Uncategorized

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, Spain

Event Announcement: “The Radicalisation of Care: Practices, Politics and Infrastructures” (Nov, 2014: Spain)

Title: “The Radicalisation of Care: Practices, Politics and Infrastructures” 

Dates: 19th – 20th November 2014

Venue: William J. Mitchell room (7th floor), MediaTIC building. Roc Boronat, 117, Barcelona, Spain.

Topic: The concept of radicalisation is usually associated to a process by which groups or individuals come to adopt increasingly extreme or immoderate positions, ideals or aspirations. But it also speaks of the attempts at introducing fundamental or far-reaching changes in a certain area or field. Drawing on this second meaning, in this workshop we aim to explore a series of trends that lead us to think that we might be facing a process of radicalisation of care.

Organising team: Daniel López, Israel Rodríguez Giralt & Tomás Sánchez Criado. Open University of Catalonia

Speakers: Madeleine Akrich, Blanca Callén, Jérôme Denis & David Pontille, Rob Imrie, Joanna Latimer, Daniel López, Andrew Power, Tomás Sánchez Criado, Vololona Rabeharisoa, Israel Rodríguez Giralt, Celia Roberts, Manuel Tironi & Myriam Winance.

Graphic report by Carla Boserman

Sponsored by: LaCaixa Internationalisation at Home 2014.

The event is free, although registration is needed.

All information available here: http://radicare.net

‪#‎radicare

Events and Conferences

Seminar: Theorising bisexuality, Dr. Surya Monro, Thursday 5th June, 1pm, Sheffield University

This event isn’t specifically addressing ‘disability’ but we thought it might be interesting to some of you:

Theorising bisexuality, Dr. Surya Monro (University of Huddersfield)

Thursday 5th June, 1pm, Boardroom, The Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), Sheffield University

The formation of Western categories of gay/straight, and the identities politics which are predicated on this formation, have largely erased bisexuality. This erasure is evident in both scholarly and community discourses, although in recent years in the UK there have been increasingly successful attempts to include bisexuals alongside lesbians, gays and trans people under the ‘LGBT’ acronym. Whilst bisexual people have become (arguably) more socially visible, there remains a large gap in contemporary sex/gender scholarship around bisexuality. This talk aims to begin to map out the territory, building on the existing work of scholars working mostly within sociology and cultural studies. The talk discusses possible directions for analysis, including interationaism, poststructuralism, queer theory and trans theory. It suggests that a materialist analysis is important in understanding the lived experiences of bisexual people, in keeping with a broader materialist turn within the social sciences. The talk draws on empirical material from research conducted in the 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

Event: ‘The Arts of Occupation’ with W.J.T Mitchell (May 2014: Sheffield, UK)

Although this event is not specifically related to disability research, we thought a few people might be interested.

Title: The Arts of Occupation
Speaker: Professor W.J.T Mitchell (University of Chicago, USA)
Date/Time: 24th May 2014 at 7pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Sir Frederick Mappin Building, University of Sheffield, UK
Tickets: Free, please register at http://artsofoccupation.eventbrite.co.uk

Description: W.J.T. Mitchell is Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago and editor of the ground-breaking interdisciplinary journal, Critical Inquiry. In this lecture, he gives a survey of the way the Occupy movement employed a variety of images, media, and performative acts to take possession of symbolic urban spaces. The talk will attempt to examine the spatial tactics of Occupy in relation to the long history of revolutionary public “spaces of appearance,” to use Hannah Arendt’s phrase, across the globe.

Information related to this message is available at https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/artsenterprise/inthecity.

Events and Conferences

Wicked Fish Theatre Company present: ‘From Here to There: The hidden history of People with Learning Difficulties in Merseyside’

Wicked Fish is a professional theatre and creative arts company, based in Liverpool. The core company comprises five Disabled People, three of whom are performers who have Learning Difficulties.

‘People Like Us’ is a two year, multi-disciplined and inter-generational project looking at the family, social and cultural history of People with Learning Difficulties in Liverpool and the Merseyside region. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. As part of the project, our exhibition, ‘From There To Here’ opened on 2nd May,
at the Museum of Liverpool.

More information on the flyer here.

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

Event: Manchester Centre for Youth Studies Launch (June, 2014: UK)

Event: Manchester Centre for Youth Studies Launch – ‘Contesting Youth in the UK – Key Challenges and Agendas’

Date: Thursday 26th June 2014

Venue: Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK (further details and directions to the venue can be found at www.hssr.mmu.ac.uk/mcys/)

Description: to mark the launch of the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies (MCYS), MMU are hosting a one day free event titled ‘Contesting Youth in the UK – Key Challenges and Agendas’ on Thursday 26th June 2014, in the Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University. This exciting and informative event will be used as a means to show-case work undertaken by colleagues at MMU that identifies the key challenges and agendas for research in this field. The event will bring together MYCS researchers, community groups, policymakers and practitioners working with young people, and local youth in a dialogue about how a new inter-disciplinary research centre can best engage with and address the challenges facing young people today.

The programme of events for Thursday 26th June can be found below.

For more information please contact: Dr Hannah Smithson: Co-Director MCYS (e mail: h.l.smithson@mmu.ac.uk)

Register for the event on Eventbrite here.

Programme for the Day

9.00 – 9.45 am: Registration

10.00 – 10.30 am: Welcome address

10.30 – 11.30 am: Keynote address- Helen Donohoe, Director of Research and Policy for ‘Action for Children’

11.45 – 12.30 pm: MMU Research ‘Spotlight’ Panel One

12.30 – 1.30 pm: Lunch (provided)

1.30 – 2.30 pm: Roundtable Session, discussants include:

  • Tony Lloyd – Greater Manchester’s Police Crime Commissioner (young people and crime)
  • Neil Mcinroy – CEO Centre for Local Economic Strategies (youth unemployment)
  • Dr Jenny Slater – Lecturer in Disability Studies, Sheffield Hallam University (young people’s disability rights)
  • Helen McAndrew – Head of Manchester Secondary Pupil Referral Units (young people and education)
  • Sufiya Ahmed – Author (gender and diversity)

2.45 – 3.30 pm: MMU Research ‘Spotlight’ Panel Two

3.30 – 4.00 pm: Open discussion

4.30 pm onwards: Book launch and drinks reception – Dr Melanie Tebbutt: Being Boys: Youth, Leisure and Identity in the Inter-war years, Manchester University Press.

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

Uncategorized

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.