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Thursday, January 9, 2020

The role of risk in relation to Special Educational Needs and Disability

Ms Sharon Smith, University of Birmingham

Date: 5 February 2020
Time: 2.00–3.30pm
Place: EDEN Arbour room, Liverpool Hope University, UK

Since the 1990s, there has been an increased focus within education on keeping pupils safe, and anticipating risks of problems, such as negative outcomes or future underachievement, resulting in the ‘at risk’ label being applied to some students, who then require greater observation and protection. Students with disabilities are often seen as more vulnerable than the general school population, subject to even greater monitoring and risk management than their peers. This seminar argues that the move within education towards risk management is problematic as students’ futures are calculated and managed and they are exposed to disciplinary power over their future outcomes. Yet the future of the other is not something that should be comprehended in the present, nor should there be any attempt to contain it. The future of others is not ours to control and should remain a mystery. This therefore requires the welcoming, rather than management, of risk in education.

Sharon Smith is a PhD student at the University of Birmingham, where she is researching the subjectivity of parents of children labelled with Special Educational Needs/Disability (SEND) and the impact of this subjectivity on inclusion.

This seminar is part of the Disability Futurity series organised by the CCDS in collaboration with Carleton University’s Disability Research Group, Canada:
•       27.02.19 Reading Down syndrome: past, present, future?, Helen Davies, Hope.
•       27.03.19 Art Education and Disability Futurity: Subjects on the Edge, Claire Penketh, Hope.
•       05.06.19 Disabled people and subjugated knowledges: new understandings and strategies developed by people living with chronic conditions, Ana Bê, Hope.
•       20.11.19 Living as if we already know what ‘human’ will be: exploring the anticipated futures of visual/deaf humanity and how they shape the present, Mike Gulliver, Hope.
•       22.01.20 Representations of Disability Experience in Live Theatre, seeley quest, Carleton.
•       05.02.20 The role of risk in relation to Special Educational Needs and Disability, Sharon Smith, Hope.
•       18.03.20 Exploring Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in Time: Life, death, and futurity in rehabilitation, Thomas Abrams, Carleton.
•       08.04.20 Spectral Risk and the Future of Disability, Kelly Fritsch and Anne McGuire, Carleton.
•       22.06.20 Disability Histories and Futures of the Nation, Gildas Bregain, Beth Robertson, and Paul van Trigt, Carleton.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Disabled people and subjugated knowledges: new understandings and strategies developed by people living with chronic conditions

Dr Ana Bê, Liverpool Hope University

Date: Wednesday 5 June, 2019
Time: 2.00–3.30pm
Place: Conference Rooms 1 & 2, Liverpool Hope University, UK

This seminar provides a contribution to our understanding of the knowledges and strategies developed by people living with chronic illnesses, based on an empirical study conducted in England and Portugal. Disability studies has historically (and rightly) focused on mapping out and understanding disablism. The way disabled people relate to their bodyminds has only recently featured in the literature. Adding to this work, Dr Bê argues that disabled people constantly have to negotiate codes about the body, based on normative notions, which she terms normative corporality. The knowledges and strategies developed by disabled people are often unnoticed, or devalued, as we tend to value knowledges of the body that come from established systems of knowledge, or from the bodies our society deems normative. The concern is that the subjugated knowledges of disabled people are in danger of being unacknowledged in futurity.

Ana Bê is Lecturer in the Department of Disability and Education and a core member of the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies at Liverpool Hope University. She has published in Alter, Disability & Society, and The Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies.

This seminar is part of the Disability Futurity series organised by the CCDS in collaboration with Carleton University’s Disability Research Group, Canada.

For further information please contact Prof David Bolt:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The latest evidence suggests that the DWP are stitching-up benefit claimants

Ms. Kerry-Anne Mendoza
The Canary

Just a short note to commend you and The Canary for your superlative work in exposing the misdeeds of the DWP in various pieces, including this particular instance (The DWP was just caught red-handed 'fiddling' benefit sanctions figures | The Canary But I would argue that the DWP aren't merely 'fiddling' benefit sanctions figures; I contend that they are continuing the nefarious practice of egregiously stitching-up benefit claimants—accusations of this sort were first made by whistle-blowers years ago (see references below) but there's an urgent need for them to resurface now, in view of your 'fiddling' piece and this latest Disability News Service story: DWP is asked why ‘not fit for work’ universal credit claimants are being sanctioned ( In 2015, when Esther McVey was employment minister, she blamed front-line Jobcentre staff for unfair benefit sanctioning practices instead of taking responsibility for the sanctioning regime and culture at jobcentres that she had created. She claimed that sanctions targets did not exist and that sanctions were only imposed as a “last resort”. Now, as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, she and her DWP ministers have the authority to crack down on this type of malfeasance, but have chosen not to do so because it's being committed at their behest.

Disclosure: I am a 62 year old Disability Studies specialist—from Montreal, Canada—who since 2012 has been campaigning daily on Twitter, and communicating frequently with the UN's human rights office, in Geneva, on the welfare crisis impacting U.K.'s sick and disabled.

References: Stitching-up claimants is all part of the job, says Jobcentre insider - Ros Wynne Jones - Mirror Online

Sanctions: staff pressured to penalise benefit claimants, says union | Society | The Guardian

It was my job to impose cruel benefit sanctions – that the DWP can’t justify | Angela Neville | Opinion | The Guardian

Benefit sanctions: Britain's secret penal system | Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

Benefit sanctions have failed: a Comprehensive Review is needed | British Politics and Policy at LSE

[July 19, 2018] DWP is asked why ‘not fit for work’ universal credit claimants are being sanctioned

Yours very truly,

Samuel Miller

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Statement from Canadian Samuel Miller on the ESA WRAG cuts and 'wrongful' welfare reform deaths in the UK

The ESA WRAG cuts have been in effect since April 3rd; the failure of the Guardian (which publishes articles on disability on an almost daily basis) and the British press to investigate how these new chronically ill and disabled claimants are faring as they struggle to survive on a below subsistence, JSA-level benefit, is a serious dereliction of duty.

If the media blackout on the ESA WRAG cuts persists much longer, the danger is that the DWP ministers will conclude that these vulnerable claimants are adequately coping on a reduced benefit and they'll promote that false narrative in the right-wing press.

Once the complete details of the personal support package (PSP) are obtained from the DWP, I will ask the UN CRPD and the Work and Pensions Select Committee to rule on whether the PSP a) fully mitigates the ESA WRAG cuts; and b) meets the subsistence needs of sick and disabled.

I intend to hold the DWP and its ministers accountable for 'wrongful' welfare reform deaths by facilitating a crowdfunded human rights lawsuit supported by UN reports, coroners, and the testimony of the Work and Pensions Select Committee. (I am a lifelong Canadian citizen and resident; I cannot sue your government directly, but I can lend my support in helping to arrange either a crowdfunded judicial review or lawsuit against the DWP).

Since 2012, I've been reporting voluntarily to the UN on the welfare crisis impacting Britain's sick and disabled.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Centre for Culture & Disability Studies Seminar: Sorrowless Lamentation by Prof Lennard J. Davis

Sorrowless Lamentation:
Viewers' Emotional Response to the Disabled Poor in Art

Prof Lennard J. Davis, University of Illinois at Chicago

Date: Wednesday 15 November, 2017
Time: 2.00pm–3.30pm
Place: EDEN 109, Liverpool Hope University, UK

This seminar reviews the history of the disabled poor in Western Art and
considers what the viewers' emotional response to such depictions would
be. Prof Davis is interested in the repeated tropes of disability and
poverty over time and how the viewers' responses might have changed.

Lennard Davis is Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at
the University of Illinois at Chicago in the departments of Disability
and Human Development, English, and Medical Education. He has written or
edited over 20 books, some of which are the most influential in the
field.  He has been an active member of the JLCDS board since its
inauguration in 2006 and he contributed to the previous CCDS seminar
series in 2015.

This seminar is part of the CCDS series, Disability and the Emotions.
Other dates include:

31 Jan 2018, Embracing Disorientation in the Disability Studies
Classroom, Ryan Parrey.

07 Mar 2018, Affective/Effective Images? The Aesthetics of Representing
Disability Experiences in Comics, Gesine Wegner.

18 Apr 2018, Crip Feelings/Feeling Crip, Brady Forrest.

23 May 2018, Remembering the Great War through Bodies and Emotions: The
Experience of Disabled Ex Servicemen between the Two World Wars, Ugo
Pavan Dalla Torre.

04 Jul 2018, Demanding Money with Menaces: Fear and Loathing in the
Archipelago of Confinement, Owen Barden.

For further information please contact Dr David Bolt:  Dr. David Bolt

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Prayer For Sue Jones, British Disability Campaigner, Who Is In Hospital

May the One who was a source of blessing for our ancestors, bring blessings of healing upon Sue Jones, a healing of body and a healing of spirit. May those in whose care she is entrusted, be gifted with wisdom and skill, and those who surround her, be gifted with love and trust, openness and support in her care. And may she be healed along with all those who are in need. Blessed are You, Source of healing. Amen.