DRF News

Reminder: Next DRF Seminar… 16th November (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, Events and Conferences

Seminar Announced on ‘Investigating Socio-Technical Experiences of Disability in Social Media’ (8th March 2011)

The following event has been added to the Other Events section.

Event: Centre for Culture & Disability Studies (CCDS) Research Forum *FREE!*

Date: 8th March 2011 ~ 4pm – 6pm

Venue: WAREE036 (Powys Lecture Theatre), Liverpool Hope University, UK. 

  • ‘Disability 2.0: Investigating Socio-Technical Experiences of Disability in Social Media’ ~ Sarah Lewthwaite (Learning Sciences Research Institute, School of Education, University of Nottingham, UK)

Abstract: For many young people, social networks are an essential part of the student experience. Sarah Lewthwaite explores disabled students’ experiences of disability in social networks to understand how dis/ability difference is ascribed and negotiated within such networks, and the impact it has on university life. This research is firmly located within the social sciences, drawing on the thinking of Foucault to develop understandings of disability and power relations online. However, its research object, the socio-technical mediation of disability, is interdisciplinary, drawing on research territories that are unfamiliar to many disability studies researchers. Sarah gives a backstage look at negotiating a path through interdisciplinary disability studies research, touching on information sciences and human computer interaction, and the particular problems and opportunities that this kind of activity presents. She introduces the notion of ‘bricolage’ as a user-friendly multi-perspective methodology and research approach that has enabled her to develop new, technology-enhanced and accessible research methods, and develop a research lens drawing on complementary methods from Activity Theory, Phenomenography, Discourse Analysis and Case Study. It will be an interactive session aimed at researchers and students, but prior knowledge of the methods and technologies presented is not necessary. Following on from an orientation in social media research for disability studies, Sarah will also talk about the findings of her research, which consider the ways in which social technologies reposition disabled people within taxonomies of identity, enabling some and dis-abling others.

For further information from the organisers, please contact: Dr. Ria Cheyne: cheyner@hope.ac.uk

DRF News

Disability Research Gets a New Doctor

We are thrilled to announce that on 22nd November 2010, long-standing and dedicated DRF member Sarah Lewthwaite successfully navigated her viva.  Examined by Prof. Jane Seale (Plymouth) and Dr. Kay Hawe (Nottingham), a summary of the thesis is below and more information about Sarah’s work can be found on our People and Publications pages.  Congratulations Dr Sarah!!!

PhD Title: Disability 2.0: Student dis/Connections.  A study of student experiences of disability and social networks on campus in Higher Education.

PhD Summary: Sarah’s thesis explores the networked experiences of disabled students to examine how dis/ability difference is ascribed and negotiated within the social network Facebook.  The thesis presents 18 case studies that generated 34 internet-enabled phenomenographic interviews.  The research draws on the thinking of Foucault and the notion of bricolage as an approach to research that lies at the juncture between disability studies, educational research and social media.  The research finds that networks are shown to have the potential to reposition disabled students within taxonomies of identity.  Two interrelated conclusions are drawn.  First, social networks are essential to student life, yet not all students can access them on an equal basis, introducing a digital divide with material social outcomes.  Second, networks represent a redefinition of dis/ability where some students with impairments are non-disabled, or may adopt non-disabled interactions, where others do not.  Diversity is thus suppressed and students disabled by the network are doubly disadvantaged as disability is rendered invisible and the social and digital divide of the network is reinforced.

Events and Conferences, Inclusion

(Re)thinking inclusivity in higher education event

Call for presentations and bookings to participate in forum to share ‘inclusive’ practice within higher education, 4th April 2011 at Sheffield Hallam University.

Sheffield Hallam University, in partnership with both Leeds Metropolitan University and the University of Sheffield, is delighted to be hosting this unique and free one-day event. This Show ‘n’ Share Fair will provide an opportunity for staff to network, share “inclusive” practice and generate new ideas to enhance innovation in teaching practice and support for all students, embracing the diversity each student brings into the realm of higher education.

You are invited to submit a proposal to present and share an aspect of your “inclusive” practice with interested colleagues. This is an opportunity for our colleagues to learn first-hand and ask questions about the uniqueness of your teaching and support practice which engages students from diverse backgrounds. For more information about submitting a proposal please click here.

Of course, one does not have to show ‘n’ share something to attend this event. If interested in only attending and witness the various inclusive and innovative teaching and practices that are occurring in our very own institutions, please register click here.

Click here for more specific information on event