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Centre for Culture and Disability Studies Seminar Series

Like much work in the field of Disability Studies, the work of the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (CCDS) within the Faculty of Education is fundamentally concerned with social justice: with challenging and changing the inequalities and prejudices that people who are disabled face on a daily basis.

Please see below for a list of dates for the 2019 seminar series.

27th February 2019 2.00pm Eden036 (Powys)

Reading Down syndrome: past, present, future? Dr Helen Davies, Newman University 

27th March 2019 2.00pm Conference Room 2

Art Education and Disability Futurity: Subjects on the Edge. Dr Claire Penketh, Liverpool Hope University

05th June 2019  2.00pm Conference Room 2

Disabled people and subjugated knowledges: new understandings and strategies developed by people living with chronic conditions. Dr Ana Be Pereira, Liverpool Hope University


Reading Down syndrome: past, present, future?

This is a crucial moment for thinking about the future of people with Down syndrome, considering that 2018 saw the introduction of non-invasive pre-natal testing via the NHS. Evidence from countries such as Iceland suggests that the availability of NIPTs leads to very high percentages of terminations, and disability rights groups have argued that this trend is tantamount to a strategy of modern eugenics (Burch, 2017). This seminar explores the way in which various ‘futures’ of characters with Down syndrome are constructed in a selection of contemporary novels. Dr Davies considers the ways in which certain stereotypes of the condition established by Victorian medical discourses (John Langdon Down; John Fraser and Arthur Mitchell) remain, most troublingly, unchallenged in contemporary fiction. In this sense, we are still dealing with the legacies of the past when dealing with the imagined future of people with Down syndrome. However, as a counterpoint to this pessimistic outlook, the seminar explores the ways in which more experimental contemporary fiction seeks to deploy aesthetic and political innovation to imagine futures defined by agency, dignity, and inclusion.


Art Education and Disability Futurity: Subjects on the Edge

This seminar brings recent research in art education and disability to consider how a future art education might be more fully informed by disability. The work emerges from a genealogy of art education and disability that traces histories of art education alongside contemporaneous discourses in disability from the nineteenth century to the present. For example, John Dewey and John Ruskin emphasised the role of observation as 'the' way of knowing and understanding the natural world. The transference of these ideas into technical craft and design education secured an ocularnormative approach to art education. Later, developments in child psychology and special education signalled a relationship between art education and therapy. An interest in Child Art, Outsider Art, and expressivism occurred with a rise in therapeutic approaches, with art educators implicated in the employment of creativity to overcome disability. More recently art education has emerged as critical social practice associated with contemporary art, identity work, and disability studies. Disability Futurity enables us to learn from these histories and imagine an art education that benefits from non-normative ways of knowing.


Disabled people and subjugated knowledges: new understandings and strategies developed by people living with chronic conditions

This seminar provides a contribution to our understanding of the knowledges and strategies developed by people living with chronic illnesses, based on an empirical study conducted in England and Portugal. Disability studies has historically (and rightly) focused on mapping out and understanding disablism. The way disabled people relate to their bodyminds has only recently featured in the literature. Adding to this work, Dr Bê argues that disabled people constantly have to negotiate codes about the body, based on normative notions, which she terms normative corporality. The knowledges and strategies developed by disabled people are often unnoticed, or devalued, as we tend to value knowledges of the body that come from established systems of knowledge, or from the bodies our society deems normative. The concern is that the subjugated knowledges of disabled people are in danger of being unacknowledged in futurity.


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