Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics, School of Humanities and Social Science, University of Brighton

Workshop: The Politics of Disability and Research Accessibility With Luke Beesley

This workshop will be run as a hybrid event, with colleagues able to ‘call in’ from home if that’s where they need to be. If you have any access requirements to attend (online or in person), please email Luke Beesley at l.s.beesley@brighton.ac.uk.

This workshop welcomes students and colleagues across the University of Brighton and will be hosted on Teams. Email cappe@brighton.ac.uk for joining code.

Monday 7th of February, 15.30-17.30, Grand Parade G2

Around 14% of all students in Britain identify themselves as disabled – a proportion which has been steadily rising each year. The number going on to postgraduate study, however, appears to have lagged stubbornly behind other oppressed groups. While critiques of racism, misogyny, heterosexism and religious bigotry have been adopted and expanded by numerous scholarly fields, analyses of disablism have largely been confined to either the peripheries of research programs or to the lesser-spotted Centres for Disability Studies. Likewise, while many scholars are aware of the need to make their public talks, conferences, and cultural events accessible to working class audiences, knowledge of disability access adaptations is almost entirely centralised in small Disabled Students Teams separate from research dissemination.

The purpose of this workshop is twofold: to give scholars at CAPPE and sister Centres a brief introduction to the politics of disablement in Britain; and to give an overview of best accessibility practice in running our public events. Beginning with the socio-ontological analyses of disablement arising from self-organised groups of disabled people, I indicate the scope of political ‘readings’ of disablement available to political analysts and theorists using this tradition. In the second part of the workshop, I show how fairly simple adaptations to a research centre or departments ‘front facing’ activities can significantly reduce barriers to disabled academics or lay(wo)men engaging with our research outputs – and demonstrate where the pooling of resources and knowledge between research centres can help make adaptations flexible and sustainable.  Building on work undertaken by the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, this part of the workshop focusses on how access needs can be addressed in real life, online, and hybrid settings to make our practices open to as many people as possible during this stage of the pandemic.

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