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.

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

Call for Papers: The Normalcy of Difference (AAG, February 2012: New York, USA)

The following session is co-sponsored by the Disability Specialty Group and the Geographical Perspectives on Women (GPOW) Specialty Group, of the Association of American Geographers (AAG).

Call for Papers: The Normalcy of Difference

Event: Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), February 24th–28th, New York, 2012

Session Organiser: Jayne Sellick (Durham University)

This session aims to explore the normalcy and/or acceptance of difference by focusing on disability, (mental) health, impairment and chronic illness and pain; however, papers may consider these and/or other embodied or gender differences by addressing conceptual, empirical and/or methodological work.

The normalcy of difference can be framed by drawing from various perspectives and thinking through new embodied geographies of inclusion (Parr 2008), as well as the interdisciplinary nature (Hansen and Philo, 2007) of difference research. These perspectives have drawn from the breadth of bodies represented through “multiple material, lived and imagined differences” (Crooks and Chouinard 2006): 346); while more recent body-object (Bissell 2008) and body-landscape (Macpherson 2010) relations refer to the nonrepresentational.  Papers may focus on:

  • The processes, practices and relationships that exist between, across and through these differences, object(s) and landscapes in space(s) and over time(s);
  • Conceptualising difference by focusing on the (non)representational and thinking through difference as a system, a set of practices, a relationship, kinds of embodiment, interactions with the built environment, frames of mind (Garland-Thomson 2004), an identity politics, an everyday experience, an assemblage;
  • Historiographies of difference and the role of space and time in accepting difference;
  • Methodological approaches to embodied and/or gender difference(s) and the role of participants in the research process;
  • The role of power relations (including those located in gender differences) in acceptance; the space and time of acceptance; the embodied difference of acceptance;
  • The potential of individual and collective action to (re)produce the (in)visibility of embodied difference;
  • The role of borders/boundaries in feminist/empowering approaches to difference as a form of individual/collective action;
  • Spatio-temporalities drawn from empirical work

Please send proposed titles and abstracts (no more than 250 words) to Jayne Sellick (j.m.sellick@durham.ac.uk) by September 25th 2011.


  • Bissell, D. (2008). “Comfortable bodies: sedentary affects.” Environment and Planning A 40(7): 1697.
  • Crooks, V. A. and V. Chouinard (2006). “An embodied geography of disablement: Chronically ill women’s struggles for enabling places in spaces of health care and daily life.” Health & Place 12(3): 345-352.
  • Garland-Thomson, R. (2004). Integrating Disability, Transforming Feminist Theory. New Brunswick, N.J., Rutgers University Press.
  • Hansen, N. and Philo, C. (2007) “The Normality of doing things differently: bodies, spaces and disability” Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 98 (4): 493-506
  • Macpherson, H. (2010). “Non Representational Approaches to Body–Landscape Relations.” Geography Compass 4(1): 1-13.
  • Parr, H. (2008). Mental health and social space : towards inclusionary geographies? Oxford, Blackwell.