Most of us managed to get some sort of holiday this month, so there isn’t much news to report. However, a great deal of work is going on behind the scenes to prepare for the new distance learning MA programme. Watch this space for some important developments in September/October.
We were saddened to learn of the death this month of Ann-Denise Worsnop. Ann-Denise provided support to many disabled students and was closely involved with the Disability Studies MA programme.
Congratulations to all those students who gained their degrees this month. As well as the MA and Diploma students, a record 81 students completed the undergraduate module in Disability Studies as part of their degree this year, making it the most popular elective course in the Department.
Colin Barnes, Mark Priestley, Tom Shakespeare and Majid Turmusani travelled to San Francisco for the Society of Disability Studies annual convention. Everyone presented something to the conference. Mark also chaired a session about disability on the net, and Tom chaired a session on trans-Atlantic perspectives in disability studies.
Sad news/good news…Emma Stone will be leaving us soon to take up her new post, as senior research manager with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s disability programme in York.
The taught Master’s degree in disability studies will soon be available to distance learning students (contact Leigh Fiorentino for details).
The DRU hosted a seminar to discuss issues of disability and development, organised by Emma Stone. Participants included representatives of disabled people’s organisations, international aid agencies and those involved in community based rehabilitation. We hope to prepare a publication from the papers and discussion.
Members of the DRU joined the Direct Action Network (DAN) on 10 March to protest against proposed cuts in disability benefits. Disability activists occupied the Benefits Agency headquarters in Leeds and distributed leaflets to staff.
The DRU hosted a visit by Joshua Malinga (former chair of Disabled Peoples’ International) to discuss links with disabled people’s organisations in Africa.
This month we welcomed Peter Pearse as the newest member of the Disability Research Unit. Peter will be doing research towards his PhD thesis in the area of special education.
On International Day of Disabled People Colin Barnes, Emma Stone and Mark Priestley attended the Disability Studies Seminar in Edinburgh. Colin presented a paper on disability in the writings of Irvine Welsh and Mark presented a paper on cultural values and community care policies.
As part of the ‘Life as a Disabled Child’ project, we have begun work in collaboration with Leeds City Council to establish a Young Disabled Person’s Advisory Group which will inform local policy making.
We are pleased to welcome two new members to the Disability Research Unit: Sangeeta Richharyia has begun work on her doctoral research project and Leigh Fiorentino will take up the newly created post of Development Officer.
Thanks to everyone who attended the conference on ‘Doing Disability Research’. We hope that you found it successful. A book under the same title is now available with chapters by each of the main contributors.