DRF Seminar Schedule 2017-2018

  1. Thursday, 28 September 2017, 3.30-5.30pm in Arundel 10111

Antonios Ktenidis, University of Sheffield: Height As “The Elephant In The Room”: (Un)Learning The ‘Growing’ Body

While the ‘ideal’ body and/or the ‘corporeal standard’ (Kumari-Campbell, 2008) has/have been discussed in relation to dis/ability(ism) (Goodley, 2017; Slater, 2015), health(ism) (Shilling 1993; 2010), weight(ism) (Lebesco, 2004; Bordo, 2003), sex(uality)(ism) and race(ism) (Rice et. al., 2016; Slater, 2015) and beauty(ism) (Garland-Thomson, 2009), an unacknowledged feature of it/them is height(ism) (Feldman, 1975). Usually implied in terms such as body size and shape and utilized in various measurements, such as the Body Mass Index (BMI) (Fletcher, 2014), height is still treated as ‘the elephant in the room’ – there, but not there.

With this presentation, I aim to explore the identification of height with ‘growth’, as materialized in arborescent structures of knowledge(s) (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987), such as the World Health Organizations’s normative growth charts (de Onis et al., 2012), and performed through constant height measurements from infancy to adulthood (National Health System Digital, 2016). I further consider the biopolitical technologies of surveillance (Foucault, 1984) e.g. the Red Book, which serve to secure the normative ways of ‘growing up’ and (re)produce ‘hierarchies of shortness’. Finally, I argue that such technologies act as affective biopedagogies (Wright, 2009; Harwood, 2009), teaching one how to live and feel their own body as well as how to perceive other bodies (Rice et al., 2016; Ahmed, 2004; Shilling, 1991).

  1. Thursday, 2 November 2017, 1:30-3:30pm in Arundel 10310

Katharine Terrell, Sheffield Hallam University: “How white supremacy and audism influence discourses around language and education in the USA: a critical comparison of Black English and Black American Sign Language (ASL)”

In Audre Lorde’s words, “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not lead single-issue lives” (1984), and this is true in considering the way Black Deaf children’s language has been, and continues to be, a source of oppression and struggle. This paper considers how discourse around language contributes to naturalising white supremacy; that is, the concept that white language, culture, and “ways of knowing” are superior (Mills, 1997). A significant but understudied area is Black American Sign Language (BASL), a variation of American Sign Language (ASL), the language of the North American Deaf community. BASL lies at the intersection between white supremacy and audism, “the hearing way of dominating, restructuring, and exercising authority over the deaf community” (Lane, 1992). Just as “African American studies critiques white supremacy, Deaf Studies critiques … audism.” (Bauman, 2008). I draw from scholars of “race” and Deaf studies to critically consider and compare the ways in which white supremacy and audism both have their bases in assumptions of the moral, intellectual and aesthetic superiority of the dominant white and hearing (non-deaf) cultures. The history of public policy and discourse around language in the education of Black and Deaf children has revolved around concerns that students are taught to communicate “properly” and “normally”, as exemplified in the Oakland Ebonics debate. Perhaps less well known is the history in segregated Deaf schools of paternalism and oralism (a system of education that uses only lip-reading and forbids sign language). I will argue that concern about students communicating “properly” is more than misguided benevolence, but rather a way to suppress Black and/or Deaf “ways of knowing” (such as in the concept of “Deafhood”) in order to reinforce the supremacy of white and hearing (non-deaf) thought, culture and language. I consider how both Black and Deaf bodies and language have been dehumanised, pathologised and problematised in similar but historically distinct and unique ways in educational systems (Lane, 1992; Jackson, 2006). I draw on researchers who critically consider their position within hegemonic discourses and integrate Black and Deaf epistemology into their work, which Rodney sees as essential in “race” studies (1972).

Stephen Connolly, Sheffield Hallam University: Not ‘research on’, not ‘research with’ but research by emanci-participatory approach to autism research.

[The following abstract was written with no input from my spelling person, iv tried as much as possible to use correct grammar but I imagine that there is still a large amount of grammatical mistakes why have I not had any input from my spelling person? youll find out with the presentation of course.]

There is a growing movement within the autism research world. I say growing as it has been there for some time, even before the now leaders of this charge took up arms over the past few years there has always been elements of this movement. In the early 90’s the likes of Rita Jorden worked with autistic professionals to deliver training as she could see the benefit to the audience. Yet where this movement was just simmering it feels like now it’s on a full-blown rolling boil. The movement I speak of is that of emancipation through participation, leadership and ultimately ownership. This summer there was the Critical Autism conference, the National Autistic Society’s The Autism Show, the Suicidality in Autism conference series and Autism and Mental Health conference to name a few. The one question Actually Autistic’s asked was, are the speakers autistic? With heavy criticism laid upon those conferences that lack an autism presence in the key note speaker list. The same is true with the litany of papers around autism that are published throughout the year.

This question is an important one not only so that autistic researchers get work though this is a plus but rather it is a question of power and voice. The autism community has often in the past been used as a resource much the same as other minority communities, used by researchers to further a sense of wonderment and a career. But there is some good news (kinda), there has been a shift in how autistic participants are seen and used, Tregaskis and Goodley (2005) highlighted that disability literature is moving away from research ‘on’ disabled individuals and towards research ‘with’ disabled individuals which has resulted in the promotion of the ‘disabled voice’ within research. Building on this in the past four or five years has been the move towards participatory research and the ‘gold standard’ that is emancipatory research. However I challenge how much this voice is still allowed to be heard. I put forward that power still resides with the non-autistic lead researcher and that the concept of voice is being used to give a guise of progressive inclusiveness in a one-upmanship of ‘gold standard’ inclusive and accessible research. Rather than just having a token autistic researcher involved or the use of an autistic working group I put forward a concept of complete community control using my method of emanci-participatory research. This method is a simple one reduce the power imbalance as much as possible by giving those involved (note the non-use of participant or the fallacy of co-researcher) as much choice as possible and as a result remove how much their voice can be restrained or influenced to truly promote the ‘disabled voice’. Yet there are still issues particularly around how ethics does not allow for emergent research and how institutional governance has the ultimate power especially when the research is part of a PhD.

Now I appreciate this abstract is rather reductionist positioning anything but research conducted by autistic researchers that empowers the autistic community as less than (feeding into that one-upmanship I highlight as a negative) but this abstract aims to get people to the DRF (even if that isn’t in person). The presentation itself puts forward an argument that there is room for most types of research but that research has to recognise its own power balance and where possible ask themselves some key questions. To facilitate this discussion I use my research which looks at the inclusion of students that identify as autistic in higher education. The method I put forward isn’t a check-box list of how to do the next level of inclusive research but rather a philosophy to carrying out what I see as ethical and inclusive research whilst also drawing attention to the issues I discussed.

  1. Monday, 11 December 2017, 2.30-4.30pm in Arundel 10212B

Stephanie Swain, Sheffield Hallam University: 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.

Emma Rice, Sheffield Hallam University: 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.

  1. Monday, 15 January 2017, 2-4pm in Arundel 10212A

Dr Emma Sheppard, Edge Hill University: Considering Crip Time

This paper presents an exploration of why the notion of crip time should be expanded within cripistemologies that consider fatigue, pain, and brain fog – to include experiences of “pacing,” thinking, and living slowly.

Dr Ella Houston, Liverpool Hope University: Disabled Women and Advertising Myths

My presentation is adapted from my PhD research, focusing on the representation of disabled women in UK and US advertising and the extent to which cultural stereotypes may impact on disabled women’s subjective wellbeing. In my presentation, I provide examples of participant analyses and my own analyses of three ads portraying women with mobility impairment, mental health issues and visual impairment. I focus on the ways in which advertising representations of disabled women dominantly support ‘inclusionism’, to use Mitchell and Snyder’s (2015) term, rather than authentic inclusion of bodily and mental health diversity.

  1. Thursday 18 January 2018, 2-4pm in Arundel 10212B

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

  1. Wednesday 28th February 2018, 3.30-5.50pm in Arundel 10212B

Anna Przednowek, Carleton University, Canada: 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.

Abstract: 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).

  1. Friday, 9 March 2018, 12-2pm in Arundel 10212B

Erin Pritchard, Liverpool Hope University: “He’s Adorable”: Representations of People with Dwarfism in Family Guy

This presentation examines how people with dwarfism are represented in the American animated sitcom Family Guy. Whilst the show has been criticised for its controversial humour, in this presentation I argue that the show actually exposes negative social attitudes that people with dwarfism encounter from other members of the public, whilst refraining from encouraging stereotypes of dwarfism. It builds upon Fink’s (2013) suggestion that animated comedies are a source of both humour and social commentary. It is suggested that Family Guy has the potential to challenge social attitudes towards people with dwarfism, and the way they are perceived in society, through directing the humour towards those who mock them as opposed to those with dwarfism.

Maria Tsakiri, Frederick University – University of Nicosia: Emotion Pictures – Documentary & Disability International Festival and crip activism

My paper will attempt to examine disability film festivals as the spaces where the representations of disability in films, and more specifically in documentary films, work towards a change that is required for understanding disability. I find that the representations that lead to this change are representations of “crip killjoys” (Johnson and McRuer). I also argue that disability film festivals combine arts and activism,bringing together crip killjoys, giving them the space to take action, and challenging notions of normative aesthetics and compulsory able-bodiedness. This paper will suggest that disability film festivals can be the spaces where crip activism works towards inclusion and social justice in austerity times. I mainly focus on the Emotion Pictures – Documentary & Disability International Festival where I undertook my fieldwork at the beginning of my research.

  1. Tuesday, 8 May 2018, 2pm-4pm in Arundel 10212A

Marianthi Kourti, University of Birmingham: Autistic autism professionals: Facing the stigma and managing the emotional labour

Autistic individuals often have very little power in the creation of autism spaces. They are seen as the service users whose needs are assessed and serviced by non-autistic individuals. Autistic professionals have tried to challenge that narrative in recent years, trying to include the autistic voice in the decision-making process both as academics and as professionals working with autistic individuals. This paper focuses on the unique identity of being an autistic autism professional and being in the intersection of two identities often considered incompatible with each other.

First of all, being an autistic autism professional comes with significant emotional labour. Employers often don’t seem ready or able to recognise the needs of an autistic employee, even if they provide extensive training for working with autistic service users. Presenting the autistic individual as only being the one in need ignores the needs of an autistic professional. Autistic professionals are faced with dealing with the ableist views of their non-autistic co-workers and the responsibility to address them. They are often treated in a tokenistic way by their organisation, a position which is very difficult to challenge for many reasons.

As members of the autistic community, autistic professionals are faced with the challenges autistic individuals face during and after work. They may have friends and loved ones who are frequently in crisis and face many barriers and, once in a position of a relative power, they feel a burden of responsibility for creating visibility and employment opportunities for their community, whose foundations as a community have been created by many hours of unpaid labour by many of its members. Simultaneously, they have to keep challenging institutions and organisations who may employ them about their inaccessibility to the autistic community as a whole.

Finally, autistic autism professionals deal with others’ internalised ableism, whilst constantly facing and challenging the damaging mainstream autism discourse and managing the nuances of stigmatisation. For all the above reasons, I think it’s important to talk about the contested identity of the autistic autism professional in a meaningful, intersectional way.

Daniel Bendelman, University of Kent

Practice as Research (PaR), is an emerging academic field of enquiry which is concerned with epistemological enquiry situated within the practice of an array of art forms. This can range from dance, to performance and live art aesthetics. This offers artist researchers the opportunity to incorporate their own artistic practice as a field of academic research and situated place of enquiry.

In my presentation I will present some of my past pieces of PaR as an autistic researcher, concerned with the interrogation of the way the media produces a narrative of autism often rooted within stereotypes. These serve to reinforce ignorance surrounding the lived-in experience of autism.

I will speak about two past pieces of my work, ‘Fragments’ which was a PaR installation exploring the conflict between the phenomenological, semi-autobiographical experience of the ‘self’, when in opposition to mediated portrayals of autism. I will explain my working process and research behind the piece, and public impact. My second PaR piece I will speak about will be ‘We Were Here…’, this piece was loosely based on Frank Kafka’s ‘The Trial’, and was a post-dramatic exploration of the impact that the removal of Aspergers Syndrome from the DSM-5 had on my own experience as someone who was diagnosed with A.S from a young age and now strongly identifies with its history and culture.

After this I will briefly speak about the thinkers who most influence my work, and how I will be incorporating their discourses throughout my practice in my PaR PhD to offer ways of generating new knowledge within the field of both Critical Autism Studies and Performance studies.

  1. Tuesday, 5 June 2018, 1:30-3:30pmin Arundel 10310

Leah Burch, Liverpool Hope University: ‘All parasites should perish’: Blurring the boundaries of hate speech and banter

In a bid to justify extensive cuts to welfare support, disability has been positioned as a drain on so-called ‘hardworking taxpayers.’ A climate of financial instability has nurtured a culture of hostility towards recipients of welfare support and disabled people. This paper brings together the findings of two research projects, both exploring disablist hate speech within the context of austerity. First, I present some examples of online disablist hate speech, and consider the way in which these create a metanarrative of disability as dependent and unworthy. Following this, I draw upon some experiences of disablist hate speech, as narrated by disabled people. I consider the complexity of these experiences, both in terms of the harms that they present, as well as the everyday means of resistance that challenge these everyday expressions of disablism. I also offer some methodological reflections on the use of storytelling within disability research.

Katherine Runswick-Cole, University of Sheffield: 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.