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Disability Studies at Sheffield Hallam University

Disability Studies at Sheffield Hallam University

Research Centre
Art and Design Research Centre

Date
Ongoing

The Disability Studies team at Sheffield Hallam contribute to an international arena of scholars by continually developing vibrant teaching and research activity around social, cultural and political understandings of disability.

The team lead the BA (Hons) Education and Disability Studies, teach on the BA (Hons) Education Studies, supervise doctoral students and tirelessly promote SHU as an international 'hub of disability research', principally through the Disability Research Forum (DRF). The internationally-known researchers provide high-quality teaching, support the REF through peer-reviewed publications and break down barriers between practice, research and teaching.

Through a number of initiatives, students are enabled to experience the acute relevance of their subject (Disability Studies), while making valuable connections with wider research and stake-holder communities. By blurring established boundaries, the team have created a sense of subject 'identity' and course 'belonging' which is held in positive regard across the department and among the students themselves.

The DRF

The team host monthly DRF seminars, bringing researchers into SHU to discuss their latest work. In Oct. 2012 the team also hosted a visit from two internationally-renowned Canadian scholars, Tanya Titchkosky and Rod Michalko, partly consisting of an afternoon Q&A seminar with third year students.

Over 900 people have signed up to the DRF blog, with a similar number following the team's Twitter feed. This facilitates a community of interested parties which is in constant dialogue and to which students have open access.

Please visit the DRF blog.

Research Informed Teaching

Guest speakers are invited into seminars to challenge existing understandings and offer alternatives. Recent seminars include: students engaging with local community organisations (e.g. Sheffield's City of Sanctuary) and disabled families; debates with internationally-reputable scholars (e.g. Dr. Tom Shakespeare, part of the ‘Violence and Injury Prevention Team’ at the WHO) and; involvement in Liz Crow’s high-profile artistic/activist/academic endeavour, Bedding Out (held at Salisbury Arts Centre and reported in The Guardian). The latter two examples utilised digital media (Twitter/Skype), demonstrating the team's innovative use of technology to reach beyond the academy's walls.

Through such opportunities for engagement, students have soaked up 'real-world' knowledge/understanding which is readily fed back into their studies and work/volunteer activities. As well as an enhanced experience while at SHU, students will graduate as reflexive, engaged and passionate educational/public sector practitioners, with 40% of the current graduating cohort already applying for further study.

Conferences

Disability Studies at SHU are involved in organising the following events and conferences:

Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane International Conference: The Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane conference is now in its 5th year and Disability Studies at SHU have been involved in the organising since the outset. In September 2013 it was hosted by Sheffield Hallam. As one delegate put it: it has become one of the UK-based disability studies conferences. We are editing a book which will be published in 2015 of key papers from this conference.

ESCR Autism: Rethinking the Label

Gender and Disability: Asking Difficult Questions A conference co-hosted with the Gender Research Network, University of Sheffield, this one-day conference (to be held on Saturday 10th May 2014), will bring together academics, activists and key community stakeholders to discuss 'gender and disability'.

Who are we?

Dr Rebecca Mallett: r.mallett@shu.ac.uk. I am a Senior Lecturer in Education and Disability Studies at the Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and allied with the Cultural, Communication and Computing Research Institute (C3RI). My main areas of research include ‘disability’ in popular culture, the constitution and regulation of interpretative strategies within Cultural Disability Studies and, more recently, the commodification of impairment.

Recent Publications

  • Mallett, R. and Slater, J. (f.c.) 'Language' in C. Cameron (ed.) Disability Studies: A Student's Guide, Sage.
  • Mallett, R. and Runswick-Cole, K. (2012) ' Commodifying Autism: The Cultural Contexts of 'Disability' in the Academy’ in D. Goodley, B. Hughes and L. Davis. (eds.) Disability and Social Theory: New Developments and Directions, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.33-51.
  • Madriaga, M. and Mallett, R. (2010) ‘Images of Criminality, Victimisation and Disability’ in S. G. Shoham, P. Knepper and M. Kett (eds.) International Handbook of Victimology, Taylor and Francis, pp.585-610.
  • Mallett, R. (2010) Claiming Comedic Immunity: Or, What Do You Get When You Cross Contemporary British Comedy with Disability?, Review of Disability Studies 6:3, pp. 5-14.
  • Mallett, R. (2009) ‘Choosing ‘Stereotypes’: Debating the Efficacy of (British) Disability-Criticism’ Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs (JORSEN) 9:1, pp.4-11.

Editorship of Special Issues

Coogan, T. and Mallett, R. (eds). (2013). Disability, Humour and Comedy. Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. 7:3.

Goodley, D., Burke, L., Lawthom, R., Mallett, R. and Bolt, D. (eds). (2010). Theorising Culture and Disability: Interdisciplinary Dialogues. Review of Disability Studies 6:3.

Dr Jenny Slater: j.slater@shu.ac.uk. I am a Lecturer in Education and Disability Studies at the Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and allied with the Cultural, Communication and Computing Research Institute (C3RI). I completed my doctoral studies entitled 'Constructions, Perceptions and Expectations of being 'Young' and 'Disabled': a critical disability perspective' in March 2013. The research involved a 12-month ethnography with young disabled people in the UK and Iceland. 

Over the 12 months I spent time with two youth groups in the north of England and also received ERASMUS funding to spend three months as a visiting researcher at The Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Iceland. I continued fieldwork with young disabled women running Iceland's first and only user-led independent living centre. My research explores youth and disability as social, cultural and political constructs. Although focusing on youth and disability, my research is interdisciplinary and intersectional; drawing upon queer and postcolonial theories, as well as critical disability studies and critical studies of youth. I am particularly interested in how 'youth' and 'disability' intersect with discourses of gender and sexuality.

Recent Publications

  • Slater. J. (f.c.) Researching and (re)constructing ‘youth’ and ‘disability’ through cultures of ‘critical youth’. London: Ashgate.
  • Slater, J. (f.c.). Playing grown-up: using critical disability perspectives to rethink youth. In Andrew Azzopardi (Ed.), Youth: Responding to lives - An international handbook. Rotterdam: Sense Publications.
  • Mallett, R. and Slater, J. (f.c.) 'Language' in C. Cameron (ed.) Disability Studies: A Student's Guide. London: Sage.
  • Slater, J. (2013). Playing grown-up: using critical disability perspectives to rethink youth. In Andrew Azzopardi (Ed.), Youth: Responding to lives - An international handbook. Rotterdam: Sense Publications.
  • Slater, J. (2013). Research with dis/abled youth: taking a critical disability, ‘critically young’ positionality. In Katherine Runswick-Cole and Tillie Curran (Eds.), Disabled Children's Childhood Studies: Critical Approaches in a Global Context. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Slater, J. (2012). Youth for Sale: Using Critical Disability Perspectives to Examine the Embodiment of ‘Youth’. Societies, 2(3), 195-209.
  • Slater, J. (2012). Theorizing Normalcy and the Mundane: Second International Conference. Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, 6(2), 227-230.
  • Slater, J. (2012). Stepping outside normative neoliberal discourse: youth and disability meet – the case of Jody McIntyre. Disability and Society, 27(5), 723-727.

Keynote and invited conference papers

  • Slater, J. (2013). The (normal) non-normativity of youth. Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane 4th International Conference, 3rd-4th September, Sheffield Hallam University, UK.
  • Slater, J. (2011). Those Pesky Kids: messing around in Disability Studies. CDS January Symposium I, February, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
  • Slater, J. (2014, f.c.). The Normal Abnormality of Youth. New College Disability Speaker Series, New College, University of Toronto.

Invited Participatory Workshops

  • Slater, J. and Greenstein, A. (2013). Researching Best-Ever Futures: Creating a Tool Box for Change, Child Youth Family and Disability Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, June: Manchester, UK.
  • Slater, J. (2012). Researching Youth and Disability, Centre of Disability Studies, University of Iceland, March: Reykjavik, Iceland.
  • Slater, J. and Greenstein, A. (2011). Using Creative Research Methodologies for inclusive and accessible research with children and young people, Manchester Metropolitan University, May: Manchester, UK.

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