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While we’ve been away…

After ten years of disability seminars, 2015-2016 saw the Disability Research Forum (DRF) take a bit of a break. We will soon be announcing the return of our seminar series with a range of fascinating speakers.

tnm-book

While we’ve been away, Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: Precious Position has been published by the University of Chester Press. Many of the chapter authors have, at one time or another, presented at a DRF seminar. It’s a book close to our hearts and we thought you’d like to know more.

Description: Emerging from the internationally recognised Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane conference series, the chapters in this book offer wide-ranging critiques of that most pervasive of ideas, “normal”. In particular, they explore the precarious positions we are presented with and, more often than not, forced into by “normal”, and its operating system, “normalcy” (Davis,2010). They are written by activists, students, practitioners and academics and offer related but diverse approaches. Importantly, however, the chapters also ask, what if increasingly precarious encounters with, and positions of, marginality and non-normativity offers us a chance (perhaps the chance) to critically explore the possibilities of “imagining otherwise”?

The book questions the privileged position of “non-normativity” in youth and unpacks the expectation of the “normal” student in both higher and primary education. It uses the position of transable people to push the boundaries of “disability”, interrogates the psycho-emotional disablism of box-ticking bureaucracy and spotlights the “urge to know” impairment. It draws on cross-movement and cross-disciplinary work around disability to explore topics as diverse as drug use, The Bible and relational autonomy. Finally, and perhaps most controversially, it explores the benefits of (re)instating “normal”. By paying attention to the opportunities presented amongst the fissures of critique and defiance, this book offers new applications and perspectives for thinking through the most ordinary of ideas, “normal”.

Editors: Rebecca Mallett (Principal Lecturer at the Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University, UK), Cassandra A. Ogden (Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for Sociology at the University of Chester, UK) and Jenny Slater (Senior Lecturer in Education and Disability Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, UK).

For more info: click here.

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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

Reminder: A Week of ‘Disability’ Events (May, 2014: Sheffield, UK)

If you are in/around Sheffield next week and are into ‘disability’, you are certainly in for a treat. There are 3 events (detailed below) which might just take your fancy. Info below.

Event 1: the next (and final for this academic year) DRF seminar

Date/Time: Wednesday, 7th May 2014 (10.30am-12.30pm)

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

Venue: The seminar will be held in Room 10110 (first floor) of the Arundel Building, 122 Charles Street, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, S1 1WB.  For a map of City Campus click here.

To offer to present in 2014-2015 seminars 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.

Event 2: Symposium: Disability and Austerity: Pan-national Reflections

Date/Time: Thursday, 8th May 2014 (2pm-5pm)

Venue: University of Sheffield – Education Building, Room 1.02.

Event 3: Gender and Disability: Asking Difficult Questions

Date: Saturday, 10th May 2014

Venue: University of Sheffield- Humanities Research Institute (HRI), 34 Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY.

DRF News

Symposium: Disability and Austerity: Pan-national Reflections (May, 2014: Sheffield, UK)

Event: Symposium: Disability and Austerity: Pan-national Reflections

Date/Time: 8th May 2014   2pm-5pm

Venue: University of Sheffield – Education Building, Room 1.02. http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/maps/education

Description: The symposium will include the following brief presentations to spark debate and conversation:

  • Dan Goodley (University of Sheffield, UK): Defining and contesting austerity
  • Nick Hodge (Sheffield Hallam University, UK): The impact of austerity on the aspirations of people with autism
  • Katherine Runswick Cole (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK): Cruel optimism and disability
  • Susana Rojas Pernia (University of Cantabria, Spain): Disability barriers in Spain
  • Rebecca Lawthom (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK): Revolting subjects and austerity

If you would like to attend please email d.goodley@sheffield.ac.uk

If you like the sound of this… also consider coming to the May DRF seminar. Details below.

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

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Reminder, next DRF seminar tomorrow: history, Deafness, colonialism, Scotland, discourse…

A reminder that the next DRF seminar is tomorrow, Tuesday 7th April, 2pm-4pm in Arundel 10111.

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.

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.

Children, Familes and Young People, Critical Theory, DRF News, Events and Conferences, Media and Culture

Reminder: Next DRF Seminar – Thurs. 13th Mar (2pm-4pm)

When: Thursday, 13th March 2014: 2pm-4pm – Arundel 10111 (SHU)

Where: Arundel Room 10111 (SHU) [the Arundel Building = 122 Charles Street, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, S1 1WB.  For a map of City Campus click here.]

Everyone welcome!

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.

 

DRF News

Reminder: Next DRF Seminar – Wed. 11th Feb (2pm-4pm)

When: Tuesday, 11th February 2014: 2pm-4pm – Arundel 10111 (SHU)

Where: Arundel Room 10111 (SHU) [the Arundel Building = 122 Charles Street, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, S1 1WB.  For a map of City Campus click here.]

Everyone welcome!

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): Title TBC

…currently researching to what extent the governance structures in Scotland and Norway facilitate or impede disabled peoples’ access to independent living.

Upcoming events you might be interested in:

DRF News

Reminder: Next DRF Seminar – Mon. 9th Dec (10am-12pm)

When: Monday, 9th December 2013: 10am-12pm

Where: Arundel Room 10111 (SHU) [the Arundel Building = 122 Charles Street, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, S1 1WB.  For a map of City Campus click here.]

Everyone welcome!

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.

DRF News

Reminder: DRF Seminar #2 – Wednesday, 27th Nov 2013: 2pm-4pm (at SHU)

The DRF Seminar Schedule 2013-2014 continues next Wednesday with Kate Macdonald reading First World War fiction for tales of impairment.  All are welcome. We are looking forward to some fascinating discussions.

Seminar #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

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).

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/.

Venue: This 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.

For more info on upcoming DRF events, click here.

…and don’t forget, registration and abstract submissions are now open for Normalcy 2014.

DRF News

Reminder: DRF Seminar #1 – Monday, 11th Nov 2013: 10am-12pm (at SHU)

The ‘DRF Seminar Schedule 2013-2014’ kicks off next Monday with the following line-up…

 

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

 

Venue: This 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.

For more info on upcoming DRF events, click here.

…and don’t forget, registration and abstract submissions are now open for Normalcy 2014.