progress as part of my PhD research on the interaction between representations of disability and the politics of belonging in Scottish literature.
7. Wednesday, 7th May 2014: 10.30am-12.30pm – Arundel 10111 (SHU)
Slot 1: Joshua Sawiuk (Univ of Leeds, UK): The Importance of the Social Life for Disabled Students in Higher Education
Slot 2: Charlotte Jones (Univ. of Sheffield, UK): Intersex and/as Disability: Exploring the tensions between identity, medicalisation and social justice