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Anyone for Hawaii? CFP: Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity 2016

The 32nd Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity will be held on 25-26 April 2016, at the Hawai’i Convention Center in Honolulu, USA.

This year they are featuring topic areas such as Putting Research into Practice and Disability Studies.

The Call for Proposals is NOW OPEN.

For more information, please visit www.pacrim.hawaii.edu, or feel free to e-mail at prinfo@hawaii.edu, or call at 1-808-956-7539.

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CFP: special forum on Disability and Aging for the Review of Disability Studies

We are pleased to announce the release of an exciting Call for Papers for a special forum on Disability and Aging for the Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal. 

This is a timely topic because population aging is taking place in nearly all countries across the globe and, by mid-century, older persons are projected to exceed the number of children for the first time ever (UN, 2013). Within reports published by global governing bodies, disability is routinely assumed and directly referenced as a consequence of population aging. Although powerful in their potential to direct support to targeted issues, such reports may also contribute to a “crisis rhetoric” (Kennedy, 2002, p. 226) that rests on an “inappropriate conflation” (Chivers, 2011, p. 22) between disability and aging, which begins with the assumption that all older people are disabled by virtue of their being old. Such conflation has implications for public policy and entitlement to services and supports. Furthermore, research, policy and practice have tended to treat disability as a product of unsuccessful aging, and aging as an obstacle to living well with a disability. There is a paucity of research that explores the nuances and complexities of the relationship between disability and aging (Freedman, 2014).

Papers considered may take the form of academic and creative works, as well as reflections on international disability-specific policies, practices, pedagogies and developments.

Please click here: http://www.rds.hawaii.edu/special-forum-on-disability-and-aging-call-for-papers/ to download the remainder of the announcement including a list of suggested topics for exploration and detailed submission requirements through the RDS online submission system at www.rds.hawaii.edu

Please note that the deadline for submission of papers is October 31st, 2015. If you have further questions please contact the Special Guest Editors Dr. Katie Aubrecht and Dr. Tamara Krawchenko katieaubrecht@msvu.ca and tkrawche@gmail.com.

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Reminder: Next DRF Seminar Tues. 10th Feb. 2015

The details for the next DRF seminar are as follows:

Date: Tuesday 10th February, 2-4, Room 10111

Slot 1: Harriet Cameron, University of Sheffield, UK: Dyslexia, Discourse and Higher Education

Under UK law dyslexia is a disability and the label entitles students within higher education to certain supports. However, students with the label I have come across during my work as a specialist tutor conceptualise dyslexia in different ways.  Some say they feel they are just ‘stupid’, some consider dyslexia a medical condition, some feel that dyslexia is a positive, and others feel they are simply different, part of a neuro-diverse population.  My position is that the ways dyslexia is constructed in any particular interaction, or in any wider text, have implications for how students with the label construct their identities (and others’ identities) as academic learners. In turn, I believe certain ways of being and doing are opened up or closed down by the ‘subject positions’ (Davies & Harre, 2001) these constructions offer. Today I will discuss a discourse analysis of two focus group conversations between dyslexic university students and myself. In this session I will talk about the different subject positions participants took up or offered, the wider discourses they drew upon, and the implications of these for ‘being’ and identity within the higher education context.  While this study has been undertaken in the UK, the implications are relevant to our understandings of learning and identity across the western world where individualistic and meritocratic ideologies pervade educational discourse. In helping students, teachers, and other educational practitioners to become more aware of the discursive production of ‘facts’ like dyslexia, the hope is that they will become better able to critically interrogate their own learning identities and have more awareness of the ways they position themselves and others.

  • Davies,B., and Harre,R. (2001) Positioning: The Discursive Production of Selves. Reading 19 in in Wetherell,M., Taylor,S., Yates,S. (Eds.) (2001) Discourse, Theory and Practice: A Reader. 261-271. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: Sage Publications/ The Open University.  

Slot 2: Teodor Mladenov, Kings College London, UK: Disability in state socialism and postsocialism

 Abstract:  Seminal works in disability studies (Finkelstein, 1980; Oliver, 1990; Stone, 1984) have shown that the analysis of large-scale transformations – such as the one from feudalism to industrial capitalism – is indispensable for understanding and critique of present-day constructions of disability. The transition from state socialism to postsocialist capitalism in Eastern Europe invites similar considerations – the genealogy of disability policy in postsocialist countries necessarily leads back to their socialist past (Philips, 2009). Proceeding from these presumptions, in this presentation I will first outline some political-economic features of state socialism that underpinned its productivism. Productivism will be regarded as a mechanism (‘assemblage’) that reduces humans to resources utilisable for the enhancement of productive output. I will then explore some ways in which productivism has shaped disability policy in the socialist countries of the Eastern Bloc. Finally, I will look at the ways in which this state socialist legacy has influenced present-day disability policy in the postsocialist region. I will welcome reflections on similarities and differences with ‘advanced liberal’ (Rose, 1996) societies such as the UK.

  • Finkelstein, V. (1980) Attitudes and Disabled People: Issues for Discussion. New York: World Rehabilitation Fund.
  •  Oliver, M. (1990) The Politics of Disablement. London: Macmillan.
  •  Phillips, S. D. (2009) ‘“There are no invalids in the USSR!”: A missing Soviet chapter in the new disability history’, Disability Studies Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 3, n.p.
  •  Rose, N. (1996) ‘Governing “advanced” liberal democracies’, in A. Barry, T. Osborne and N. Rose (eds) Foucault and Political Reason: Liberalism, Neo-Liberalism and Rationalities of Government. London: UCL Press, pp. 37-64.
  • Stone, D. (1984) The Disabled State. London: Macmillan.

Next DRF Seminar: Wednesday 25th March, 1-3, Room 10111 ~ with Kirsty Liddiard (University of Sheffield) and Nick Hodge (Sheffield Hallam University).

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Reminder: Next DRF Seminar – Weds. 10th December 2014: 10am-12pm

Details for the next DRF seminar are below. All welcome. And if you’d like to present at an upcoming seminar, please do let us know – available slots can be seen here.

Wednesday 10th December, 10am-12pm, Room 100009 (Arundel Building, Sheffield Hallam University)

Slot 1: Joanna Baker-Rogers: Asperger Syndrome – experiencing the phenomenon of friendship (Sheffield Hallam University, UK)

Abstract: As the mother of a son with the label of Asperger Syndrome (AS), I have observed my son enjoying friendships with peers both on the autism spectrum and non-disabled. These observations would appear to challenge the diagnostic view that persons with AS do not enjoy friendship. Instead they prefer solitary activities and being alone. This conceptualisation of the autism spectrum embodies the medical model of disability and in-particular the Triad of Impairments (Wing 1995). The literature is dominated by understandings of friendship of non-disabled people (O’Dell, Bertildotter Rosqvist and Brownlow (2013). There is little consideration of potential autistic friendships from a social model of disability perspective. Instead the focus is on the failure of persons with AS to aspire to and maintain friendships with the aim of improving themselves to experience friendship from a non-disabled perspective.  I have come to question whether concepts of friendship are being imposed upon persons with AS that have little meaning for them, are disabling and embody the concepts of normalcy (Abberley 1991) and ableism (Campbell 2012).

The medical model of disability view of persons with AS not being interested in friendship needs to be problematised. This presentation of my research critiques these misconceptions that have emerged as a result of social barriers in society. My research aims to capture the different and valid lived experience of friendship for persons with AS that challenges the conceptualisation of the autism spectrum as a tragedy for the individual and their family.

Slot 2: Chris Hill: Special School Sporting Experiences: Listening to Student Researchers Labelled with Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties (Sheffield Hallam University, UK)

Abstract: TBC.

DRF News

Pacific Rim International Conference (May, 2015: Hawaii, USA)

from… the organisers of the Pacific Rim International Conference (May, 2015: Hawaii, USA)

 

“For our 31st edition, Pac Rim is merging and partnering with another conference, so there is sure to be plenty of surprises! 

The Pacific Rim International Conference, considered one of the most ‘diverse gatherings’ in the world, encourages and respects voices from “diverse” perspective across numerous areas, including: voices from persons representing all disability areas; experiences of family members and supporters across all disability and diversity areas; responsiveness to diverse cultural and language differences; evidence of researchers and academics studying diversity and disability; stories of persons providing powerful lessons; examples of program providers, and; action plans to meet human and social needs in a globalized world.

In 2015, new topic areas will promote thoughtful discussion and suggest new ways to integrate education, technology, advocacy, activism and interdisciplinary research. We all strive to strengthen communities and enhance the lives of all human beings. Together, we can harness the tremendous synergy generated by the intermingling and cross-fertilization of diverse perspectives, and ‘spread the word’ as we continue our professional and personal life journey.

Take your first steps to the islands by visiting the website: www.pacrim.hawaii.edu.

We welcome your ideas, suggestions and enthusiasm. Then join us in Waikiki, Hawaii, May 18 & 19, 2015.”

 

DRF News, Uncategorized

CFP: Rethinking Disability on Screen: A One-Day Interdisciplinary Symposium (May, 2014)

Rethinking Disability on Screen: A One-Day Interdisciplinary Symposium

Date: Thursday 14th May, 2015, 

Venue: Humanities Research Centre, University of York

Website: rethinkingdisabilityonscreen.com

Twitter: @rdos2015

*** Deadline for abstracts: 16th January 2015 ***

 Keynote speakers: Stuart Murray, Professor of Contemporary Literatures and Film and Director of the Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities and Justin Edgar, Filmmaker and Founder and Creative Director of 104 Films (www.104films.com)

Cinema’s visual interest in disability registered almost from the moment of its invention. The historical tendencies of fiction film to show disabled subjects as objects of pity or comedy, as ‘monstrous’, as ‘resentful’ or as segregated from mainstream society have been critically documented from the 1980s onwards, but more recently, a number of international films featuring disability – Les Intouchables, AmourRust and BoneThe Sessions – have enjoyed both critical and commercial success.

Alongside TV coverage of the London-hosted 2012 Paralympics on Channel 4, UK terrestrial programming has addressed disability across a range of genres, from drama (Best of Men, BBC2) through comedy-sitcom (Derek, Channel 4) and social documentary (The UndateablesBodyshock, Channel 4), to mixed receptions. Such developments call for a re-examination of representations of disability on screen and their contribution to ongoing cultural, social, economic and political debates surrounding disability. This one-day interdisciplinary symposium at the University of York aims to unite postgraduates, early career researchers, established scholars and industry practitioners working across a range of fields and disciplines – including film studies, history, literature, cultural studies, gender studies, sociology and health sciences – to explore the ways in which cinema and television have reflected, and shaped, subjective and objective experiences of impairment and disability throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

We invite contributions in the form of 20-minute papers on a range of topics and genres, encompassing both fiction and non-fiction materials, as well as analyses of disability in production and reception contexts. The event will be underpinned by a number of key critical questions:

 

 – How visible is disability throughout the history of cinema and television? In what screen contexts is disability present? When has it been occluded, marginalised or suppressed?

 – What specific forms of disability has cinema embraced? Which has it neglected or rejected?

 – To what extent have cinema and television engaged with the emotional, physical and social implications of impairment and disability?

 – What forms of spectatorship do screen representations of disability construct/ presume?

 – How have representations of disability on screen changed over time? How much progress has been made, and what further directions should this take?

 

Our aims are to facilitate constructive, interdisciplinary conversations on existing scholarship, to discuss new avenues of enquiry and to promote interest and growth in this important but relatively under-studied area.

Presentation topics could include, but are not restricted to:

– disability, sexuality and romance

– disability and exceptionality

– isolation and integration

– dependence, independence, interdependence

– disability and genre (comedy, satire, romance, melodrama, thriller, documentary  soap, reality, children’s film and TV, animation, science-fiction, period drama, medical film)

– disability and film-making (able-bodied and disabled actors, directors and producers, disability activism in the entertainment industry)

– commercials, advertising and promotional material

– spectatorship and reception

– discursive exchanges between the fields of disability studies and film studies, past, present and future.

 

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be emailed to rethinkingdisabilityonscreen@gmail.com by Friday 16th January, together with a brief biographical note (100-150 words).

 

A number of travel bursaries, primarily for postgraduate students and ECRs from the White Rose Consortium and the Northern Network for Medical Humanities (nnmh.org.uk), may be available. Details of how to apply will be announced in due course.

DRF News

RDS New Issue features a Forum on “Popular Culture and Disability”

A few weeks old now but this post is better late than never!

From RDS:

We are pleased to announce the release of an amazing double issue of The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (RDS). Volume 10, Issues 1&2 marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of RDS. We look forward to 10 more years of excellence in the field of disability studies!

This issue contains a forum on “Popular Culture and Disability” guest edited by Holly Manaseri and Raphael Raphael. Forum authors explore everything from freak show discourse in XMen films to Lady Gagas use of disability imagery. The forum is followed by a diverse line-up of research articles lead by an article on gender, marriage and disability in Jordan co-authored by Salam Jalal & Susan Gabel.

Subscriptions to RDS start at only $25.00 for students. The print version is available only to subscribers. Don’t forget to check out our blog and Facebook page. Happy reading! 

Volume 10, Issues 1 & 2 (Copyright 2014)

Table of Contents

Editorial: Isolation: A Diary of Subtle Discrimination – Megan A. Conway, PhD, RDS Managing Editor

Forum: Popular Culture and Disability – Guest Editors Holly Manaseri, PhD, Hawaii State Department of Education, USA and Raphael Raphael, PhD, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA

Forum Editors Introduction p. 6

Forum Articles

The Legacy of 19th Century Popular Freak Show Discourse in the 21st Century X-Men Films – Fiona Pettit, PhD, Exeter University, United Kingdom 

Keep It Right – Homeland: The Female Body, Disability, and Nation – Joëlle Rouleau, University of Montreal, Canada

Body Vandalism: Lady Gaga, Disability, and Popular Culture – Christopher R. Smit, PhD, Calvin College, USA

Precarious Inclusions; Re-Imagining Disability, Race, Masculinity and Nation in My Name is Khan – Nadia Kanani, York University, Canada

Research Articles

Physical Disability, Gender, and Marriage in Jordanian Society – Salam Jalal, EDD & Susan Gabel, PhD, Chapman University, USA 2

Employment Outcomes for Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders – Ashleigh Hillier, PhD & Monica Galizzi, PhD, University of Massachusetts, USA 

Audio Description In Italy: An Anecdote Or A Social Integration Policy? – María Valero Gisbert, University of Parma, Italy 

Trends Toward the Integration and Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in Russia – S.V. Alehina, PhD, Institute on Inclusive Education, Moscow, Russia & Debra Cote, PhD, Erica J. Howell, PhD, Vita Jones, PhD, & Melinda Pierson, PhD, California State University, USA

Creative Works

Lucky to Be Here – Felicia Nimue Ackerman, Brown University, USA

Book and Media Reviews

The Book of Goodbyes: Poems by Jillian Weise – Reviewed by Johnson Cheu, PhD, Michigan State University, USA 

Writing Disability: A Critical History by Sara Newman – Reviewed by Dax Garcia, University of Hawaii, USA 

A Life Without Words, Directed by Adam Isenberg – Reviewed by Amanda McLaughlin, University of Hawaii, USA 

Shakin’ All Over: Popular Music and Disability by George McKay – Reviewed by Steven E. Brown, University of Hawaii, USA 

Disability Studies Dissertation Abstracts

Jonathon Erlen, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

 

Disability Studies and...

PhD Fees Bursary: Centre for Culture and Disability Studies

The Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (CCDS), Faculty of Education, Liverpool Hope University, offers one [fees only] bursary for a full-time PhD student. This is part of the overall research strategy of the centre, which aims to encourage and support the most important work in the field.

Like much work in the field of Disability Studies, the work of the CCDS is fundamentally concerned with social justice, with challenging and changing the inequalities and prejudices that people who are disabled face on a daily basis.  Though there are other centres for disability studies in the United Kingdom, the CCDS is unique in its focus on culture as the means by which prejudices around disability are circulated and perpetuated. This focus is explored in our journal, monographs, edited books, articles, seminar series, book series, presentations, networks, website, conferences, courses, and so on.

The successful applicant will be welcomed into this internationally recognised, vibrant community and expected to make a significant contribution to it.  Her or his research will be interdisciplinary, investigating aspects of historical, cultural, and/or educational representations of disability.

The successful applicant may have the opportunity to teach on our undergraduate Special Educational Needs course and, if so, teaching will be paid at the appropriate rates.  In addition the bursary holder will be required to offer administrative support to the CCDS.  The Dean has budgeted for up to 50 hours paid via Hope Works at the basic rate for administrative support.

The bursary will cover full-time Home/EU PhD fees for three years starting 1st October 2014 [£3,980 per academic year]. Payment of the bursary will be made directly to the Liverpool Hope University Finance Department annually. International applicants are welcome, and must be eligible to study in the UK.

The successful applicant will meet the University standard academic entry criteria for admission to a PhD, and will undertake the typical applicant process [including expression of interest, full application, and face to face interview]. It is expected that the successful applicant will complete and submit their PhD thesis within three years of initial registration. Continuation on the PhD is depended upon ongoing successful academic progression throughout the course.

The Centre for Culture and Disability Studies PhD Fees Bursary is only available for PhD applicants to study within this area of expertise at Liverpool Hope University.

For more information about the CCDS:  http://ccds.hope.ac.uk/index.htm

Guidance for applicants to the CCDS PhD Fees Bursary

Expression of Interest  Friday 18th July 2014
Full Application Submitted      Monday 1st September 2014
Interviews      Monday 8th September 2014, Tuesday 9th September 2014
Outcomes        Week commencing 22nd September 2014

How to apply
Information about Postgraduate Research at Liverpool Hope, the programmes offered and our entry criteria can be found on our web pages for prospective applicants:

http://www.hope.ac.uk/research/postgraduateresearch/

All applicants should use the Online Application System [please refer to the ‘Apply Now’ tab]. The standard deadline for Postgraduate Research applications for an October 2014 start has passed; however, applications for the CCDS PhD Fees Bursary follow the time frame stated above. When completing the application form you will need to enter your start date as January 2014/15, but you will be considered only for October 2014.

Expression of Interest
Applicants have up to 500 words to describe their area of interest to research for the PhD. Please provide as much information and detail at this stage to enable the reviewers to assess the potential project. From this a decision will be made whether or not to invite you to submit a full application.

Full Application
Applicants invited to submit a full application must complete all sections of the application form as appropriate. Candidates are invited to choose their own research project, although it is expected that it will fall within the area of Culture and Disability Studies. As with all doctoral programmes applicants will only be considered in areas where active research is present and a supervisory team can be provided.  Please make use of the ‘Advice on Writing a Research Proposal’ available on our applicant pages to guide you.

Interviews
Interviews for candidates will take place at the main Hope Park Campus. For students at distance arrangements can be made for a Skype interview. If you are invited to submit a full application please hold the interview dates in your diary. Candidates selected for interview will be contacted no later than Friday 5th September to confirm the date and time.

Questions
Should you have any questions about the applicant process, please contact: Mr Chris Lowry, Research Support Officer: researchdegrees@hope.ac.uk

Disability Studies and..., Events and Conferences

Event Report: Gender and Dis/ability Day – thinking about ‘access’ #gendisability

I’ve finally got around to writing up a report from our Gender and Dis/ability day. Here it is:

In the final chapter of her brilliant book, Feminist Queer Crip, Alison Kafer poses three points of coalition to help us move towards ‘accessible futures’: 1) talking about access and toilets; 2) linking disability and environmental justice movements; and 3) having feminist-disability conversations around reproductive justice. All were topics discussed by around 50 people in Sheffield on May 10th 2014 at Gender and Dis/ability: Asking Difficult Questions; a one day event co-hosted by the DRF based at Sheffield Hallam University, people from the University of Sheffield (including members of the Postgraduate Gender Research Network [PGRN], Sociology and History departments) and Lancaster University.

The idea for this event began when I (Jenny Slater) presented at the Troubling Gender conference hosted a year earlier by Charlotte Jones and Jennifer Kettle, convenors of the PGRN. The Troubling Gender conference was great, stimulated much discussion, and a credit to those who presented and organised. However, despite an intersectional focus, mine was one of the only papers to ‘trouble gender’ alongside dis/ability. Noting this, conversations began with one of the organisers, Charlotte Jones, as to how we could explicitly address an often missing analysis of dis/ability in a future gender-based event; and the Gender and Dis/ability event was born.

Gathering a number of interested people together, conversations began. As an organising team we were committed to thinking holistically about ‘access’; we wanted this to be apparent discursively, theoretically and experientially throughout the day. We thought about ‘access’ along the lines of gender and disability, but also in terms of cost (we wanted a free event), and who would feel expected and welcome (we made a call which we hoped would attract people outside of academia).

We managed the above to varying degrees; without a budget, some things were tricky. Everyone involved in organising the event were employed and/or students in a university so we could book a space free of charge within a university building. Yet, a university building wasn’t our first choice of venue because, whilst university buildings may make some feel welcome, they’re not places everyone feels they belong. Those who haven’t been to university, for example, may not feel they are (to use Tanya Titchkosky’s words) ‘expected participants’ at such an event. Furthermore, one only has to look at the architecture of most university buildings to find that disabled people are not the ‘expected participants’. Although finances meant we had to settle on a university building, finding a building we felt was suitably accessible within the university was difficult.

We settled (eventually) on the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield. This offered us three rooms, in addition to toilets, a foyer and a small kitchen on a ground floor, with some parking outside. The building was in no way perfect – for reasons none of us could fathom, a cobbled floor inside separated the main conference rooms from the toilets (including the accessible toilet). The foyer was small with little room for seating and there wasn’t a space for us all to ‘be together’ during the day. Working within university regulations, we couldn’t offer an informal crèche to allow access for those with children, as is sometimes done in other radical/DIY spaces.

We deliberated over how to overcome some of our access dilemmas. We relabelled toilet doors so, rather than the gender binaries presumed and concreted through ‘male’, ‘female’ and ‘disabled’/‘accessible’ toilets, we had ‘toilets with urinals’, ‘toilets without urinals’ and ‘accessible/private’ toilets (something I’ll come back to). We discussed whether it was better to have less general conference space in order to provide a quiet room for those that may need it for a variety of reasons including taking time out or administering medication (and decided yes, it was). We wrote notes to people chairing sessions asking them not to presume pronouns of participants. As people signed up to join the event, we asked what we could do to make the space more accessible to them (and after the event, we asked again – so we can continue to struggle towards ‘access’ in the future).

So, access wasn’t ideal – there were things we would have liked to have done differently. Yet, we wondered through the conference what it would mean to have a ‘fully accessible’ space. We asked this question of our participants overtly through our wall of post-it-notes for people to add their thoughts. One delegate asked ‘can access needs clash?’ to which someone responded, ‘yes – I trip on the textured pavement which is put down for visually impaired people’. We also borrowed a toilet door from Sheffield University’s students union on which participants scribbled their toilet-related thoughts. As well as some ‘bog’ standard puns (‘URINE TROUBLE’; ‘this event is THE SHIT’; ‘FLUSH AWAY YOUR PRECONCEPTIONS’), delegates’ scribblings made us think about what it means to have access to toilets. This included having changing places (most ‘accessible toilets’ aren’t accessible enough); having more space to manoeuvre in toilets, more toilets in non-commercial spaces (‘FREE TO PEE!’); and relabeling doors with what’s inside rather than who’s allowed or expected to enter to try create spaces away from the (cis) gaze.

Toilet Door Graffitti

Moreover, conversations of access, inclusion and belonging continued through workshops and presentations (we tried to have one workshop and one presentation session running throughout). The first few sessions, for example, included Hannah Paterson running a workshop asking how activism and protest could be made accessible; Naomi Jacobs thought about in/exclusions of stories of women and disability in the bible; and Peter Fuzesi and Melania Moscoso addressed questions of bodies, autonomy and power.

Frances Ryan, journalist for The Guardian and The New Statesman, was one attendee at the event. In an article written after attending she noted that “some of the differences that disability provokes can complicate feminism’s understanding of female bodies and the oppression of them”. Cat Smith and Mathy Selvakumaran‘s presentations on fashion, desirability and norms highlighted some of the often uncomfortable relationships between ‘disability’ and ‘femininity’. We wanted to make recordings of the event available to those who could not attend, however, our technical failings meant only one of these recordings worked – you can, however, listen to Cat and Mathy’s discussions on our new DRF SoundCloud page. I’d also recommend Cat’s article, Normcore is Bullsh*t, and Mia Mingus’ blog to think some more about the issues raised in these talks.

Similarly important discussions carried on after lunch with presentations on queer disabled identities. Alexa Athelstan introduced the work of Peggy Munson in an important talk which included bringing our attention to fragrance free as an access requirement (something I myself need to learn more about). Following this Suchitra Chatterjee discussed hate crime in a presentation called ‘Race, Gender and Disability – or the Physically Disabled Bisexual Transgender Woman of Colour in the Room’. For Frances Ryan, the feminist-disability dilemmas are perhaps “never […] more riddled than with abortion”.  Hazel Kent facilitated a workshop on reproductive justice to ask some difficult questions regarding the exclusion of disabled women from abortion debates and the conflicts between pro-choice arguments and reproductive rights which are fully supportive of parents with disabled children.

For the penultimate session I attended Jude Woods’ workshop on doing intersectional, participatory community work. We talked about the tensions of working intersectionally with groups of people whose priorities may differ. The struggles and complexities of coalition through social movements was a theme running throughout the day, and immediately on leaving this workshop a friend told me I had missed “a GREAT panel” next door – where Míriam Arenas-Conejo and Anna Wates were discussing dis/ability and/in social movements. Two pertinent tweets (#gendisability) after this session read: “Walking as action and agency linked to political protest but little thought given to pace or visibility” and “The Street romanticised as place of political action, but gendered as male space, exclusionary for disabled people”.

One of the parallel sessions in the final slot of the day was cancelled so we ended on a workshop which everyone was invited to attend – and again, the conversation came back to toilets. Charlotte Jones, Hari Byles and myself facilitated a workshop called, On the Toilet: the Politics of Public and Private Space. In the book aptly named, Toilet, it’s pointed out that toilets are spaces often considered mundane, amusing or unimportant; they’re often left forgotten or ignored… until, that is, they are inadequate or unavailable. Charlotte and I met Hari through a shared conviction that toilets as more usually inadequate for some than for others. As our toilet door graffiti showed us, toilets are places which bring up issues of in/exclusion, public/private, identities and norms. During the workshop we discussed people’s feelings on our toilet door relabeling. Some thought it was a good idea to label toilets by writing/showing what’s inside them. Some felt relieved to not have to worry about the problematic gender binaries toilets presented them with. Others pointed out, however, that they were still searching for the ‘right toilet’ (i.e. the one that they thought coordinated with their gender identity). Whilst some with physical impairments felt oppressed by the relabeling of the accessible toilet, as they worried that they’d be waiting even longer than usual for the only space accessible to them.

I could write about toilets for ages. Instead though, I’ll direct you to People In Search of Safe and Accessible Restrooms, or PISSAR, who are worth looking at for more on access and toilets. The point I want to end on, though, is that the conference finished with some of the dilemmas we as an organising team started with: conversations around what it means to ‘have access’. Issues of ‘access’ are never straight forward; yet, like Kafer suggests, moving towards accessible futures is about struggling together through coalition – moving forward with some of the difficult conversations we had on that Saturday in May. We believe these conversations are always worth having and we hope that that dialogue/action though the Gender and Dis/ability event will continue. You can join the conversation through twitter via @shudisability @gendisability #gendisability (you can also see some of the tweets made through the day here). Alternatively, I (j.slater@shu.ac.uk) or the Gender and Disability team (gender.disability@shef.ac.uk) can be contacted through email. We hope the event will happen again somewhere and in some form– so watch this space (and, if you’re interesting in getting involved in helping to organise, get in touch!).

Thanks to Charlotte Jones for her feedback on this blog post and all that contributed to what was a brilliant day.

 

DRF News, Events and Conferences

News: Gender and Dis/ability conference gets press coverage #gendisability

The fabulous Frances Ryan, who writes for The Guardian and The New Statesman, attended the Gender and Dis/ability Conference, co-hosted by the DRF the Gender Research Network at the University of Sheffield earlier this month. Read Frances’ latest New Statesman blog here, which is about feminist and disability movements, and gives a shout out to Gender and Dis/ability. Here’s a snippet to tempt you in:

“Feminist and disability rights are born from a similar cloth. They are battles to acknowledge that oppression doesn’t come from a biological reality but a socially constructed inequality. They are concerned with idealised human bodies. They fight the structures and power that wish to control them; in sex, in work, in reproduction.”

Don’t forget you get listen to the Podcasted panel on Fashion, Desirability and Norms on the DRF’s new SoundCloud page here (we’re going to try podcast more of our events, so watch this space and/or sign up to follow us on SoundCloud).