On the day


Throughout the day, fourteen wonderful postgraduate researchers from a range of institutions offered insights into their research projects, their key questions and their preliminary findings. Following short presentations, we provided time for group discussion before opening up questions to the floor. Due to work commitments, not all speakers were able to contribute to this online publication. However, we would still like to acknowledge their fantastic contributions to the day. 

Provocation 1

Antonios Ktendis opened the day with his talk The ‘sameness’ and ‘difference’ of young people with Restricted Growth in the secondary school: A Dis/Human approach. Drawing upon findings from his PhD research, Antonios employed Dis/Human disability studies in order to show how young people with Restricted Growth claimed both difference and sameness throughout their school experiences. Following this, Alexandra Murray presented her talk Utilising biological citizenship and complex embodiment to redefine the welfare state. In this, she considered how the use of biological citizenship and performativity enabled disabled people to come together as a collective and redefine the status of disability within the welfare state. Finally, Jonathan Hulme gave his paper Dreaming of Mars: sleep and the (ab)human circadian rhythm. Here, Jonathon questioned the taken-for-granted assumptions about normative sleep patterns that are centred around the ‘24-hour body clock,’ concluding that those whose sleep falls outside of this pattern are cast as (ab)human. 

Provocation 2

In this provocation, the speakers demonstrated the value of bringing literary and cultural disability studies within the wider remit of CDS. David Hartley engaged with science-fiction and fantasy as productive realms to encounter autism poetics. In his talk More or less-than-human? Estrangement, cognition and Autism poetics in Blade Runner (1982), David revealed the potential for ‘normative positivisms’ when these encounters resist traditional boundaries of the human. Next, Toby Atkinson presented his paper Atypical as human? Autism and gender in tension. In this, he critically analysed representations of autism, sexuality and gender in the series Atypical, suggesting that these representations often highlight aspects of normalisation.  

Provocation 3

Opening the session, Kim Dearing presented her paper Cruelling the mark: experiences from a job club based upon ethnographic research in a job club designed to support and prepare people with learning disabilities for work. Doing so, she raised concerns about the logic of ‘neoliberal ableism’ which ultimately pushes expectations about economic productivity. Following on from this, Sharon Smith analysed the 2014 Special Educational Needs/Disability Code of Practice (SENDCoP) in her paper The production of the “effective” special needs parent. She revealed that the SENDCoP operates as a technique of power, which pushes parents to become ‘effective’ and ‘involved’ subjects in the education of their children. Finally, to conclude the session, Rebecca Porter presented her talk Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and the necropower of austerity. She argued that PIP has become a government tool which seeks to control disabled people and essentially creates the existence of the ‘living dead.’ 

Provocation 4

Anne-Marie Atkinson opened the next provocation with her talk Relational ethics, relational aesthetics: how can CDS contribute to theories of socially engaged, participatory and collaborative art practices? Reflecting upon her own practice, Anne-Marie engaged with interdependence and assemblage theory to suggest a new art criticism that takes into account mutual becoming and support. Next, Harriet Dunn asked how people with visual impairments can better and more positively engage in the museum environment. Her talk Reimagining the museum/gallery as a space that welcomes visitors with Visual Impairment  both raised concerns of current exclusionary practices and demonstrated how more inclusive environments can be developed. Finally, Neslie Carol Tan presented her paper Performances from the peripheries: an examination of selected disability performances in the Philippines which considered the use of ‘hypervisibility’ among some disabled performers. By presenting a more nuanced reading of these performances, Neslie commented on the range of potential consequences for their audiences. 

Provocation 5

In the final provocation of the day, Yvonne Wechuli began to map out the ways that affect and/or emotions are being theorized in the field of disability studies. In her paper The affective practice of ableism: Theorizing affect and emotion in CDS, Yvonne drew attention to the ways in which doing emotions and performing affective practices can facilitate ableism. Next, Lisa Appleyard-Keeling presented her paper The incongruous incongruity aka: “ontological incoherence”, which considered the position of agency and disability within the marketised landscape of higher education. Lisa offered a number of provocations to the audience, asking how we come to engage with different theories throughout the PhD journey, and to what value. To end the day, Rebecca Maskos drew upon preliminary findings from her PhD research in order to present some of the different ways that the ‘wheelchair’ can come to be both empowering and devaluing. Her talk Ableism, technology and de/constructions of stigma engaged with psycho-emotional disablism to offer reflections upon the use of technology, such as the wheelchair, within an inherently ableist culture. 

Reference List

Beckett, A. (2006)Citizenship and Vulnerability: Disability and Issues of Social and Political Engagement.Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Campbell, F. (2009)Contours of Ableism: The Production of Disability and Abledness. 

Goodley, D. (2011)Disability Studies: An Interdisciplinary Introduction.London: Sage.

Goodley, D. (2013) Dis/entangling critical disability studies.Disability & Society.28(5), 631-644. 

Goodley, D. (2014)Dis/Ability Studies: Theorising Ableism and Disablism.Abingdon: Routledge. 

Goodley, D. Lawthom, R. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2014) Dis/ability and austerity: beyond work and slow death.Disability & Society.29(6), 980-984.

Goodley, D. Liddiard, K. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2018) Feeling disability: theories of affect and critical disability studies.Disability & Society.33(2), 197-217.

Meekosha, H. and Shuttleworth, R. (2009) What’s so ‘critical’ about critical disability studies?Australian Journal of Human Rights.15(1), 47-75. 

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