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Dr. Jen Slater BA (Hons), PhD, PGCLTHE

Reader in Queer Disability Studies and Education


My research draws on disability, queer, trans and gender studies to consider relationships disability, gender and the body. I am also interested in critical explorations of developmental discourse, issues of access/accessibility and institutional Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy (EDI).


My research has taken place through a number of distinct, but related research projects. My 2015 book, Youth and Disability: A Challenge to Mr Reasonable, explores youth and disability as social, cultural and political constructs, alongside gender, sexuality and the body. In this book, I use the fictional character of ‘Mr Reasonable’ to question markers of youth, adulthood, and indeed, disability and ability. Between 2015 and 2018 I led the AHRC-funded Around the Toilet project ( Around the Toilet asked what makes a safe and accessible toilet space, exploring toilets as spaces of exclusion and belonging by centring the experiences of queer, trans and disabled people. The research was collaborative, public-facing and aimed to create outputs that could be used to influence toilet design at a grassroots and practitioner level. As such, as well as journal articles and book chapters, we produced three films (one of which toured international film festivals), a zine and design toolkits (all of which are available on our project blog). In 2016, Around the Toilet was awarded the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s (NCCPE) ‘Engage’ Award for public engagement within the arts, humanities and social sciences. Since 2020 Around the Toilet work has continued under the project title, ‘Beers, Burgers and Bleach: Hygiene, Toilets and Hospitality in the Context of Covid-19’. This ongoing research, funded by the Wellcome Centre, explores the cleaning, maintenance and monitoring work provided by hospitality workers in relation to toilets and toilet access, particular during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, I have begun to think about symbols and tokens of ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’ (EDI) and how these are used by corporations and institutions. Between 2021-2023 I will be carrying out a BA/Leverhulme funded project titled, Institutional rainbowification before, during (and after?) COVID: a case study of HE. This will involved interviewing LGBT+ staff and students, as well as those signed up to institutional allies schemes, to explore the role of the rainbow as a sign of LGBT inclusion in HE. I am a founding member of the Queer Disability Studies Network (

I conceptualise ‘education’ broadly through my teaching, asking questions about the relationships between ‘education’, stratification (gender, race, class, sexuality, dis/ability and so on) and transnational capitalism. I am interested in critiquing dominant discourses of ‘development’ as they relate to education, particularly in relation to the individualisation of social inequalities.


Sheffield Institute of Education

Social Sciences and Arts

I teach in areas broadly related to my research across and number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the Sheffield Institute of Education.


My research focuses on issues of disability, gender and the body. I am also interested in critical explorations of developmental discourse and issues of access/accessibility. My PhD research used a critical disability studies perspectives to explore meanings that we attach to ‘youth’ and ‘adulthood’. More recently, I have led a series of AHRC-funded arts-based projects collectively known as, Around the Toilet. Around the Toilet explores the toilet as an embodied space of exclusion and belonging ( You can read more about my work on my academic blog at

Featured Projects


Journal articles

Jones, C., & Slater, J. (2020). The toilet debate: stalling trans possibilities and defending ‘women's protected spaces’. The Sociological Review.

Slater, J., Ágústsdóttir, E., & Haraldsdóttir, F. (2018). Becoming intelligible woman: Gender, disability and resistance at the border zone of youth. Feminism and Psychology, 28 (3), 409-426.

Slater, J., & Liddiard, K. (2018). Why Disability Studies Scholars Must Challenge Transmisogyny and Transphobia. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 7 (2), 83-93.

Slater, J., & Liddiard, K. (2018). “Like, pissing yourself is not a particularly attractive quality, let’s be honest” : learning to contain through youth, adulthood, disability and sexuality. Sexualities, 21 (3), 319-333.

Slater, J. (2017). Becoming women: the embodied self in image culture. Disability & Society, 32 (8), 1286-1288.

Slater, J., Jones, C., & Procter, L. (2017). Troubling school toilets : resisting discourses of 'development' through a critical disability studies and critical psychology lens. Discourse : Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 1-12.

Slater, J., Jones, C., & Procter, L. (2016). School toilets : queer, disabled bodies and gendered lessons of embodiment. Gender and Education, 1-15.

Slater, J. (2016). Book Review: Little vast rooms of undoing exploring identity and embodiment through public toilet spaces. Disability and Society, 31 (3), 439-442.

Slater, J. (2015). Chronic youth: disability, sexuality, and US media cultures of rehabilitation. DISABILITY & SOCIETY, 30 (9), 1452-1454.

Slater, J. (2015). X. Stresses and contradictions of trying to ‘do feminisms’ within the (neo)liberal academy. Feminism & Psychology, 12 (1), 56-60.

Slater, J. (2014). Book review: Feminist Queer Crip by Alison Kafer. Disability and Society, 29 (5), 840-844.

Slater, J. (2012). Youth for sale: using critical disability perspectives to examine the embodiment of ‘Youth’. Societies, 2 (3), 195-209.

Slater, J. (2012). Self-advocacy and socially just pedagogy. Disability Studies Quarterly, 32 (1).

Slater, J. (2012). Stepping outside normative neoliberal discourse: youth and disability meet – the case of Jody McIntyre. Disability and Society, 27 (5), 723-727.

Slater, J., & Jones, C. (n.d.). Toilet signs as border markers: Exploring disabled people’s access to space. International Journal of Disability and Social Justice, 1 (1).

Book chapters

Jones, C., Slater, J., Lisney, E., Cleasby, S., Kemp, G., & Rennie, S. (2019). Pissed Off! Disability activists fighting for toilet access in the UK. In The Routledge Handbook of Disability Activism. Routledge

Jones, C., Slater, J., Cleasby, S., Kemp, G., Lisney, E., & Rennie, S. (2019). PISSED OFF! Disability activists fighting for toilet access in the UK. In Berghs, M., Chataika, T., & El-Lahib, Y. (Eds.) The Routledge handbook of disability activism. (pp. 219-231). Routledge:

Slater, J., & Chapman, E. (2017). Normalcy, Intersectionality and Ableism : teaching about and around ‘inclusion’ to future educators. In Runswick-Cole, K., Curran, T., & Liddiard, K. (Eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies. (pp. 333-349). Palgrave Macmillan UK:

Slater, J. (2016). The (Normal) Non-Normativity of Youth. In Mallett, R., Ogden, C., & Slater, J. (Eds.) Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane : Precarious Positions. (pp. 14-44). Chester: University of Chester Press:

Slater, J. (2016). The (Normal) Non-Normativity of Youth. In Mallett, R., Ogden, C., & Slater, J. (Eds.) Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane : Precarious Positions. (pp. 14-44). Chester: University of Chester Press:

Slater, J. (2013). Research with dis/abled youth: Taking a critical disability, ‘critically young’ positionality. In Disabled Children's Childhood Studies: Critical Approaches in a Global Context. (pp. 180-195).

Slater, J. (2013). Playing grown-up: Using critical disability perspectives to rethink youth. In Youth: Responding to Lives: An International Reader. (pp. 75-91).


Mallett, R., Ogden, C., & Slater, J. (Eds.). (2016). Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane : Precarious Positions. Chester: University of Chester Press.

Slater, J. (2015). Youth and disability: a challenge to Mr Reasonable. Burlington: Ashgate.


Slater, J., & Jones, C. (2018). Around the Toilet: a research project report about what makes a safe and accessible toilet space. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Hallam University.

Theses / Dissertations

Tobias-Green, K. (2020). Stories from an artinstitution: The writinglives of students withdyslexia. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Slater, J.

Other activities

I currently supervise the following PhD students: Stephanie Hannam-Swain: Disabled peoples’ conceptualisation and experiences of self-harm Katherine Terrell: Bodies in space, signs in space: Deaf and disabled children’s embodied experiences of education Cathy Soreny: Stories beyond words: Reframing representation of non-normative voices through co-created filmmaking Previous students: Karen Tobias-Green: Narratives of an art institution: the writing experiences of students with dyslexia.

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