DRF News

Event: Diagnosis in educational and psychological practice: An interdisciplinary conversation (Jan 2014: Sheffield)

You are invited to register for an exciting, cross-disciplinary one-day conference:

Diagnosis in educational and psychological practice: an interdisciplinary conversation

…which will be held at The University of Sheffield on Monday 12th January 2015, 9:30am – 4:30pm.

The event has been organised through collaboration between Tony Williams (Educational Psychology), Harriet Cameron (Specialist Teaching in SpLD/ Dyslexia) and Alex Young (Clinical Psychology), and as such it brings together a range of perspectives on the uses and abuses of diagnosis from related, but often very separate fields of practice in education and psychology.

The main purpose of this event is to provide a critical space for attendees to explore some of the different ways in which diagnosis is experienced, to reflect upon the medicalisation of labelling in education and psychology, and to critically interrogate the assumptions they might have in this area. Through these conversations, it is hoped that we will address some of the challenges and paradoxes we face around medicalisation in the practice of specialist teaching and psychology, and that we will leave the conference with a greater awareness of the roles we play in (re)producing particular concepts of difference and difficulty.

If you are a specialist teacher, a mental health specialist, a researcher in a related field, a user of specialist SpLD or mental health services, an educational psychologist, a student in a related discipline, a clinical psychologist, a needs assessor, or a disability advisor, this conference is likely to be of interest to you.

The draft programme is attached. Precise titles for talks and workshops will be confirmed nearer the time.

To book your place, please go to http://onlineshop.shef.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&deptid=10&catid=119&prodid=333

You will need the password ‘diagnosis’ when purchasing your ticket. The tickets should be available now, but please try a little later if you find they are not yet up. There may be a short delay.

The cost is £20/ £15 concessions, and includes refreshments and lunch. The venue is fully accessible. Please let us know if you have any additional requirements.

We expect this event to be very popular, so if you would like to attend, please book your place as soon as possible.

For more information: contact Harriet Cameron on h.cameron@sheffield.ac.uk

 

DRF News

CFP: 10th International Conference on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology

10th International Conference on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology

Start Date: 20 July 2015 – End Date: 22 July 2015

Venue: Whitelands College, University of Roehampton, London, UK

The goal of this interdisciplinary conference is to present and discuss the state-of-the-art information on various aspects of Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. The conference will be of interest to those who are doing research with young people and to those working within child and adolescent mental health, education, social work and youth justice systems.

Keynote Speakers:

Dr Graeme Fairchild (University of Southampton): “Using a family design to study risk and resilience factors in the aetiology of Conduct Disorder”

Dr Eamon McCrory (University College London): “Biological embedding: How childhood maltreatment gets under the skin”

Dr Alice Gregory (Goldsmiths College, University of London): “The genetics of sleep disorders”

Dr Paul G Ramchandani (Imperial College London): “Getting in early to prevent mental health problems in children”

Dr Luci Wiggs (Oxford Brookes University): “Management of sleep disturbance in young people”

Prof Cecilia A Essau (University of Roehampton): “Mental health problems across cultures: Implications for intervention”

Call for Papers and Research Symposia

Abstracts for oral and poster presentations are warmly invited on any of the following themes:

(1) Assessment, prevention, and treatment of child and adolescent psychopathology;

(2) General issues (risk and protective factors, use of mental health services, different approaches to mental health services delivery);

(3) Cross cultural issues in child and adolescent psychopathology.

 

Abstract Submission Deadline: 15th May 2015

 

More Information: To find out more about the conference and to submit your abstract and register for the conference, please go to

http://www.roehampton.ac.uk/Research-Centres/Centre-for-Applied-Research-and-Assessment-in-Child-and-Adolescent-Wellbeing/Child-and-Adolescent-Psychopathology-Conference/

or contact: Professor Cecilia A. Essau

Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton, Whitelands College, Holybourne Avenue, London SW15 4JD, UK

Email: C.Essau@roehampton.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 20 8392 3647

Fax: +44 (0) 20 8392 3527

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

Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR) Research Seminar Series 2014/15 ‘Comedy, Health and Disability’ – Seminar 1

To celebrate their 1st birthday, the Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR) are holding their first Comedy Matters Research Seminar for 2014-15.

Date: Wednesday 8th October 2014

Time: 4.00pm-5.30pm with a drinks reception/birthday party 5.30pm-6.30pm

Location: Mead Room, Hamilton Centre, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH

Seminar 1 = Comedy and Mental Health Symposium

This symposium will discuss comedy and its relationship to mental health, with speakers discussing the psychology of the stand-up comedian, the use of stand-up comedy in reducing mental health stigma in the military and uses of comedy with mental health service users.

Speakers: Gordon Claridge is Emeritus Professor of Abnormal Psychology, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Emeritus Fellow, Magdalen College, and Visiting Professor, Oxford Brookes University. Professor Claridge is an internationally renowned expert in the relationship between personality and psychological disorders, adopting a broadly dimensional view. Recently, he has been involved in research on the psychology of the stand-up comedian. More generally, his research on the relationship between personality and psychological disorders has been inspired, on the practical front, by working as a clinical psychologist and, on the academic front, by experimental research on the topic. In mid-career he began to focus particularly on psychotic disorders, developing measurement scales for assessing schizotypal characteristics in the general population and using these to examine laboratory correlates in a wide range of subject samples, including relatives of psychotic patients. The central thesis in all of this work is that, while genetically predisposing to mental illness, psychotic characteristics are not in themselves pathological. On the contrary, they may have many healthy adaptive qualities, of which creativity is the most salient example.

Tim Sayers works as one of the arts in health co-ordinators at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT). He has a background in mental health nursing, specialising in working with people with severe and enduring mental health problems and also with people with drug and alcohol problems. Tim has been involved with arts in mental health on a voluntary basis for approximately fifteen years; initially as a founder member of the Brainstorm Arts in Mental Health Group in Birmingham, then as the founder member of BrightSparks: Arts in Mental Health Group in 1999. BrightSparks is dedicated to promoting positive images of mental health through the arts and has an expanding portfolio of arts projects which are mainly delivered in partnership with LPT. Tim is dedicated to using the arts, in particular comedy, to promote positive images of mental health, social inclusion, and service user and carer involvement. Tim is studying for an MSc in Recovery and Social Inclusion at Nottingham University at present, and has had articles published in his field in the past. He has extensive experience of teaching and workshop leading and is also an experienced freelance performer and workshop leader in the fields of music, poetry, comedy, magic and circus skills.

John Ryan is a stand-up comedian and one of seven co-researchers at the Department for Military Mental Health, Kings College, London, on a project that examined ‘modifying attitudes to mental health using comedy as a delivery medium’ in the armed forces. The research aimed to use comedy to help persuade military personnel to seek help with mental health issues. John is also winner of the 2011 Scottish Mental Health and Arts Film Festival Best Short Documentary Award, the 2010 NHS Regional Health and Social Care award winner for Mental Health and Well Being and in 2010 received a Royal Society for Public Health Special Commendation for contributions to the field of Arts and Health Equalities.

We are pleased to announce that we have one £40 travel grant available for a low income researcher or PhD student attending this event. Please email Simon Weaver [simon.weaver@brunel.ac.uk] by Monday 29th September 2014 if you wish to apply.  To apply please send a short paragraph (max 250 words) explaining why you wish to attend the seminar.

For catering purposes please register at comedy.studies@brunel.ac.uk

Everyone very welcome!

For more information, please email Dr Sharon Lockyer (Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Communications + Director, Centre for Comedy Studies Research (CCSR), Brunel University, UK) [Sharon.Lockyer@brunel.ac.uk]

Twitter: @Comedy_Studies

DRF News

Minimising Restrictive Practices in Health and Social Care ‘Safe Restraint’ Project – Consultancy Brief September 2014

[Posted on behalf of Disability Sheffield].

Disability Sheffield is a user led organisation, run and controlled by disabled people. We promote independent living for disabled people in Sheffield. By independent living we mean that disabled people have the same freedom and rights to exercise choice and control over their own lives as any other person

As part of Sheffield Individual Employer & PA Development Group and in partnership with Active Independence, Doncaster, we are running a project funded by Skills for Care under their ‘innovative workforce development fund. This project focuses on raising the issues of minimising the use of restrictive practices in Health and Social Care.

Overview of the project

Recent key documents jointly issued by Skills for Care and Skills for Health on Workforce Development Guidance for Employers seeking to minimise the use of Restrictive Practices in Health and Social Care sets out a clear Framework to be used by all (Skills for Care & Skills for Health 2014).

The focus of the project is to start to develop this conversation with individual employers and their Personal Assistants (PAs) by informing employers of the framework and gaining knowledge of how and when to use it as well as looking at developing good practice resources for PAs. Part of developing the conversation means working with representatives of the statutory services to inform and make changes to their practices. The Common Core Principles of self-directed support are about ensuring those people employing their own staff receive personalised and practical support to promote their health & well-being in ways which respect and promote their independence. Minimisation of restrictive practice plays a key part in this.

This project will develop a range of resources that are accessible in format which target employers in receipt of a Direct Payment and those who self-fund. The information raising action will then lead onto following up with developing a range of co-produced resources and events which will raise the profile of the issue and also inform wider implementation as there will be experts through experience informing future learning and practice. Opportunities already exist through current activity that enable a range of communication routes to be used to enable engagement with some harder to reach groups e.g. younger employers and those going through transition.

Project Outputs and Outcomes

By the end of the project, it is intended that a number of key outputs will have been delivered:

  • A general easy read flyer raising the issue & distributed to Individual Employers;
  • Contact with the widest range of employers who might be interested in progressing the project;
  • 3 separate co-produced questionnaires for statutory staff, individual employers & PAs which will provide information on existing practice, help develop a training needs analysis tool and provide a method for delivery to inform future practice;
  • Piloted sessions for individual employers and PAs on how to have the conversation that ‘Recognises the values and idiosyncrasies of the employer ‘, ‘What restrictive practices means’ and ‘Best support / interventions within a social context reflecting the social model of disability’; and
  • Information on sign posting to other support and advice.

It is intended that the project will involve obtaining feedback from up to 40 statutory staff (Social workers and clinical staff ), 20 Individual employers and 20 Personal Assistants. In addition in Sheffield Mentors / Coaches will have been trained to have the discussion and the topic will have been raised at the monthly employer drop in sessions. In Doncaster the topic will have been raised at the regular PA peer support group meetings.

It is intended that the project will result in an increased awareness and development of good practice within Sheffield and Doncaster with regards to appropriate restrictive practice. Alongside this, individual employers, PAs and practitioner will have access during the project and beyond to resource and training information developed during the project to support and develop their practice within this area.

Impact will be measured by the number of people who have been reached and the extent to which awareness has been raised; numbers attending the training sessions and responses to evaluation forms asking people how useful they found the training and the changes they plan to make to their practice.

Delivering the project

We are looking for a consultant to deliver an evaluation of this project. We are content for this to be a freelance/self-employed individual/team or an individual /team based within an institution.

This is a time-limited project and we are therefore looking for someone/a team who would be able to start work immediately. The work needs to be completed by 15th may 2015. There is up to £5,000 (inclusive of VAT if applicable) available for this piece of work.

Skills and knowledge

This is a short term consultancy and the consultant should have an excellent knowledge about the issues that impact on disabled people. We expect the consultant to:

  • Have knowledge of workforce development and innovation in the adult social care sector;
  • Have expertise in both process and impact evaluation – and of both quantitative and qualitative methods;
  • Have knowledge of research governance procedures in the social care sector;
  • Demonstrate their ability (and provide an undertaking) to complete the project within the specified time.
  • Demonstrate their ability to produce work to the highest standards – in particular the final report and project presentation
  • Have in place appropriate CRB/DBS disclosures and safeguarding policies and relevant professional standards/memberships; and
  • Have excellent communication skills and willingness to communicate with the project steering group throughout the course of this consultancy.

The main key tasks of this brief drawing on the practice and learning in Sheffield and Doncaster are to:

  • Provide an evaluation of the delivery of this project, both in terms of the delivery of project outputs and whether (and the extent to which) the project met its intended objectives;
  • Produce a short accessible report and standalone summary, suitable for Skills for Care publication; and
  • Deliver a presentation of key findings and recommendations for future learning and to inform national practice.

Registering your interest

If you are interested in delivering this project please register your interest by submitting a maximum 4 sides of A4 outlining your suitability for this role including your experience and skills and a brief summary of how you would propose to undertake the work, including timings. Additional information (e.g. Brief CVs, lists of relevant projects, testimonials etc.) can be attached.

Please send your expression of interest by 9am on Wednesday 8th October 2014 to: Emily Morton at Emily.morton@disabilitysheffield.org.uk

If you require this information in an alternative format please contact Emily at the above e-mail address or on Sheffield 0114 2536750

Consultancy Arrangements

  • The successful Consultant is expected to sign a contractual agreement prior to commencing work on the project and have relevant self-employed status and insurance cover.
  • The work shall be carried out in the Consultant’s offices and all expenses incurred in carrying out the work required by the brief shall be the responsibility of the Consultant unless otherwise agreed in writing.
  • The Consultant shall treat as confidential any information obtained in the course of the work.

 

DRF News

CFP: Special Edition of Journal of Popular Television on ‘Disability and Television’

Call for Papers: Disability and Television

Special Edition of Journal of Popular Television

Guest edited by Rebecca Mallett (Sheffield Hallam University, UK) and Brett Mills (University of East Anglia, UK)

Debates about disability – whether related to production and industry, content and representation, or audiences and consumption – have been largely ignored in the study of television, and this special edition of Journal of Popular Television aims to encourage the field to engage in this increasingly significant topic. We intend to provide a space to explore the contributions television studies and disability studies can make to one another, as areas of enquiry but also as fields engaged in the socio-political world.

We acknowledge the wide range of ways in which ‘disability’ has been defined and welcome submissions that engage with the complexity of the term and the uses to which it is put. Likewise we are interested in ‘television’ in its broadest sense, whether fictional or non-fictional, from docudramas and comedy to news and sports across all platforms.

We are keen for the edition to include as wide a range of voices, formats and approaches as possible, so while the ‘traditional’ academic article is welcomed, we also encourage other formats, such as personal reflections, treatises and manifestos or anything else that may be relevant and appropriate. Submission lengths may also be variable, so shorter and longer pieces are also invited.

We therefore invite expressions of interest from those interested in contributing to the special edition. This is due to be published in Autumn 2015, and submissions would be due 28 February 2015.

If you’re interested in contributing please contact Rebecca Mallett (r.mallett@shu.ac.uk) and Brett Mills (brett.mills@uea.ac.uk) by 8th September 2014 with an outline of your intended contribution; formal abstracts are not necessary at this stage. If you’d like to talk through any initial ideas with either or both of us before this date, please feel free to get in touch.

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.

Uncategorized

Event: School of Languages and Linguistics Postgraduate Colloquium (May 2014: Sheffield)

The School of Languages and Linguistics Postgraduate Colloquium, ‘Conformity and Dissent’ is taking place this Friday (16th May) and may be of interest to some of you.

It is being held at the Humanities Research Institute (University of Sheffield) on Gell Street. The programme for the day can be found via the conference website (details below) and includes a paper in an afternoon panel on disability as a form of dissent in a particular Spanish play.

[Thanks to DRF member Mathy SelvakumaranPhD Candidate (Wolfson Scholarship) – for alerting us to this event]

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.