“The irony is not lost on me, that I could never have been at the AAR conference in person. Travelling to conferences as a disabled student is getting more and more difficult… I blog so that I can share my developing ideas in a forum that is actually accessible to me.”
Photo: Newspaper on a tube seat. Headline reads “20,000 a day start a blog”. CC Annie Mole, flickr.
Should postgraduate researchers blog?
“Under normalcy, no one is or can be normal, just as no one is or can be equal. All have to work hard to make it seem like they conform, and so the person with disabilities is singled out as a dramatic case of not belonging. This identification makes it easier for the rest to think they fit the paradigm.”
– Lennard Davis, ‘Bodies of Difference: Politics, Disability, and Representation’
Some things have got me thinking more deeply recently about accessibility in academia.
This is the beginning of a series of blog posts on disability and academia, partly based on recent experiences I’ve had as a disabled/neurodivergent attender of academic conferences. Part 2 will be about physical access (oh, and how much fun I’ve had with that over the past year). And there will be a part with recommendations. This part, though, is about my experiences of neurodiversity access at conference. It’s going to be a long one, so I’m dividing it up with headings – readers can jump to the section that they’re most interested in.
Image: the Lego Research Institute. Adorable lego researchers with a dinosaur, a microscope, a telescope and other research equipment. Image from the Lego Shop.
In the beginning, I was over-ambitious. When I wrote this post, I firmly believed that my research should be shaped by disabled people who are involved with churches, rather than just by me. I wanted to do a two-stage research project, beginning by talking to as many disabled Christians as possible, and asking them to shape the second stage of the research with me. I hoped that they could be my co-researchers, or at least very active participants, rather than just research ‘subjects’. Continue Reading
Picture: protesters at today’s ‘Hardest Hit’ march, carrying a sign which is partly written in Braille. It reads “We’re being —- by the government.” Someone has written a translation of the Braille word below it: “shafted”. Photograph copyright Lisa Egan.
‘The language of shirkers and scroungers?’ Talking about illness, disability and coalition welfare reform – Disability & Society.
Yesterday’s discussion on the BBC’s You and Yours was about disability, cuts and welfare reform, and featured Where’s the Benefit‘s own Bendy Girl. Some contributors’ comments offered a clear example of how attitudes to disability haven’t really changed much since Victorian times – if not before. Some academic research recently published has been talking about how these attitudes might relate to the way that the government and the media are representing disability at the moment. Academic journal articles are expensive if you’re not at a university, but I think research around disability and society is vitally important, and this article’s conclusions are a late-but-appreciated part of academic debate – so here’s a bit of a summary of the article. Continue Reading