Transforming Disability, Culture and Childhood: Local, Global and Transdisciplinary Responses

A research website from the University of Sheffield


January 2016

Disability and the Human: A Symposium 


Time: 10am – 4 pm Date: Friday, February 5th, 2016

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1Brooks Building, Birley Fields Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University, M15 6GX

Click here for tickets

Hosted by The Critical & Community Psychology Research Group, The Research Centre for Social Change: Community Wellbeing, Manchester Metropolitan University


Lancaster Disability Studies Conference 2016

Inaugural Sexuality Stream 2016 Call for Papers

Convened by Tom Shakespeare, University of East Anglia, and Kirsty Liddiard, University of Sheffield

The foundational text, The Sexual Politics of Disability, was ‘the first book to look at the sexual politics of disability from a disability rights perspective’ (Shakespeare, Davies and Gillespie-Sells, 1996: 1). Ground-breaking in its contents and its approach, the sexual stories contained within the covers of the book – told by disabled people themselves – challenged the prevailing myth of asexuality and other tropes which render disabled people as perverse, hypersexual, or as lacking sexual agency.

Despite this scholarly activism, the sexual, intimate, gendered, and personal spaces of disabled people’s lives remain relatively under-researched and under-theorised in comparison to other spaces of their lives. Rarely are disabled people themselves authors or co-producers of this work. Where austerity policies dominate, we are unsure of how this impacts the possibilities for intimacy and relationships. Conversely, we lack evidence about the impact of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Significant gaps remain in our knowledge of disabled people’s experiences of sex, love and relationships, then, often in marked areas.

This inaugural sexuality stream marks the 20th anniversary of The Sexual Politics of Disability (1996). In this stream, we aim to celebrate and encourage the broad bodies of work that have emerged within the ever-expanding field of disability studies, gender studies and sexuality studies. For this stream, we will prioritise papers containing original social research, as a response to the relative dearth of empirical work within the field.

We are thrilled to have Don Kulick, Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology at Uppsala University, Sweden, as keynote speaker. His books include Travesti: sex, gender and culture among Brazilian transgendered prostitutes (1998), Fat: the anthropology of an obsession (2005, edited with Anne Meneley), Language and Sexuality (2003, with Deborah Cameron) and most recently Loneliness and its Opposite: sex, disability and the ethics of engagement (2015, with Jens Rydström).

We welcome papers on the following themes:

  1. Identity and imagery: masculinities, femininities, Queer and Trans* identities
  2. Intersections of gender, race, sexuality, class, nationality, age, and religion/faith/spirituality.
  3. Sex education and sexual health
  5. Pleasure, sensuality and desire
  6. Sexual and bodily esteem, confidence, self-worth and self-love
  7. Impairment, embodiment and corporeality
  8. Psycho-emotional disablism
  9. Barriers to sexual expression
  10. Youth
  11. Parenting
  12. Learning disability and sex/uality
  13. Mental health, distress and intimacy
  14. Intersections of personal assistance, residential and social care, and intimacy
  15. Sex work and sex industries
  16. Sexual, emotional and intimate-partner violence
  17. BDSM, kink, and fetish
  18. Online and cyber sexuality
  19. Sexual drugs, enhancements and technologies
  20. Human rights law and disabled sexualities
  21. Researching sex/uality: data collection, methodology and analysis
  22. Theoretical contributions: Critical Disability Studies, Feminist disability studies; Queer Theory; Crip Theory; Posthuman and DisHuman studies.

Contributions that reflect on any of these themes are invited from academic and non-academic researchers, scholars, activists, and artists. These themes are indicative only, and we will consider proposals that fall outside them so long as these relate to the overall conference stream. We welcome offers of traditional academic papers (20 minutes max) and also welcome proposals and presentations in alternative and/or creative formats (e.g. film, animation, poetry). Submissions should be made through easychair and please specify you wish to be considered for this stream.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Kirsty or Tom:

Please see here for the Mad Studies stream and here for the main conference call for papers.


November 2014

iHuman: This is what it means to be human …

Location: Jessops West Exhibition Space, University of Sheffield
Date/time: 10am to 4pm, Saturday 1st November 2014

We are bringing together young people and researchers to share our ideas about what it means to be human. We are living in an age marked by the rapid growth in knowledge about the human body and brain. These include the development of powerful new technologies with the potential to augment our bodies (and modify behaviour) and diagnostics for the early detection of disease, drugs to aid cognition, and devices to extend physical capabilities. And many more of us, so it seems, are endlessly plugged in to our smartphones, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat. Our lives are lived in the virtual. How are these developments changing how we understand what it means to be human? To help answer this question we have asked the following people to present to us as part of this ESRC festival of Science event:

1. Alternative and Augmentative Communication users of technology;
2. Young dis/abled people and their accounts of their humanness through their relationships with technology
3. Disabled people with intellectual disabilities and their use of film;
4. Researchers from the University of Sheffield will share some of their research ideas in an accessible way

Sessions will be accessible, visually led, interactive, always focused on maintaining understanding and connection. We expect the audience to include young people, their families, other researchers and key community members from the creative industries as well as the disability and education sectors.

Twitter: @disabilityuos

Accessibility details: Wheelchair accessible venue; Accessible toilets; limited accessible parking
Getting to the Venue:
Lunch: Will be provided, please indicate any dietary requirements when registering with Eventbrite.

Excitingly, there will be a podcast produced from this event. We are also exploring ways to make it possible to virtually attend the event. Details of this will be added to this event notice in time so please keep checking back, or feel free to email Dan on the address below.
Please let us know if we can try to do anything else to make this event accessible to you.

If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch


Activism, Ambition, Action…and Austerity? Disabled Young People
Speak Out

Date: Wednesday 5th November 2014
Location: Venue TBC, but will be at the University of Sheffield

The aim of this event is to instigate critical dialogues concerning
disability, youth, ambition, action and activism in the context of an increasingly
precarious environment for disabled people politically, culturally, legally, and
economically in Britain. These dialogues are vital to all of us as social scientists, but
are particularly pertinent to young disabled people who have become the
subjects/object of severe austerity measures set out by the Coalition Government.
Thus far, these have targeted their Access to Work, their right to live
independently/interdependently and contribute to their own communities, and most
recently, their access to higher education through proposed cuts to the Disabled
Students Allowance (DSA).

We invite disabled, D/deaf, Mad, learning disabled and neurodiverse people
(hereby young people) and their organisations as activists, students, self/advocates, artists, academics and attendees. We also invite (University of Sheffield and other) researchers, academics, teachers and associated professionals, practitioners and policy makers.

Excitingly, we have confirmed well-known and well-loved activist, campaigner and
(neurodiverse) artist, Touretteshero, as our keynote speaker for the day
( Touretteshero’s activism has garnered inter/national media
attention over the past few years since the publication of her bestselling book,
Welcome to Biscuit Land: A Year in the Life of Touretteshero, Souvenir Press Ltd.

Furthermore, we are thrilled to have confirmed three inter/national supporting
speakers (two social scientists; one activist; each of whom identify as young and/or
disabled/Mad) (session titles tbc): Dr Jenny Slater, Sheffield Hallam UniversityDanielle Landry, School of Disability Studies, Toronto, Canada; and Dr Kirsty Liddiard, University of Sheffield.

Register for this event here:

Accessibility details: Wheelchair accessible venue; Accessible toilets; limited accessible parking; British Sign Language Interpretation
Getting to the Venue: Venue TBC
Lunch: Will be provided, please indicate any dietary requirements when registering with Eventbrite.

Please let us know if we can try to do anything else to make this event accessible to you. If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch:


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