I’m delighted to be presenting on accessible digital methods as part of the Social Research Association/NSMNSS Network’s one-day session introducing tools for social media research (October 11th in London). I’m in good company and looking forward to this event. Full details follow below:
The SRA has teamed up with the #NSMNSS network to present a one-day session in October on tools for social media research. There are 8 expert speakers:
Steven McDermot, University of the Arts London – Critically Engaging with Social Media Research Tools
Wasim Ahmed, University of Sheffield – Introduction to NodeXL
Luke Sloan, Social Data Science Lab, Cardiff University – Democratising Access to Social Media Data – the Collaborative Online Social Media ObServatory (COSMOS)
Gillian Mooney, University of Leeds – Using Facebook as a Research Tool
Phillip Brooker, University of Bath – Doing Social Media Analytics with Chorus
Sarah Lewthwaite, NCRM University of Southampton – Developing inclusive and accessible digital methods: engaging critically with your digital toolbox
Yeran Sun, Urban Big Data Centre, University of Glasgow – How to use R and QGIS to find out tourism hotspots in cities
Francesco D’Orazio, Pulsar – The Visual DNA of car brands in social media
The speakers will introduce a mix of (mostly) free-to-use tools, demonstrating with real examples how they can be used in the analysis of a range of social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, and Flickr. They will cover both quantitative and qualitative social media analysis techniques, including the analysis of both text and image data, network analysis, geographical analysis, and more.
The event will benefit social researchers who want to find out more about what this new methodology can offer, and social media researchers wanting to learn about tools and techniques.
Date & time: 11 October 2016, from 10am to 5pm Venue: Friends House, Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ. Price: £115, or £95 for SRA members. (includes lunch & refreshments) Registration: please book on the SRA website Delegate places: 80
I’m also pleased to say that all publications and outputs from our project will be open and publicly available, as this is now an ESRC standard. I’ll be sure to signpost from this site as and when documents and other materials become available.
This is the second paper I’ve nominated from the pen of Mark Deal, and it’s another cracker. In this paper Deal discusses Hierarchies of Impairment. Once again, this term is essential to building an analytic vocabulary of disability for lay people, academics and techies alike. Hierarchies of Impairment have been researched since the 1970s, however, where previous work has explored how different impairments receive different status in society (and, as a result, with regard to technology, different resources and research attention) Deal extends this analysis to incorporate the attitudes of disabled people themselves. Deal’s research has powerful applied implications – particularly for those of us seeking to create inclusive environments. It identifies how we might desconstruct mainstream notions of ‘disability’ to identify those most marginalised within society. It also highlights how disablism (and aversive disablism) can function between disabled groups, allowing an analysis of representation. For those of us in technical disciplines, Deal’s thesis also allows us to evaluate the ways in which hierarchies of impairment are re-orientated by new contexts (for example, the internet) and different cultures.
This paper by Sylvia Soderstrom and Borgunn Ytterhus presents an essential insight into the importance of social context for the take up of technology, and the place of assistive technologies within this matrix. They remind us that users do not exist in a vaccuum, that, in affluent societies ‘how people use technology is symbolic of various values and identities’. This qualitative study is relatively small, but its results are referent to a swathe of complex socio-technical relations. In this sense it is powerfully illustrative. Where ICT is found to broadly symbolise competence, belonging and independence – the specific nature of specialised assistive technologies can symbolise restriction, difference and dependency. The implications of such findings have resonance across Human Factors, HCI and education, and emphasise the peer-to-peer nature of in/accessibility and its delivery.
In March 2011 Aleks Krotoski, UK technology journalist and researcher wrote a piece about Disability and the Internet for the Observer. Although I recognised many of her arguments and observations, I disagreed with several key aspects of her analysis. In particular, her assertion that disabled people ‘pass’ as non-disabled online. Hers is a very blunt statement – and it is this concern, that disabled people who do not present themselves (or see themselves) as disabled online might in some way be complicit in maintaining, rather than challenging a disabling status quo that Watson’s research tears into.
Here Watson challenges a ‘passing’ interpretation of the actions of disabled people – presenting disabled people’s own accounts and identifying in the process an opposite interpretation, a political assertion of disability as normal. Watson’s research gives important nuance to this crucial area. For anyone writing, designing or researching disability and technology – this paper makes essential reading.
To take advantage of Routledge’s free Education journal access over the course of April 2011, I’m presenting papers to highlight research with powerful applications in the fields of technology, disability and education. Comments and suggestions are, as always, welcome.
Aversive Disablism is a little-known social phenomenon that exerts huge influence in the lives of people with disability. Deal’s paper highlights the importance of understanding and challenging this form of subtle disablism to ensure (amongst other aims) that design communities responsible for our built (or digital) environment do not perpetuate a society that actively disables people with impairments. In this sense, aversive disablism represents an important concept, without which any vocabulary of disability or design is incomplete. I drew on this paper for my 2010 Blogging Against Disablism post and Web4All joint paper with Brian Kelly and David Sloan last year, applying Deal’s arguments to incorporate online environments. Deal writes lucidly for a broad audience, as such this paper represents essential reading for all.
Consider Goggin and Newell’s groundbreaking 2003 book Digital Disability. This identifies the outcomes of web developer’s disregard for disabled users requirements as “doing production”, resulting in a disabling web that enacts disability. The authors arguments are developed for contemporary Web 2.0 discourse by Ellis and Kent (2010) in their book Disability and New Media. Ellis and Kent develop this notion of “doing production” with regard to Social Networking Sites – their insights into the structural production of disability in social networks, I feel, resonates strongly with Deal’s notion of aversive disablism.
Following on from my guest lecture at the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (click for abstract) at Liverpool Hope University earlier this month, I’ve received a number of requests for my presentation slides. As a result, I’ve added them to SlideShare and made them more widely available below. These slides are supplied with an important caveat, however. I designed the talk to balance descriptions of what worked and what didn’t work over the course of my PhD research; I also talked a great deal around the slides – that means that important content and context is missing in several areas. Nonetheless, I think the literature cited, methods overview and some of the results reported will be of interest to researchers and others in the field. If you require an alternative format, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
To celebrate, from Friday April 1st onwards, I will introduce and link a selection of papers that have been hugely influential in developing and challenging my thinking on disability, technology and education. This curated compilation represents a guided tour of some of Routledge’s ‘Greatest Hits’, to inform readers outside universities (in particular, techies, geeks, accessibility professionals, and others) and, I hope, help open up and apply disability theory and digital inclusion research for debate amongst new audiences. The list will also have relevance for scholars and academics in the field, and those whose universities do not currently subscribe to these journals (for example, my own institution, the University of Nottingham, does not supply access to the Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, I have my associate lectureship at Sheffield Hallam to thank for this particular literature hack!).
Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research
Studies in Higher Education
Disability and Society
So, over the course of April I invite you to join me as I introduce each paper. You can subscribe to the blog to receive an alert via RSS feed or email when each post goes live, or simply drop by in over the course of the month and see what my suggested bibliography has to offer. If you are considering compiling a similar list in conjunction with Routledge’s Education free-for-all, be sure to signpost below. Comments and suggestions are welcome!
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.