The MeCCSA Disability Studies Network was first established in 2011 to support and promote the development of the research and teaching of Disability Studies within Media, Communication and Cultural Studies and to provide a space to support and promote the work of disabled academics, lecturers, researchers and media practitioners working in Higher Education.
Our work is particularly concerned with research into disabling imagery, disabling aspects of media institutions, as well as interventions in media, culture and communications by disability activists, disabled practitioners and academics designed to counteract stereotypes, prejudice and disabling practices.
Having initiated and maintained an engaging programme of activity over a couple of years, the network has recently become less active. Our focus now is on reinvigorating engagement with the network to build upon the good work that has already been done. A small committee has been established to take the network forward but we would love to hear from anyone interested in becoming more actively involved. More than 70 people have signed up to the MeCCSA Disability Studies Network Jiscmail list and we hope that many of you will support our events and activities in 2015 and beyond.
This newsletter is a great opportunity to introduce readers to members of the committee:
Alison has professional interests in several areas relating to the cultural representation of disability, including audience responses to portrayals of disability in screen media, as well as teaching and research on inclusive education. She is currently writing a book on disability and film comedy for Ashgate, and conducting research into cinema/television portrayals of mental health, and also investigating young people’s experiences and interpretations of ‘disability films’.
Ann Luce is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Communication at Bournemouth University. Ann is a practicing journalist and academic. One of Ann’s most notable pieces of journalism was investigating suicide rates in Florida, which eventually garnered support for the creation of the Office of Suicide Prevention and Drug Control in the State of Florida. This piece of work also inspired her venture into academia, where she earned a PhD at Cardiff University looking at how the British Media reports suicide, which will be published by Palgrave in 2016. Since finishing this piece of research, Ann has consulted with governments in Wales and Norway to reduce suicide rates. She also sits on the International Association of Suicide Prevention Media Task Force. More recently, Ann’s work has found her working with disabled people via the charity, Access Dorset. As part of this research, Ann has taught disabled people journalism skills, so they might become citizen journalists and report on issues that are of importance to them. Their work can be found at: https://www.accessdorsetcentre.org/uncategorized/adtv-the-power-of-citizen-journalism/
Carrie’s work is broadly situated within communication and cultural studies. As an interpretivist researcher, she is particularly sympathetic towards ethnographically-inspired work and participatory arts-based methods used to offer ‘voice’ to seldom-heard groups. Carrie co-leads the “Seen but Seldom Heard project”, which seeks to challenge perceptions of disability through poetry and performance: https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/seen-but-seldom-heard/ and will shortly commence work on a participatory communication project to identify the key issues and challenges facing young disabled people during ‘emerging adulthood’ i.e. transitioning from compulsory education to adulthood. Carrie also led the writing-up of an influential insight report into the impact of Channel 4’s televised coverage of the Paralympics 2012 upon UK audiences: https://www.creativeenterprisebureau.com/
Hilary is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University. She is currently working on her PhD, which investigates the communicative constitution of stigma and its effects within a mental health context. The research will inform practice by considering implications for the design and communication of persuasive messages.
The Disability Studies Network is open to suggestions from any member for future events and we are keen to open our events to as many MeCCSA members as possible. The theme for UK Disability History Month 2015 (mid Nov- mid Dec) is “In Focus: Images of Disability Now and Then”, which offers an exciting opportunity for the Disability Studies Network to collaborate on a programme of relevant activity. More information will follow shortly.
If you would like to find out more about the Disability Studies Network and/or become involved as a member of the committee, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to working with you!