I recently recieved this call on behalf of the Disability Research Forum. They write:
Now into its sixth year, the Disability Research Forum (DRF) continues to foster informal networks of disability scholars and provide researchers with opportunities to present their work in a friendly and encouraging environment.
Dates for upcoming seminars are below (we have tried to vary the day and time of the meetings to allow a range of people to attend).
Thurs. 14th October 2010: 11.30am-1.30pm
Mon. 15th November 2010: 12pm-2pm
Tues. 14th December 2010: 12pm-2pm
Tues. 15th February 2011: 1pm-3pm
Fri. 25th March 2011: 11.30am-1.30pm
Tues. 12th April 2011: 2pm-4pm
If you, or anybody you know, would like to present at a DRF seminar please get in touch. Alternatively, let us know if there is an issue/article/academic 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.
This year we are also planning to hold some seminar-days – details of these will follow shortly … and remember 14th-15th September 2011 sees the return of the hugely successful ‘Normalcy and the Mundane’ Conference at Manchester Metropolitan University.
These informal seminars are held in Room 10111 (First Floor) Arundel Building, Charles Street, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, S1 1WB.
For lunchtime slots, please feel free to bring your own food and drink.
For the first time, the 2010 biennial 5th International Disability Studies Conference will broadcast their keynote speakers between the 7th – 9th September, 2010. This conference, held in the UK in alternate years with the Nordic Network on Disability Research, is arguably Europe’s foremost conference on disability studies, so the opportunity to view from afar is very welcome.
In this post, I introduce speakers and their presentation times. This information is available via the conference website, however, as the conference pages do not link to external websites, and information about the speakers and their topics are listed across different media, for my own benefit I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing, linking and extending speaker information here. Please note, all links open in a new window. All times given are British Summer Time (GMT +1 hour).
Tuesday 7th September: 11:30-12:30 GMT. Caroline Gooding: Equality Consultant and Special Adviser to RADAR
Title: “Will the new equality duty deliver progress for disabled people?”
Abstract: Great claims were made for the disability equality duty when it was introduced in 2005. The race, disability and gender equality duties share a common ambition to root out institutional discrimination and change the culture of public sector organizations. Each of the three equality duties was framed slightly differently, with the disability equality duty having a greater emphasis on the involvement of disenfranchised groups and a clearer delineation of what improved equality would mean.There were some initial indications that the disability duty had begun to deliver on its ambitious agenda. However, the duties rely on the Equality and Human Rights Commission for effective enforcement. The operational difficulties experienced by that body, coupled with its failure to provide a unifying understanding of equality for the different groups with which it is concerned, appears to have led to a faltering in the momentum.The introduction through the Equality Act 2010 of a unified equality duty extending to sexual orientation, age and religion and belief presents a new challenge for those working to promote disability equality, with concerns that it waters down the overall requirements placed on public bodies, and fails to clearly reflect the distinctive barriers confronting disabled people.
Caroline is a long term disability rights activist and for more than ten years was Chair of the Trade Union Disability Alliance. She was formerly Director of Diversity Works for London, and Special Advisor to the Disability Rights Commission where she led on the Disability Equality Duty, Goods and Services and Legislative Change. She is qualified and has practiced as a solicitor. Her publications include:
Disability Rights in Europe, from theory to practice Essays in European Law (2005);
Blackstone’s Guide to the Disability Discrimination Act (1995);
Enabling Acts Disabling Laws, Disability Rights in Britain and the United States (1994).
Abstract: In this seminar, Liz will talk about her work and discuss what it means to create new cultural representations of disability as a tool for change.
Liz is a writer-director working with film, audio and text. Interested in drama, life stories and experimental work, she is drawn to the potential of storytelling to trigger change. Described as “a director of real visual flair”, her work has been praised for its ability “to get under the skin of a subject”. Liz’s work has shown at Tate Modern and the British Film Institute, as well as on television and at festivals internationally. Through a four-year NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) fellowship, she explored ways to combine her creative practice and political activism. Liz is a graduate of the Skillset Guiding Lights scheme where she was mentored by Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty).
Liz is perhaps most famous for her performance on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London, as part of Anthony Gormley’s One and Other project. The Guardian’s Top 10 From Trafalgar list, cites Liz’s protest as amongst the highlights. A film about Liz’s performance is linked below. You can also watch Liz’s hour on the Plinth in full via the British Library Archive.
EtCetera Issue 483 summarises the performance eloquently if you want to read about Liz and the Fourth Plinth. Writer Allan Sutherland says “Many of the plinthers have used their hour to espouse favourite causes, be it children’s charities, bee preservation or understanding of chess. But few if any have produced a piece of work as compelling as this, which will undoubtedly remain one of the most significant contributions to Gormley’s project. Apart from the importance of the content, it presented a series of memorable images, carefully choreographed to take advantage of space and time.
Abstract: Disability and Deaf arts are a way of promoting not only ‘arts for art’s sake’, but also to allow deeply held issues from the lives and experiences of disabled and deaf
people to be articulated and expressed through creative means. In an ever changing society, and one where social inclusion has been heralded as an achievement towards a more ‘culturally diverse’ Britain, the contribution of disabled and deaf communities have arguably not been elevated to the same level as other groups. In this talk, we will touch on such things as where it has the ‘movement’ come from, what has been its impact, who are its audiences and more significantly, where is it going?
“Deaf and Disability Arts are important because they allow us to make others think in a different way, breaking through perceptions and stereotypes in order to affirm our place in society.”
Ruth trained in performance arts, speech & drama, dance and mime at Liverpool Theatre School. Ruth has led workshops in Mime, Movement and Drama, and developed full-scale theatre productions. From 1992 Ruth has worked in arts administration and management including; business development for artists in the Creative Industries sector, managing start-up funds for artists, developing Disability Arts projects, and now, CEO of DaDa.
Ruth is passionate about Disability and Deaf arts being celebrated as cultural diversities in their own right. Ruth is also a board member of Liverpool 2008 Culture Company, Vice Chair of The Bluecoat Arts Centre, a council member with Arts Council England North West and co-opted Member of National Liverpool Museums Public Services Committee.
Wednesday 8th September 13:30-14:30. Adolf Ratzka: Activist for Independent Living
Keywords: Disability, Independent Living, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, policy
Title: “Beyond the Social Model of Disability: An emphasis on disabled peoples’ status as citizens and consumers is needed for self determination and full participation”.
Abstract: The success of disabled peoples’ struggle for self-determination and equal participation in society will ultimately depend on the model of disability to which disabled people themselves and society at large subscribe to. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other policy documents emphasize disabled peoples’ status as citizens. Adding the perspective of disabled people as consumers of services implies policies that use cash payments and demand-driven competitive markets for services where previously supply-driven government or quasi-public monopolies for services in kind existed. These developments will increase many disabled peoples’ freedom of choice and opportunities for self-determination and participation.
Adolf Ratzka is an internationally renowned activist for independent living. He is known for leading the Swedish Independent Living movement. He set up the pilot project on personal assistance, which was to become the model for the Swedish Personal Assistance Act of 1994. The then Minister of Social Affairs, Bengt Westerberg, invited Adolf to Parliament when the Act made into law. Adolf was the founding chair of ENIL, the European Network on Independent Living, which works for disabled citizens’ personal and political power, for self-determination and against discrimination.
In 1999 he was recognized by TIME magazine as European visionary for the new millennium, mainly for his pioneering work for cash payments replacing services in kind thereby promoting disabled people’s right to self-determination and freedom of choice. Adolf received the European Citizen Award from the European Anti-Discrimination Council in 2008. Also in November 2008 he led an international conference to celebrate twenty-five years of independent living in Sweden.
Keywords: Disability, policy, research, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, international development,
Title: Research and policy working together to improve the lives of disabled people worldwide
Abstract: Disability studies, which emerged from the disabled people’s movement, values engagement and praxis. Yet does it reflect the needs and priorities of the millions of disabled people in the world? Does it provide evidence of what works in policy and practice? The World Health Organization, in partnership with the World Bank, is developing the first ever global report on the situation of disabled people. The World Report on Disability aims to provide governments and civil society with a comprehensive description and analysis of the importance of disability, to characterize the responses currently provided, and to make recommendations for action consistent with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The available scientific evidence suggests that disability studies is far from achieving its potential, particularly in developing countries. This talk will highlight how the CRPD provides an agenda for action, explain why the ICF offers a way forward for applied research and look at how together, we can make a difference.
Alana Officer is a native of New Zealand. She holds a diploma in Applied Science (Podiatric Medicine) from the Institute of Technology in Sydney, Australia; a Master’s degree in Applied Science (research) from the University of Sydney, Australia; and a Masters degree in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Prior to joining WHO in July 2006, Ms Officer held a number of technical and managerial positions working on disability, rehabilitation and development in West and Central Africa, Europe, South Asia and the Western Pacific. Ms Officer was the Country Director for Handicap International (HI) in India.
Alana Officer joined WHO in July 2006, and is now Coordinator for the Disability and Rehabilitation Team. She oversees WHO’s work on disability and rehabilitation related to policies, medical care and rehabilitation, community-based rehabilitation, assistive devices and technologies, and capacity building. She is the executive editor of the World report on disability and rehabilitation due for release in 2009.
This Spring I’m pleased to say I’ll be teaching as an Associate Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University as part of their BA (Hons) programme in Education and Disability Studies. From January onwards I’m teaching Exploring Disability History. This has given me a great excuse to engage with new literature and research, alongside revisiting papers and materials. If you’ve visited this blog before, you’ll know my writing usually focuses strongly on disability, technology and accessibility issues, with some broader references to my experiences of the PhD process and Educational Technology. However, the teaching preparation has already set off various different chains of thought which I hope to explore here over the next few weeks. My first tidbit is an unpublished poem by Tanja Muster ‘A Chair is a Wheelchair’ translated from German and reproduced in ‘The ADA on the Road: Disability Rights in Germany’ by Katharina C. Heyer (University of Hawai’i). I’ve reproduced the poem below in both English and the original German.
A Chair is a Wheelchair
A chair is a chair is a
A judgement is a judgement is a
A disability is a disability is a
Ein Stuhl ist ein Rollstuhl
Ein Stuhl is ein Stuhl ist ein
Ein Urteil ist ein Urteil ist ein
Eine Behinderung ist eine Behinderung ist eine
staatlich geforderte Massnahme.
According to Heyer:
This poem circulated in German disability circles in the fall of 1997 as an expression of outrage against Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court’s October 29 ruling that disabled students do not have a right to an integrated education and may be forced to attend a special school for disabled children (Bundesverfassungsgericht, 9 October, 1997).
I found the title particularly striking. For me ‘A Chair Is A Wheelchair’ is the most succinct expression of disability as a continuum I’ve come across. I find the poem deceptively simple. In English, the writer very playfully sets up ‘norms’ and then inverts them alternately line by line. But with each inversion the poem progresses and deepens. This progression moves from the cultural norm (the regular Chair becoming the irregular Wheelchair) to the legal norm (now exposing a regular and normal legislature as, in fact, failing and prejudiced) to return to the notion of disability, this time invested with normalcy, inverted and made irregular by the State. In each case, I love how the repetition physically installs a ‘mainstream’ in the poem, whilst simultaneously moving the reader across a spectrum of perspectives.