My presentation will focus putting practice into theory, with a focus on hierarchies of impairment and the application of web accessibility standards in practice in UK higher education. Other presenters include Bill Gaver, Mark Rouncefiled, Simon Holland, Guy Dewsberry, Dean Cowan and Jamie Brooker. The full schedule is available on the Universalising Design website.
I’ve been invited by FT Labs to participate in the Accessibility panel scheduled as part of the third Edge conference at Microsoft in London on Friday March 21st, 2014. In their own words:
Edge is a new kind of non-profit one-day conference on advanced web technologies for developers and browser vendors, raising funds for CodeClub.
The conference is hosted by FT Labs, Microsoft and Google in a collaborative spirit and intended for an expert audience. After the event, all panels, questions, discussions and so forth will be made publicly available. More information is available on the Edge London website. Follow @EdgeConf on Twitter for updates.
Over the course of the Christmas break the schedule for the CSUN conference was released. I will be contributing to three sessions (a discussion panel and two papers) all now highlighted on my diary page and available on the conference web pages. It looks like Abstracts will not be available until the event itself. As a result, I will publish mine here for preview and comment. Hopefully they will be of interest to general accessibility/social media readers as well as delegates. First up: Peer-to-Peer Accessibility in Social Networks, a paper exploring how web accessibility can be socially mediated by peers within social networks, using evidence from research with disabled students at UK Universities. The introduction is reproduced below, with a PDF of the full document (approximately 1,500 words) available below, both for download and embedded in Google’s PDF viewer. If you would like to read the paper in a different format, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Peer to Peer accessibility in social networks.
This paper considers the influence of peers on disabled user’s experiences of accessibility in the social network Facebook. It highlights the positive role that friends can play in mitigating inaccessible systems. It also highlights the importance of social dynamics for acquiring access to digital domains. This contrary observation – that disabled users with greater social resources will be better able to access and develop online social networks – suggests a digital divide that is, as yet, under researched. The paper uses findings from doctoral case study research with disabled students at UK universities to identify social aspects of accessibility and how these manifest in disabled students’ experience.
A quick update for you this morning: firstly, welcome to my new blog – I’ve been migrating 32 Days Remaining to Slewth Press at a new and bespoke URL: slewth.co.uk. This process will soon have its own dedicated post reflecting on the particular steps and plugins I’ve used to make the WordPress work for me. In the meantime, any formative feedback is very welcome, so please consider a comment below, tweet or email via the Contact page.
Secondly: I’m delighted to announce that I will be delivering a lightning presentation at the Accessibility London (#a11yLDN) Meetup. I’ll be delivering at 10 minute talk on “Disability Studies and Accessibility: Two Critical Concepts”. During the presentation I’ll introduce Aversive Disablism and Hierarchies of Impairment and the relevance of these concepts for Web Developers.
The Nottingham Research Network (Special Educational Needs, Social and Educational Inclusion, Health and Disabilities) has issued a second call for papers for their 6th annual conference, scheduled for Friday 13th January 2012. This free conference is a collaborative and friendly event that welcomes presentations from people outside academia, as well as those who have not presented before. At previous conferences delegates have represented local schools, councils, student and housing groups, charities, advocacy organisations, support workers, and academics from a variety of disciplines across Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham (to name but a few). I have a lot of affection for this conference – the inaugural conference was my first experience of having my presentation interpreted by a BSL interpreter – and this early postgraduate presentation subsequently led to my becoming involved with Human Factors research in Engineering, alongside my own work in Learning Sciences and Disability Studies. It is this kind of juncture, between social sciences and hard sciences, as well as the applied and practical aspects of the conference that make it so important to Nottingham.
This years’ theme is “Creative Approaches to Building Relationships”. At present there is no online presence for the conference (the network has previously been active on Ning) so I’m reproducing the call for papers in full here.
The Nottingham Research Network
(Special Educational Needs, Social and Educational Inclusion, Health and Disabilities)
6th Annual conference “Connecting people with shared interests to promote increased collaboration”
Call for contributions on the theme of
CREATIVE APPROACHES TO BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
University of Nottingham
Friday 13th January 2012 from 9.00-16.00
We welcome proposals for presentations, workshops and/or innovative approaches. We are keen to encourage new presenters. Please contact us by September 22nd:
Anne Emerson, Communication for Inclusion Research Unit, Division of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University.
The conference is a local one, aimed at increasing communication between researchers, practitioners, learners and others in the field. However, the network is a successful one – entering the 6th year of this annual conference. If you are looking to establish a similar city wide, or sub-regional network, I recommend getting in touch with one of the contacts above for information.
On the 8th March 2011 from 4-6pm I will be presenting my doctoral research to researchers and students at Liverpool Hope University’s Centre for Culture and Disability Studies in the Faculty of Education. This guest lecture is offered as part of ‘Introduction to Research Methods: Disability Studies’. If you would like to attend, please contact the CCDR’s Deputy Director Dr. Ria Cheyne via firstname.lastname@example.org. More details about the location, slides and so forth will be added closer to the day. I hope to see you there!
Title: Disability 2.0: Investigating Socio-Technical Experiences of Disability in Social Media.
Abstract: For many young people, social networks are an essential part of their student experience. My research 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 student 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.
In this talk, I give 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. I introduce the notion of ‘bricolage’ as a user-friendly multi-perspective methodology and research approach that has enabled me 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.
This will be an interactive session aimed at researchers and students. Prior knowledge of the methods and technologies presented is not necessary. Following on from an orientation in social media research for disability studies, I will also talk about the findings of my research, which consider the ways in which social technologies reposition disabled people within taxonomies of identity, enabling some and dis-abling others.
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.
Next week I’ll be opening a round table discussion at Sheffield Hallam’s Disability Research Forum (DRF) on ‘Defining Disability’, specifically I hope this session will help us understand what the process of definition itself does to our understanding. As always, the DRF is free to attend, so if you’re interested participating you’re very welcome. The location is easily accessible and very close to the central station. My session follows a presentation by Graham Grace-Gardener (Sheffield Hallam University) entitled ‘Is universal educational inclusion desirable and/or possible?’. Abstracts are detailed below.
Monday 7th December 2009: 2pm-4pm (Arundel Building 10111, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield)
‘Is universal educational inclusion desirable and/or possible?’ Paper presentation by Graham Grace-Gardener (Sheffield Hallam University)
The Inclusive Education agenda has hit the hard places, how do we include the children at the extremes of acting out behaviour or those who have severe learning difficulties? Is universal inclusion possible? Is it desirable? Who makes these decisions? What informs these decisions? Can universal inclusion be obtained in a late capitalist post-welfare society? This paper will be a socio-political discussion of the inclusion agenda informed by the work of Herbert Marcuse. It will try to address whether a one dimensional view of the world, reinforced by globalisation, precludes the change needed to bring about universal inclusive education? The session will be an informal sharing of initial thoughts around these points.
‘Defining Disability: Using Taxonomies and Facets to understand what categories and definitions do’ Roundtable Discussion led by Sarah Lewthwaite (University of Nottingham)
Governments, legislation and models of disability and each advocate a certain perspective on impairment and disability. Each of these defines disability in its own way, with powerful effects on the lives of disabled people. In this open discussion I would like to introduce some developments from Information Architecture on the problem of category-making and definition to shed light on how definitions work.
Foucault (1966) identified the ‘invisible power’ of categories, however Bowker and Star (1999) observe that critical discourse has not pursued this analysis. Whilst dominant definitions are challenged and negotiated, the nature of categorisation and its influence is not fully understood. I hope that, during a formative discussion, we can evaluate and identify potentially new approaches to defining disability within research and teaching.