DRF News

Announcing 5th Annual International Conference ***Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane***: More Questions of the Human (July, 2014: Sheffield, UK)

Event: 5th Annual International Conference ***Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane***

Theme: More Questions of the Human

Date: 7th + 8th July 2014

Place: University of Sheffield, UK

follow on twitter @normalcy2014  #normalcy2014

This conference is organised by the University of Sheffield, Manchester Metropolitan University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Chester, the University of Toronto in association with the White Rose Studies of Ableism Research collaboration.

The University of Sheffield is delighted to be hosting this conference in July 2014. This year our call for papers encourages engagement with the human and its historically problematic relationship with idealisations of the normal, the able and the non-disabled. The last 4 normalcy conferences have seriously contested and challenged these idealisations. For #normalcy2014 we seek to up the ante a little more and debate together what kinds of human/ity should be valued in our context of austerity, economic crisis and neoliberal capitalism. Some questions that might be addressed:

  • To what extent is ‘the human’ a desirable or problematic category?
  • In what ways do normative understandings underpin ‘universal’ notions of children’s humanity?
  • What does it mean to be post-human?
  • In these times of technological and human enmeshment does it make more sense to talk of the post-human than the outdated category of human?
  • Do we need to hang on to notions of de-humanisation as powerful political statements?
  • What do post-human politics resemble?
  • How do queer, dis/ability, postcolonial analyses evoke different or alternative notions of the human?
  • How might we (not) want to resist, revise and shape notions of the human?
  • Is the human worth fighting for?
  • To what extent is the human an ableist fiction?
  • To what extent are queers and crips nightmare characters to the narratives of humanity?


Abstracts of no more than 200 words (with a short bio) should be submitted by 1st February 2014 to the normalcy2014@gmail.com

Presenters will be informed of acceptance by 1st May 2014.  To secure a place in the conference programme, presenters should have booked a place by 30th May 2014. Keynotes will be announced before November 2013. In the spirit of an eco-friendly conference, registered delegates will be sent information electronically.  Details of accommodation near the venue will also be sent to delegates.

While the conference is FREE, we have secured funding for lunch and refreshments.  Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements so we can make the catering team aware of delegate requirements.


We look forward to welcoming you to Sheffield

Normalcy2014 conference organisers* in association with White Rose Studies of Ableism**

* Dan Goodley (UoS); Nick Hodge (SHU); Rebecca Mallett (SHU); Cassie Ogden (Univ of Chester); Katherine Runswick-Cole (MMU); Jenny Slater (SHU).
** http://whiterosestudiesofableism.wordpress.com/


DRF News

DRF Seminar Series 2013-2014… filling up fast…

We’ve had a great response to our request for presenters for the 2013-2014 seminar series – slots are filling up fast (more info: here).  Don’t forget… if you, or anybody you know, would like to present at a DRF seminar please do get in touch. For that, or any other questions, please email Rebecca Mallett: r.mallett@shu.ac.uk or Jenny Slater: j.slater@shu.ac.uk.

DRF News

CFP: 1st Global Conference: Sexuality and Disability (May 2014: Portugal)

Event: 1st Global Conference: Sexuality and Disability

Dates: Tuesday 6th May – Thursday 8th May 2014

Place: Lisbon, Portugal

Call For Presentations:

“Sexuality is an integral part of the personality of everyone: man, woman and child; it is a basic need and aspect of being human that cannot be separated from other aspects life.” (World Health Organisation)

Statistics suggest that over 50 percent of disabled people do not have a sex life, which is not surprising given the fact that disabled people are too often considered as non-sexual or asexual. Recent television programmes shown in the UK have attempted to document the sex and love lives of the disabled, The Undateables and Sex on Wheels (both Channel 4 TV). While such programmes can be seen as progressive in terms of acknowledging that disabled people want and/or have sex lives, moving away from the popular perception of disabled people as asexual, they also perpetuate the medical model of disability in which disability is constructed in sympathetic terms and portrayed in a voyeuristic fashion: disability as object of festishistic scopophilia. While social issue cinema continues to evoke sympathy rather than challenge conventions, horror cinema constructs disability not only as sexualised but often as monstrous abnormality linked with criminality. Images of disability may aim at evoking disgust through the construction of the discourse of abjection. In addition, the sex lives of the disabled are too often ignored within the arena of disability politics itself.

This conference seeks to challenge popular conceptions and perceptions of sexuality and disability. In addition to academic papers, we are particularly interested in opening up a space for the discussion of personal experiences of disability and sexuality and the role of sex workers, community programs and the work of sex educators. Inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary perspectives are sought on sexuality and disability, including cross-cultural
and transcultural perspectives. Non-traditional presentations are encouraged including workshops, performances and round table discussions.

Papers, presentations, workshops and pre-formed panels are also invited on any of the following themes:

1. Representations of Disability and Sexuality

– Visual images – painting, photography, advertising

– Moving images – television, film, video, theatre, performance art

– Music and disability – music videos, groups, artists

– Narratives of disability – poetry, biography, autobiography, fiction and non-fiction

2. Desire and Disability

– The fetishization of disability

– Normative/Non-normative desires

– Voyeurism and disability

– Eroticism and disability

– Disability and the politics of disgust

– Dating and disability

3. Gender and Disability

– Feminism and disability politics

– Femininity and Masculinity and disability

– Gender, class and disability

– Body image and disability

4. Sexualities of Disability

– queer, trans, and other non-normative sexualities

– disabilities and sexualities

– aging and sexuality

– appropriate versus inappropriate expressions of sexuality

5. Difference and Disability

– Visible/invisible disabilities

– Intellectual disabilities

– Mental health issues including depression

– Ethnicity, sexuality and disability

6. Sex Work and Disability

– Sex educators

– Sex workers

– Community programs

– State run programs

7. Law, Ethics, the State and Disability

– Eugenics and state stationed sterilisation

– Legislation, disability and sexuality

– Ethics, desire and disability

– Cultural conceptions of disability and sexuality

– Sexual abuse and disability

Presentations will also be considered on any related theme.

In order to support and encourage interdisciplinarity engagement, it is our intention to create the possibility of starting dialogues between the parallel events running during this conference. Delegates are welcome to attend up to two sessions in each of the concurrent conferences. We also propose to produce cross-over sessions between two and possibly all three groups – and we welcome proposals which deal with the relationship between the experience of prison, and/or responsible and ethical living and/or disability and sexuality.

What to send: 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 6th December 2013 If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 14th March 2014. 300 word abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c)
email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: SD1 Abstract Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs:
Colette Balmain: cb@inter-disciplinary.net<mailto:cb@inter-disciplinary.net and Rob Fisher: sd1@inter-disciplinary.net<mailto:sd1@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Gender and Sexuality programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and
exciting. All papers accepted for and presented at the conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the
conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

For further details of the conference, please visit: http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/critical-issues/gender-and-sexuality/sexuality-and-disability/call-for-presentations/

DRF News

Event: Meeting the Challenge of Behaviour (Nov, 2013: Sheffield, UK)

Event: Meeting the Challenge of Behaviour

Date: Friday 8th November 2013: 9.30am – 1.00pm

Venue: Double Tree Hotel, Chesterfield Road South, Sheffield, S8 8BW

Description: This event is sponsored by the Economic & Social Research Council for the ESRC Festival of Social Science. It is hosted by The Autism Centre, Sheffield Institute of Education at Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with Fusion Teaching School Alliance, Holgate Meadows and Heritage Park.

All welcome. This event is FREE!

Please register at http://www.shu.ac.uk/esrcfestival

Focus of the event: The problem of behaviour can often become mislocated within individual children and young people, viewed as part of their ‘condition’ rather than as a relationship issue between the young person, the people around him/her and the environments in which they are situated. Children and families become labelled as challenging and behavioural strategies can often become restrictive, punitive or exclusionary. This then threatens the inclusion agenda. The focus of this event will be to review what social science research reveals about the notion of ‘problem behaviour’ and to explore how this information can lead us to more positive and enabling strategies of support.


  • Amanda Costello—Deputy Head at Talbot Specialist School – welcome and introductions
  • Dr Nick Hodge—Reader in Education, Childhood and Inclusion – ‘What does research tell us about effective practice in meeting the challenge of behaviour?’ and discussion.
  • Tony Middleton— Executive Head of Holgate Meadows and Heritage Park – ‘Working in partnership with parents and carers whose children demonstrate behaviours that challenge’ and discussion

 For more info contact: Dr Nick Hodge: n.s.hodge@shu.ac.uk

Events and Conferences

CFP: 2nd Annual INSPIRe Virtual Symposium September 8-21, 2013

International Network of Student Perspectives in Research

Exploring ability expectations through diverse disciplines and topics

The Wolb Pack, a team of inter- and trans-disciplinary undergraduate and graduate research students based at the University of Calgary are pleased to announce a call for abstracts for the 2nd annual INSPIRe virtual symposium. The conference theme is “Exploring ability expectations through diverse disciplines and topics”.

Who should participate?

You should participate if you are an undergraduate or graduate studies student of a post-secondary institution/organization.

Aims of the conference

The aims of this conference are to:

  1. Encourage student discussion regarding socio-cultural ability expectations.
  2. Provide a peer-reviewed opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to showcase their work.
  3. Provide a platform for dialogue and networking without the costs of travel and conference fees.

Potential topics of submission

Topics may engage a variety of social groups (e.g. disabled people, ethnic minorities, gender,

socioeconomic status, immigrants, migrants, etc.) and discussion of ability expectations. Suggestions of topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Ableism
  • Aging
  • Bodybuilding
  • Bullying
  • Bionics
  • Climate change
  • Disability studies
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Energy issues
  • Environmental justice
  • ‘Eco-ability’
  • Equity and equality
  • Ethics
  • Eugenics
  • Feminist approach to ability expectations
  • Future of communication
  • Technologies and ability expectations
  • Global outlook
  • Health consumerism
  • Health science technology and health care
  • Human development
  • Human enhancement
  • Human security
  • Immigrant policies
  • Indigenous studies
  • Local outlook
  • Media discourses and representation of various social groups
  • Organ donation and transplantation
  • Peace
  • Privacy and health science technologies
  • Prospects of artificial wombs
  • Racism
  • Science and technology governance
  • Sensory systems
  • Social determinants of health
  • Social justice
  • Social robots
  • Social well-being
  • Sport
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainability and economics
  • The human body
  • Water issues

Full call for papers see here (Deadline 30 July 2013)

Disability Studies and..., DRF News, Events and Conferences

Reminder: next DRF seminar 14th March starring Mitzi Waltz and Jonathan Harvey

A quick reminder that the next DRF will be on Thursday 14th March, 2pm-4pm in Arundel 10111. After the seminar many of us will be making our way up to the University of Sheffield for Dan Goodley’s inaugural lecture at The University of Sheffield (more details here – please note the separate locations of these two events). Presenting this month will be:

Slot 1: Mitzi Waltz (Sheffield Hallam University, UK): Autism and Economic Disempowerment

Slot 2: Jonathan Harvey (The Open University, UK) Insider/outsider status: negotiating the complexity of life

See here for more details (and scroll down to March).

Venue: The seminar will be held in the Arundel Building, 122 Charles Street, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, S1 1WB.  For a map of City Campus click here.

If you, or anybody you know, would like to present at a DRF seminar please do get in touch.  Alternatively, let us know if there is an issue/article/book you’d like to facilitate a round table discussion on.

Even if you do not intend to present, feel free to come along, listen and share your thoughts.   For lunchtime slots, please feel free to bring your own food and drink.

We aim to be accessible and have produced some guidelines of which we would like presenters to be mindful – these can be accessed here: Accessible Presenting

To offer to present, facilitate a discussion or for more detailed access information please contact: Rebecca Mallett: r.mallett@shu.ac.uk or 0114 225 4669 or Jenny Slater: j.slater@shu.ac.uk or 0114 225 6691.

DRF News

Reminder: Next DRF Seminar ~ 3rd May 2012 (Sheffield, UK)

DRF Seminar Series: Seminar #7

Date/Time: 3rd May 2012 (Thurs) 2pm-4pm

Venue: Room 10111 in the Arundel Building, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University (More information on the venue can be found here.)

  • Slot 13: Steven Graby (Centre for Disability Studies, University of Leeds): Autism and/as “disabled” identity 

Abstract: TBC

  • Slot 14: Louis Nisiotis (Sheffield Hallam University): A Cyber Campus to Support Inclusive Education

Abstract: This study aims to review and explore the use of cyber campuses as a potential learning tool to support people who cannot regularly attend the University. Students whom due to various reasons have to be away from the University are missing important learning experiences and this research investigates the concept of cyber campuses as a support tool to overcome some of the barriers that restrict or exclude them from education. 

A virtual inclusive learning environment capable to support and enhance students learning experience has been developed. This presentation shall discuss the research method, the motivation behind this research and the expected contributions in knowledge. Also the work that has been done, the work that is intended to be carried out and the research challenges that are emerging during this investigation shall be presented.

***Coming Soon*** We will be shortly announcing dates for 2012-13 so watch this space if you would like to present a paper in an upcoming seminar. 


DRF News

Details of next DRF Seminar ~ December 2011 (Sheffield, UK)

DRF Seminar Series: Seminar #3

Date/Time: 6th December 2011 (Tues) 12pm-2pm [followed by Christmas drinks!!]

Venue: Room 10111 in the Arundel Building, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University (More information on the venue can be found here.)

  • Harriet Cooper (Birkbeck College, University of London): Othering and Ordinariness in Representations of the Physically Impaired Child in Anglo-American Culture in the period 1870-1911

Abstract: Although in recent years scholarship in Victorian and Edwardian Studies has begun to explore the issue of disability, it has tended to deal with questions of disability and gender or disability and work and has rarely focussed specifically on the cultural construction of the physically impaired child. When scholarship has explored the figure of the child, it has mainly examined the role of disability in shaping docile women out of unruly or passionate girls.

In this paper, I look at depictions of physically impaired child in the period from another angle. Texts to be examined include Charlotte Yonge’s The Pillars of the House, E. Nesbit’s Harding’s Luck and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. Drawing on both the techniques of literary analysis, and on recent scholarship in the field of Childhood Studies, I ask what is specific to representations of impaired children in this period that makes them different from depictions of impaired adults. I consider whether the Victorian impaired child is doubly ‘othered’ by his or her status as a child and as a disabled person, or whether, in fact, the figure of the impaired child is seen as more ‘ordinary’ than the figure of the impaired adult.

I conclude the paper by reflecting on the difficulty of making generalisations about the representation of the impaired child in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Can we say that ‘ordinariness’ is as important as ‘pathology’ as a category for understanding depictions of the physically impaired child at this time?

  • Jenny Slater (Department of Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University): Time travelling with young disabled people: Developing a queer, crip, critically young, futurist methodology

Abstract: Writing this abstract at the beginning of October, by the time of presentation I will be in the middle of several journeys in which I travel to future best-ever, Utopian, alternative worlds with young disabled people. These journeys will form part of my PhD research. In this paper I return to the present to work through some of the methodological perspectives I endeavour to take when setting out on my exploratory adventures.

Next Seminar: 8th February 2012 (Weds) 1pm-3pm

  • China Mills (Manchester Metropolitan University): Title TBC
  • John Quinn (Department of Politics, University of Sheffield): New Labour and Disability Politics

There are still a few slots available in spring 2012, so if you, or anybody you know, would like to present at a DRF seminar please do get in touch.  Alternatively, let us know if there is an issue/article/book on which you’d like to facilitate discussion.  Please email Rebecca Mallett: r.mallett@shu.ac.uk

DRF News

Details of next DRF Seminar ~ November 2011 (Sheffield, UK)

DRF Seminar Series: Seminar #2

Date/Time: 16th November 2011 (Weds) 2pm-4pm 

Venue: Room 10111 in the Arundel Building, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University (More information on the venue can be found here.)

  • Manny Madriaga (Sheffield Hallam University): Is seeking the disabled person voice really necessary in empancipatory research?

Abstract: This paper calls for a renewed thinking on emancipatory research when seeking the disabled student ‘voice’ in the arena of higher education.  Drawing on the work of critical race theory, particularly whiteness, disability studies in the United Kingdom recently has been foregrounding the social processes of normalcy.  Normalcy highlights the (re)production of disability in everyday life.  This, of course, raises uncomfortable questions, particularly on the significance of seeking the voice of disabled people. These questions are explored here, reflecting on research that encompassed stories of university support staff and their support of disabled students.

  • Erin Pritchard (Department of Geography, University of Newcastle): Space and time strategies of dwarfs in public space: Body size and rights of access to the built environment

Abstract: In this paper, I aim to explore the experiences of women dwarfs and their encounters with others within the built environment and how space and time affect their experiences and right to access spaces. I argue that a dwarf’s right to access different spaces is affected by both social and spatial barriers which occur during different times and within different spaces. It is argued within this paper that negotiations of everyday spaces – including avoidance due to fear of name-calling – affect a person’s basic rights. More specifically, attention is drawn to the reasons why dwarfs avoid certain areas because of their disability (which in this case is their size) and the ways they respond to particular situations within these spaces. I look at both how the built environment can be inaccessible and also how an attitudinal environment can create inaccessible spaces. Drawing upon recent work by Rosemary Garland Thomson (2011) I intend to show how having a small body results in people becoming ‘misfits’ within society through not fitting the norm both socially and spatially and therefore causing exclusion in various public spaces. This work draws upon ongoing qualitative research with women dwarfs in order to examine their social and spatial experiences and how they negotiate the built environment. The findings from this paper suggest that dwarfs do negotiate the built environment differently often though avoidance of particular spaces and this therefore limits their rights to access spaces.

Next Seminar: 6th December 2011 (Tues) 12pm-2pm

Harriet Cooper (Birkbeck College, University of London): Othering and Ordinariness in Representations of the Physically Impaired Child in Anglo-American Culture in the period 1870-1911

Jenny Slater (Department of Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University): Time travelling with young disabled people: developing a queer, crip, critically young, futurist methodology

There are still slots available in early 2012, so if you, or anybody you know, would like to present at a DRF seminar please do get in touch.  Alternatively, let us know if there is an issue/article/book on which you’d like to facilitate discussion.  Please email Rebecca Mallett: r.mallett@shu.ac.uk

DRF News

Reminder: DRF Seminar Series 2011-12 starts 11th October (Sheffield, UK)

DRF Seminar Series : Seminar #1

Date/Time: 11th October 2011 (Tues) 1pm-3pm 

Slot 1: Jayne Sellick (Department of Geography, University of Durham): The temporality of disabled identities: Examples from participatory work

Abstract: This paper explores the role of time and temporalities in the past and present experiences of participants, who as part of the project self-defined with a disabled identity. Drawing from a Participatory Action Research (P.A.R) agenda, stories relating to disability, impairment, health, chronic pain and illness were recalled. Using empirical examples I will explore the temporality of these experiences by thinking through the (non)representational.

Slot 2: Nick Hodge (Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion, Sheffield Hallam University): Misreading Arthur: Ableism at work in psychoanalysis and counselling

Abstract: Highly developed levels of reflection and self awareness by therapists and counsellors and the acceptance, and celebration, of the personal position of the client are foundational principles of counselling practice. It would be expected, therefore, that the counselling room might be the one space that would transcend the spectres of ableism (Campbell, 2009). However, the experiences of disabled people suggest that even here ableism continues to assert its insidious and invasive control (Reeve, 2000). This paper, by critiquing a particular account of psychotherapy with a disabled child, explores a number of ways in which ableism operates within the counselling room and negotiates the challenge of transversing different epistemic positions (Mackenzie and Leach Scully, 2007). The paper concludes by suggesting that only by watching their watching and reading their readings (Titchkosky, 2007) through an ‘inside-out’ approach (Williams, 1996) might counsellors reveal, confront and exorcise the spectres of ableism.

More information on the venue can be found here.

Next Seminar: 16th November 2011 (Weds) 2pm-4pm

Slot 3: Manny Madriaga (Sheffield Hallam University): Is seeking the disabled person voice really necessary in empancipatory research?

Slot 4: Erin Pritchard (Department of Geography, University of Newcastle): Space and time strategies of dwarfs in public space: Body size and rights of access to the built environment

If you, or anybody you know, would like to present at a DRF seminar please do get in touch.  Alternatively, let us know if there is an issue/article/book on which you’d like to facilitate discussion.  Please email Rebecca Mallett: r.mallett@shu.ac.uk