Professor Katherine Runswick-Cole BSc(Hons) Open (Psych), MA (Hons), PGCE, PhD

Chair in Education

Katherine Runswick-Cole

Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 8101



Katherine teaches on the BA Education, Culture and Childhood as well as supervising undergraduate dissertation students. Katherine also teaches on the MA Education programme and supervises students on the EdD and PhD programmes. She particularly welcomes supervisions in the areas of: critical disability studies; special educational needs and/or disability and childhood.



Katherine’s research is located in the field of critical disability studies. Critical disability studies aim to understand and challenge exclusionary and oppressive practices associated with disablism and consider the ways these intersect with other forms of marginalisation including hetero/sexism, racism, poverty and imperialism.

Much of her research has been carried out alongside disabled children and young people and their families and allies, and more recently, with people labelled with learning disabilities in a time of austerity.

She is also interested in the developing field of critical autism studies that seek to explore the ways in autism is produced and consumed in contemporary society and the effects this has on the lives of people who attract the label.

Her research draws on qualitative methods including narrative, arts-based methods and participatory approaches.

Life, Death, Disability and the Human: Living Life to the Fullest, Economic and Social Research Council (ES/P001041/1) Dan Goodley (The University of Sheffield); Kirsty Liddiard; Katherine Runswick-Cole, The University of Sheffield (April, 2017 – April 2020).

This project uses arts-based methods to explore the hopes, dreams and aspirations of children and young people who are described as having life-limiting conditions (

Enacting Critical Disability Communities in Education, Social Science and Humanities Research Council Canada (SSHRC) Patty Douglas, University of Guelph (Canada); Carla Rice, University of Guelph (Canada); Katherine Runswick-Cole; Estee Klar, York University (Canada); Anne McGuire, University of Toronto (Canada); Gillian Parekh, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (Canada) (June, 2016-2018).

This project uses digital story-telling methods to explore meaning making in relation to ‘autism’ and ‘inclusion’ (

The meaning(s) of value: Measuring the Impact of Creative Activities upon children and young people with learning disabilities, BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants Katherine Runswick-Cole,. (May, 2016 – May, 2017).

This project explores the meanings of the value of art-based education for children with learning disabilities (

Big Society? Disabled People with Learning Disabilities and Civil Society, Economic and Social Research Council (June, 2013-June 2015) Goodley (Sheffield);Lawthom (MMU); Brandon (Northumbria) Johnson (Bristol); Katherine Runswick-Cole (June, 2013 – June, 2015)

This project works alongside people with learning disabilities to examine how their lives have been affected by on-going austerity in England (

Does Every Child Matter, post-Blair? The interconnections of disabled childhoods Economic and Social Research Council (September, 2010 – Jan, 2012) PI: Goodley (MMU) Research Associate: Katherine Runswick-Cole (£255,000).

This project expored the impact of the changes in policy for children in health, education and social care during the New Labour government



Katherine sits on the editorial board of Disability & Society and Community, Work and Family.
She is a Visiting Research Fellow at London Southbank University.
She is a member of Learning Disability England Academics



Click here for Journal Articles

• Curran, T., Liddiard, K. and Runswick-Cole, K. [in press]. The everyday worlds of disabled children. In: Thomas, G.M. and Sakellariou, D. eds. Disability, Normalcy, and the Everyday. London: Routledge.
• Runswick-Cole, K., Goodley, D., and Lawthom, R. [in press]. Resilience in the lives of disabled children: a many splendoured thing. In Runswick-Cole, K., Curran, T. and Liddiard, K. (eds) [in press]. Palgrave Handbook of Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
• Hodge, N. and Runswick-Cole, K. [in press]. ‘You Say, I hear’: understanding parent-professional partnerships in special education. In Runswick-Cole, K., Curran, T. and Liddiard, K. (eds) [in press]. Palgrave Handbook of Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
• Runswick-Cole, K. and Goodley, D. [in press]. ‘The Disability Commons’: re-thinking motherhood through disability. In Runswick-Cole, K., Curran, T. and Liddiard, K. (eds) (2017) Palgrave Handbook of Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
• Runswick-Cole, K. & Wood, R. (2017) Bag of the Devil: the disablement of Rob Titchener. In Courage, C. & Headlam, N. (eds) Custard, culverts and cake: academics on life with The Archers. Emerald Publishing. 329-344.
• Goodley, D., Miller, M. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2017) Teaching Critical Disability Studies. In Newness, C. (ed) (in press) Teaching Critical Psychology, London: Routledge. 64-81.
• Goodley, D., Lawthom, R., Liddard, K. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2017) Critical Disability Studies. In Gough, B. (ed) (2017) The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Social Psychology. Basingstoke: Palgrave. 491-505.
• Runswick-Cole, K. (2017) The dis/appearance of disability in The Archers … or why Bethany had to go to Birmingham. In Courage, C., Headlam, N. and Matthews, P. (eds) (2017) The Archers in Fact and Fiction: reflections of rural life in Borcetshire, London: Peter Lang. 139-148.
• Mallett, R. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2016) The ‘Urge to Know’ Normal: Theorising how impairment labels function. In Mallett, R., Ogden, C., & Slater, J. (eds) (2016) Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: Precarious Positions, Chester: The University of Chester Press. 95-119.
• Runswick-Cole, K. (2016) Understanding this thing called autism. In Runswick-Cole, K., Mallett, R. and Timimi, S. (eds) (2016) Re-thinking autism: disability, equality, identity, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishing. 19-29.
• Mallett, R. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2016) The commodification of autism: what’s at stake? Runswick-Cole, K., Mallett, R. and Timimi, S. (eds) (2016) Re-thinking autism, disability, equality, identity London: Jessica Kingsley Publishing. 110-131.
• Goodley, D. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2015) The DisSchool in Corcoran, T., White, J., & Whitburn, B. (Eds.) (2015). Disability studies: Educating for inclusion. Rotterdam: Sense. 241-255.
• Runswick-Cole, K. (2014) Disability Hate Crime, in Taylor, P., Corteen, K. and Morley, S. (2014) A Companion to Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Risk, Bristol, UK: The Policy Press. 89
• Runswick-Cole, K. and Goodley, D. (2014) Resilience and Work in the lives of disabled people in Taylor, P. and Warren, R. (Eds) (2014) Work and Society: Places, Spaces and Identities Chester, UK: University of Chester Press. 173-195.
• Runswick-Cole, K. and Goodley, D. (2014) You don’t have to be a super-crip: reclaiming resilience in the lives of disabled people, in Cameron, C. (2014) Disability Studies: a Student's Guide, London: Sage. 125-127
• Goodley, D. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2013) Disability: Cripping Masculinity? In Pini, B. and Pease, B. (2013) Men, Masculinities and Methodologies, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. 142-156.
• Runswick-Cole, K. (2013) ‘Wearing it all with a smile:’ emotional labour in the lives of mothers of disabled children’, in Curran, T. and Runswick-Cole, K. (eds) (2013) Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies: Critical Approaches in a Global Context, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. 105-118
• Mallett, R. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2012) Commodifying Autism: The Cultural Contexts of 'Disability' in the Academy, in Goodley, D., Hughes, B. and Davis, L.J. (eds) (2012) Disability and Social Theory, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. 32-51.
• Goodley, D. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2012) Decolonizing methodologies: disabled children as research managers and participant ethnographers, in S. Grech and A. Azzopardi (eds) Inclusive Communities: A Reader, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. 215-225.