‘Moving from the Margins: mainstreaming persons with disabilities in Pakistan’, University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow and British Council Pakistan would like to invite you to attend the launch of a report from the British Council Pakistan entitled: ‘Moving from the Margins: mainstreaming persons with disabilities in Pakistan’ at an event at the University of Glasgow on 29th August 2014 at 2:30pm.

Persons with disabilities (PwDs) are among the most marginalised groups in Pakistan – unheard and unseen – while government efforts aimed at mainstreaming this group into society are equally inconspicuous.

Research and reports around PwDs in Pakistan have traditionally taken a medically-focused approach, often highlighting support, care and access from a health perspective. A critical social dimension to disability is missing. To fill this gap, British Council Pakistan commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to study the socio-cultural and economic barriers that impact PwDs in Pakistan.

This research report aims to shed light on society’s perception of disability, education and training opportunities for PwDs, and extent of their economic participation. The analysis will cover differences by gender, socio-economic status and provinces in Pakistan. The report will not only identify barriers and challenges, but also positive developments around mainstreaming PwDs. Findings will be based on interviews conducted with 50 stakeholders ranging from policymakers, NGOs, teachers, employers, PwDs and their caregivers.

The purpose of this report is also to inform policy and policy makers. The first challenge to effective policies lies in the patchiness and paucity of data: Pakistan’s last survey of PwDs, for example, took place in 1998, and estimates of the number of PwDs today range from 5m to 18m. There is also limited government commitment by way of legislation that recognises rights of PwDs, further perpetuating a deep stigma individuals face. The lack of representation and access to social protection programmes restricts their access to education and employment, keeping them at the peripheries of society.


1430       Reception

1500      Welcome from University of Glasgow by Professor Neal Juster, Senior Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice Chancellor University of Glasgow

Welcome Address by Peter Upton, Country Director British Council Pakistan

1515      Presentation of key findings of the Report by Dr Maryam Rab, Director Research Evaluation and Monitoring (REMU), British Council, Pakistan

1525      Panel Discussion – Chaired by Peter Upton  followed by a Question and answer session


  • Muhammad Sarwar, Governor Punjab, Government of Pakistan
  • Fiona Bartels-Ellis OBE., Head of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, British Council, UK
  • Professor Nick Watson, Strathclyde Centre for Disability
  • Dr Jamila Khatoon, Medical Doctor and University of Glasgow Alumnus

1640      Life as PWD – disability, life and sports by Hannah Dines GB Para-cyclist and International Race Runner

1650      Chief Guest’s Address by Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for External Affairs & International Development, Scottish Government

1700      Action Points and Closing Remarks by Dan Walsh, Consultant, REMU & Head of Diversity Unit, British Council Pakistan

The University of Glasgow aims to ensure that people have equal access to public events. If you need alternative formats or other reasonable adjustments, please contact Stuart Forsyth on 0141 330 4831 or via email (Stuart.Forsyth@glasgow.ac.uk) with your request by close of business, 22nd August 2014 so that arrangements, where possible, can be made.

To confirm your attendance and reserve a space visit http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/moving-from-the-margins-mainstreaming-persons-with-disabilities-in-pakistan-tickets-12286530343 or contact Stuart Forsyth directly.


CFP: Oral History and Education, edited collection

The editors of this collection have made a special appeal for contributions from a disability studies perspective.

Oral History and Education

Edited by Dr. Kristina R. Llewellyn and Dr. Nicholas Ng-A-Fook

Deadline for Abstracts: 30th September 2014

Deadline for Full Submissions: 1st March 2015

This collection will address oral history as a “best practice” for researching and engaging the past with students. The aim of this collection is to provide educators, students, and researchers with a comprehensive examination of the curricular innovations and pedagogical possibilities of oral history within formal and informal educational settings.

The value of oral history is now a well-established educational praxis within Indigenous communities. Elders tell stories about the past in order to teach younger generations how to understand the world today and tomorrow. Acknowledging its pedagogical values, along with the rise of social history, schools adopted oral history to bring eyewitness accounts of the past to life for students. Most notably, The Firefox Project, comprised of students at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, conducted life histories with Southern Appalachian elders. Since this initial school-based project, oral tradition, testimony, and life histories have become an integral part of educational programming, from elementary schools to museums. Yet, oral history has been neither an explicit nor a common curricular objective or pedagogical method. With shifting emphasis on concepts like historical literacy, thinking, and inquiry, the curricular focus for the 21st century classroom has changed. History teachers are now asked to create pedagogical spaces that attempt to understand our individual and collective lived experiences with the past as a critical compass for interpreting both the possibilities and limitations of our “nation-state’s” social development (e.g. Truth and Reconciliation Commissions). It is also widely acknowledged that the process of recording, preserving, and disseminating our understandings of the past through life narratives makes history more experiential and inclusive for learners. Consequently, educators are embracing oral history methods and sources to join what is now global social movement to democratize history. Educators, from elementary schools to universities, are increasingly equipping their students with digital devices to record the lives of people in their communities. They are also increasingly drawing upon existing oral history sources, including from veterans and Holocaust survivors, to better understand the legacy of political injustices.

While oral history is experiencing resurgence in education, there has been limited interrogation of what this movement means internationally for history education and for history educators. Some of the questions that need to be explored include: Where does oral history fit within the history curriculum? What does it mean to ‘do’ oral history in today’s classroom or alternative education forums (e.g. NGOs or museums)? Does oral history challenge traditional pedagogy, and, if so, how? In what ways do oral history methods support social justice-oriented education? In what ways does oral history address historical thinking? What are the relationships among doing oral history and developing one’s historical consciousness? What are the effects and affects of a growing use of oral histories for education? Without careful examination of these questions, the rich, democratizing potential of oral history for education remains pedagogically, politically, and socially restricting. Therefore, our hope is that the essays put forth in this book will collectively seek to uncover this potential through a critical exploration of the relationship between oral history and education.

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following areas of research:

  • The history of oral history in public education;
  • Theoretical frameworks for oral history as an educational praxis;
  • Methodological innovations in oral history teaching or learning;
  • Implications of oral history for and within curriculum policy;
  • The role of oral history for social justice-oriented learning (e.g. citizenship education, peace education; human rights education; anti-racist education; indigenous education; feminist education);
  • Pedagogical approaches to oral history in schools;
  • The relationship of oral history and historical consciousness;
  • Oral history and the development of historical thinking skills.

Submission Guidelines: We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers from contributors working on the role of oral history in teaching and learning within formal and informal educational settings (e.g. academics, teachers, public historians, and museum curators). The working language of the collection will be English.

Deadline for Abstracts: 30th September 2014

Content: 300-500 words abstract with title, author’s name, a short bio with affiliation, and contact information. Invitations to submit a full paper will be sent to selected authors by 30th October 2014. Deadline for Full Draft Submissions: 1st March 2015. Full papers should be between 5500-7000 words, including endnotes. Final acceptance is conditional upon peer-review assessments. Authors will be invited to a workshop for the collection during the International Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies from 26th-29th May 2015 at the University of Ottawa. The final papers, inclusive of revisions following peer-review, will be due in the fall of 2015. The anticipated publication date for the collection is the fall of 2016.

Please send proposals to Dr. Kristina R. Llewellyn (kristina.llewellyn@uwaterloo.ca) AND Dr. Nicholas Ng-A-Fook (nngafook@uottawa.ca).

CFP, Edited Collection: “Psychosomatic” Illness in Popular Culture

Medically unexplained symptoms, hysteria, neurasthenia, hypochondria, psychogenic illness, somatic symptoms, functional illness, malingering—there is ongoing debate amongst specialists in medicine, psychology, sociology, and the medical humanities about how to classify, diagnose, treat, and explain disorders affecting body and mind. Meanwhile, in popular culture, these terms are misunderstood, unknown, or rejected outright—what was once called “psychosomatic” illness is heavily stigmatized amongst lay people, while the associated syndromes have become the site of controversy and antipathy in the provider-patient relationship. The DSM-5 outlines diagnostic criteria for illness anxiety and somatic symptoms disorder; medically unexplained symptoms account for as much as 50% of primary care visits; we make fun of hypochondria in sit-coms; patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and post-treatment lyme disease syndrome form online communities for support and advocacy—all of these constituents might be talking about several different disorders, or one, or none. Despite the common experience of being told that their symptoms are imaginary, all in their heads, patients are experiencing a very real illness phenomenon at the intersection of mind and body. But what is it? Physical or mental Illness? political and social identity? cultural, narrative, and/or discursive construction?

The proposed collection invites interdisciplinary analysis of the phenomenon of “psychosomatic” illness as it is (mis)understood in expert and popular culture. Possible themes or topics include:

  • the persistence of mind-body dualism in both expert and lay concepts of illness and wellness
  • the connection between stress and illness in popular culture
  • the struggle to establish scientific, social, and cultural legitimacy for controversial diagnoses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, fibromyalgia
  • the evolution of syndromes and the role of cultural and scientific context
  • the role of gender, race, and class in expert and lay constructions of “psychosomatic” illness and patient identity
  • the representation of psychosomatic and/or contested illness in self-help and wellness programs, magazines, and websites
  • stereotypes and stigmatization of hypochondria, “hysteria,” or malingering in medical and popular culture
  • the relative invisibility of psychosomatic and/or contested illness in fictional narrative (from literary fiction to medical melodramas on tv)
  • the role of medical narrative/narrative medicine in mediating provider-patient conflict about medically unexplained or somatic symptoms and controversial diagnoses

Essays should be interdisciplinary in scope and engaging to a diverse, non-specialist audience. Please send 500-word proposals and a CV to Carol-Ann Farkas (carol-ann.farkas@mcphs.edu) by 1st September 2014. Accepted essays should be 5000-7000 words, and will be due by 1st January 2015.

Doctoral Studentship, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Deaf Performance Studies

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is offering a PhD research studentship to an applicant of outstanding ability. The studentship will be part-time for six years, to the total value of £10,000 per annum (c.£3,600 to cover fees, the remainder for subsistence costs).

The purpose of the successful applicant’s programme of research will be to analyse and assess the impact of a ground-breaking new undergraduate programme designed around the learning and teaching needs of the deaf performer, which has been developed in partnership with Solar Bear Theatre company.

The successful applicant will possess at least a good first degree, and preferably also a Masters qualification with a suitable research training element. You will be able to demonstrate excellent research skills, including expertise in appropriate research methods, the ability to manage a research project, and excellent communication skills, including the ability to write for a variety of readerships. Knowledge of deaf communities is essential, and British Sign Language will be an advantage.

Methodological decisions and the theoretical framing of the research will be determined by the candidate in conjunction with the supervisor. In preparing an application, particular thought should be given to the proposed research questions and approach.

The deadline for application is 11th August 2014 and interviews will take place in the week beginning 19th August 2014. The studentship will begin in late September 2014, and will be held for 72 months.

Informal enquiries about the studentship may be directed by email to Dr Stephen Broad, Head of Research and Knowledge Exchange (s.broad@rcs.ac.uk).

Application forms can be obtained from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s website: http://www.rcs.ac.uk/postgraduate/research.

The Royal Conservatoire’s research programmes are validated by the University of St Andrews.

AHRC/English Heritage Doctoral Award: Deaf Heritage and the Built Environment

In 2015 English Heritage is supporting a PhD in Deaf Heritage under the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme. At this stage we are looking for a Higher Education Institution to partner with ahead of choosing a student to complete the PhD. This will be chosen through an open tender process. The University administers the studentship, receiving funds from the AHRC for fees and to cover the student’s maintenance. English Heritage will provide additional financial support to cover travel and related costs in carrying out research. I would be most grateful if you could circulate the information below around your academic networks and to encourage them to apply to partner with us on this exciting doctoral opportunity. If you or a colleague are interested in undertaking this PhD, please encourage your university to apply to co-supervise it with us by 28th November 2014.

English Heritage is looking to further explore the relationship between deaf people and England’s built heritage. A project, Disability in Time and Place launched in 2012 which charted the relationship  between disabled people and the built environment from the early medieval period to the present day. As part of this wide ranging research, it became clear that very little was known about buildings designed by, designed for, adapted for and used by disabled people.  This studentship could focus on any aspect of deaf heritage in any period as long as the PhD researches the specific architectural or landscape features that arise due to use or design by deaf people. For example; modern churches for deaf people have the pulpit at the east end of the church to ensure better lighting for lip or sign reading.  It would be interesting for the research to chart if, and how far, any unique or different architectural features for deaf people can be unearthed, and how these have changed over time. It would also be important for the research to uncover buildings of significance to deaf heritage either architecturally or in terms of cultural heritage that might not be well known. See http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/professional/training-and-skills/work-based-training/collaborativeresearch/coellaborativedoctoral/ and http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/content/imported-docs/a-e/CDPinfo.pdf for more details.

For more information, contact:

Rosie Sherrington (rosie.sherrington@english-heritage.org.uk)

Senior Social Inclusion and Diversity Adviser

Government Advice, English Heritage

1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn

London EC1N 2ST

Tel +44 (0) 20 7973 3167

CFP: Edited Collection, Disability Disclosure in/and Higher Education

Call for Papers for an Edited Collection: Disability Disclosure in/and Higher Education



Many arguments about disclosing disabilities in higher education contexts are tied to claims about the importance of showing disability as part of college and university environments as a means for moving towards more inclusive and welcoming spaces. Indeed, on both small and large scales, acts of identifying shared experiences can enact moments of solidarity that enable continued persistence in discriminatory environments. These arguments, however, must necessarily be tempered by the just-as-persistent reminder that disclosure, as both Mel Chen and Ellen Samuels highlighted in their remarks at the “Disability Disclosure in/and Higher Education” conference (http://www.udel.edu/csd/conference/index.html) held at the University of Delaware in October, 2013, always intersects with other identity markers as well as with privilege, and the risk-taking that accompanies disclosure is not experienced equally or in the same ways by all.

In taking disability disclosure within higher education as a central point of departure, this collection will build on recent scholarship that highlights the deeply rhetorical nature of disability disclosure, as well as myriad metaphors for disclosure (passing, coming out, masquerade, covering, in/visible disability) while maintaining focus on disclosures as complex manifestations within particular social and institutional contexts. Within these contexts, how disability is read and interpreted depends heavily on the context, the types of interactions that are unfolding, interlocutors’ long- and short-term goals, the nature and experience of disability, and many other contingencies (see, e.g., Kerschbaum, 2014).

This collection thus seeks to explore the richness of disability disclosure. Building on and extending the work of the “Disability Disclosure in/and Higher Education” conference, this work will explore questions about disability disclosures in all corners of higher education, from a variety of theoretical, methodological, conceptual, and (multi)(inter)disciplinary perspectives. By providing wide-ranging explorations of disability disclosure, this collection will highlight how disability in higher education is not an issue relevant only to those who have disabilities, but one which has far-reaching consequences across higher education.

Organization of the book:

While the collection seeks to include essays submitted by conference presenters and attendees, it is not a conference proceedings—this collection specifically aims to include, but also move outside and critique the conference from new temporal and spatial vantage points that have opened up through the conference and beyond. Thus, the proposed volume will purposefully attend to gaps, absences, and omissions that were made apparent during and after the conference. These gaps include attention to and representation by scholars of color and the experience of faculty, students, and staff across diverse racial, economic, and social class experiences and dynamics, as well as deeper social-scientific exploration of sites, conceptions, and experiences of disability disclosure within higher education.

The book is tentatively divided into four key thematic sections, into which papers will be organized and presented:

1) Intersectionality

Essays in this section will focus on ways that disability identities intersect with, emerge within, and are influenced by myriad aspects of embodied presence and experience. How, and in what ways, does disability infuse the experiences of abled and disabled bodies alike? In what ways does disability converge with gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality, as well as other aspects of identity performance, to shape the way disabilities are disclosed in a variety of ways and within numerous contexts in higher education?

2) Institutional Change and Policy

This section will explore how attention to disability invites reconsideration of institutional environments and policies. What does—or would—it mean for higher education to truly, as Jay Dolmage (2008) has put it, “invite disability in the front door”? The essays in this section look at past and current practices as well as imagine future directions for disability in institutional policy. What policies are needed? How do past and present policies address disability? What kinds of minds and bodies are imagined and addressed within such policies? What does disability disclosure ask us to consider in light of such policies? How do various issues such as economic access to academia intersect with disability, disclosure, and higher education?

3) Representation

How are disabilities represented within institutions of higher education? How do representations of higher education—in popular media, literature, film, television, and advertising, among others—imagine disability? How do representations of disability intersect with race, gender, class, and other forms of identity? Given that these representations matter to the ways that disabilities are read and understood by those within higher education, and to the ways that various participants perform and enact disability, how do these different representations matter to experience(s) of and around disability in higher education?

4) Disability Identity

While disability studies has worked to affirm disability as a positive and important element of identity, it nevertheless remains important to carefully explore disability’s positive and negative valences, including pride and shame—both of which were recurring themes at the “Disability Disclosure” conference. Disability brings with it a complex web of interconnected and deeply-held, internalized, and institutionalized orientations to disability, and resisting ableism within identity remains deeply significant to disability studies today.

Submission Details:

We invite proposals for submissions to this collection. Proposals should include a title, contact information (including email, mailing address, and phone number, as well as your preferred means of contact) and a 500-word abstract. Proposers should also indicate which section of the collection their proposed essay might fit. Proposals are due via email to ConferenceCSD@gmail.com by 15th October 2014. Contributors will be notified by 1st December 2014 of the status of their proposal. Full essays will be due by 15th February 2014, and the editors will submit final revision suggestions and acceptances by 30th April 2015. Final revised submissions will be due by 1st June 2015. The editors welcome queries and questions.

CFP: Conceptualizing Disability as a Public Health Issue: Impairment, Enhancement and Emerging Biotechnologies

Brocher Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland
26th-28th January 2015

There is broad evidence indicating that the total number of persons experiencing disability has increased substantially in recent times. Emerging biotechnologies offer the possibility to affect and transform (and disrupt) many aspects of life of those labelled as having a disability. In recent decades, developments in prosthetics technology and other biotechnologies designed to restore ‘impaired’ physical functioning have raised pressing ethical, social and legal questions about the category of ‘disability’. In emerging fields such as biomechatronics—technology that combines human physiology with electromechanics—we see much more than the restoration of the body to some notion of ‘native’ or ‘normal’ functioning, but the concrete possibilities of super human enhancement.

As the possibilities for bodily ‘restoration,’ enhancement and augmentation arising from emerging biotechnologies, in the context of ‘correcting’ disability, become concrete realities, pressing questions emerge within public health policy, biomedicine and disability ethics. These questions concern both conceptual challenges in terms of delimiting concrete categories, with respect to parameters such as ‘treatment’, ‘enhancement’, ‘normal’, ‘disability’ and ‘impairment’, while also concerning practical matters for public health bodies regarding the allocation of resources, research and development of biotechnologies, the ‘ability rat race’ (raising the bar of what is considered ‘normal’ or ‘adequate’ functioning), issues around inclusion and exclusion with respect to treatment and services, and the extent to which restrictions on enhancement technologies are ethically defensible. Theoretically the possibilities for the development of disability-diminishing technologies are limitless but only a fraction of these may ever be developed. How is technology development prioritised – does it relate solely to profitability? Should prioritisation depend on the societal benefits that might be expected to deliver to those with the greatest need rather than on the fiscal gain? Should pubic policy have a role in determining which technologies are developed and made available?

We welcome proposals for papers that engage with these themes.

Please send an abstract (500 words) prepared for blind review by 19th August 2014 to Barry Lyons (Bioethics, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin) and Luna Dolezal (Dept of Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin).

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Illinois, Urbana

The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks to hire an Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Humanities for a two-year appointment commencing Fall 2015.

The Fellow will spend the two-year term in residence at Illinois, conduct research on the proposed project, and teach two courses per year in the appropriate academic department. The Fellow will participate in activities related to his or her research at the IPRH, in the teaching department, and on the Illinois campus. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will also give a public lecture on his or her research.

The search is open to scholars in all humanities disciplines, but we seek applicants whose work falls into one of the following broad subject areas:

  • Race and Diaspora Studies
  • History of Science/Technology
  • Empire and Colonial Studies
  • Memory Studies

The fellowship carries a $45,000 annual stipend, a $2,000 research account, and a comprehensive benefits package. To be eligible, applicants should have received their Ph.D. in a humanities discipline between January 1, 2012 and no later than May 31, 2015. Scholars who cannot legitimately anticipate the conferral of their degrees by May 31, 2015, should not apply. Only untenured scholars who have not held the title of “assistant professor” are eligible. PhDs are the only terminal degree accepted.

Application Deadline: 27th October 2014

Detailed eligibility requirements and application guidelines can be found at www.iprh.illinois.edu.

Applications must be submitted through the online application system. No paper or e-mailed applications (or letters of support) will be accepted. The submission period opens 1st September 2014. Please do not contact IPRH about the status of an application; we are unable to answer questions about individual applications.

For more information contact:

Nancy Castro, Associate Director
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


CFP: Negotiating Space for (Dis)Ability in Drama, Theatre, Film and Media Conference, University of Lodz, Poland

Department of Studies in Drama and Pre-1800 English Literature, Faculty of Philology, University of Lodz

25th-27th September 2015

The Department of Studies in Drama and Pre-1800 English Literature at the University of Lodz invites you to attend the 2015 biannual “Lodz Conference in Drama, Theatre, Film and Media,” which will focus on the theme of (dis)ability. The event is a continuation of the series of conferences organized under the title: “Drama through the Ages.”

The organizers wish to spark a debate about the representations of disability in theatre, drama, film and media with a view to promoting the development of disability studies in these fields. We are particularly interested in various representations of people with disabilities, approached both from the synchronic and diachronic perspectives, and in the changing definitions and perceptions of disability which inform these depictions. Developments in the scholarship of recent decades have introduced a distinction between impairment, defined solely in biological terms, and disability, understood as a cultural construct produced by economic, social and political factors that determine the experience of people with physical and mental impairments. While the social model has been used to challenge the assumptions behind the historically dominant medical definition of disability, both paradigms have their strengths and weaknesses, which we would like the conference to address. Such theoretical considerations provide fruitful ground for the investigation of the ways in which the cultures of various times and places have been participating in the transformations of the definition of disability, and have been stimulating or inhibiting the social visibility and empowerment of people with disabilities. Another aspect of these changes concerns the scope of medical conditions that have been placed under the label of disability. A close examination of the premises upon which such classifications have been made may lead to instructive conclusions concerning the values cherished by the society and the sources of social prejudice.

We also invite papers focusing on disability culture and the engagement of people with disabilities in drama, theatre, film and media. We wish to increase awareness of their works, which frequently offer novel points of view unavailable to able-bodied people. Since our objective is to approach the topic of the conference from various angles in order to open up new perspectives on disability and map out new challenges in this area, we encourage papers that offer a close analysis of specific works or/and engage in theoretical deliberations, including the possible intersections between disability studies and other disciplines and theories such as gender studies, postcolonialism or ecocriticism. The organizers welcome original papers in any area related to the domain of the conference, offering an academic or practical perspective on disability.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • the medical model of disability vs. social constructionism of disability (the performative aspects of disability, ableism, (un)Othering disability, defining normalcy, disability and the politics of visibility and empowerment, etc.)
  • disability and the taboo
  • disability as a metaphor
  • disability and the question of identity
  • disability and memory
  • disability and language
  • the visual rhetorics of disability
  • indigenous attitudes to disability
  • disability and sexuality
  • disability in the context of posthumanism, bioethics and human enhancement

The conference is held in English. Selected papers will be published in a collection of essays.

All abstracts (ca. 250-300 words) must contain the title, the name of the author and contact information (institutional affiliation, mailing address and email address). Abstracts and short bios should be submitted no later than 15th May 2015.

Conference fee: 500 PLN for academics holding positions at Polish Universities, 130 Euro for delegates based outside of Poland, and reduced fee of 300 PLN/75 Euro for doctoral students. The fee covers conference materials, coffee and lunches as well as partial costs of conference publication and a tour of the city of Lodz.

Please send abstract and queries to: lodz.conference@gmail.com

For updated information related to the conference see: lodzconference.wordpress.com

Organizing Committee:

  • Professor Jadwiga Uchman
  • Professor Andrzej Wicher
  • Dr Katarzyna Ojrzyńska
  • Maciej Wieczorek, M.A. 


CFP: Comics and Mental Health, Asylum magazine

A special themed edition of Asylum magazine

We invite 500-1000 word contributions that explore the intersections between mental health and other forms of identification and identity in comics, graphic novels and sequential art.

Submissions should be emailed by 31st September 2014 to the guest editors Meg John BarkerCaroline WaltersJoseph De Lappe. Please include a short biographical note (50 words). It would be great to include images from the comics under discussion but unfortunately we are unable to chase copyright for these ourselves, so please do include images if you can obtain copyright permission (or if images are from your own comics). Otherwise just point readers to where they can view the comics.

Comics, graphic novels and sequential art are currently receiving critical attention in academic disciplines while enjoying widespread acclaim through popular culture. Many of the most acclaimed comics, and related tie-ins, utilise themes and characters that directly or indirectly touch on mental health in ways that are potentially thoughtful, challenging and provocative but also manipulative, voyeuristic and stereotypical.  Key examples are the characters of Delirium and Despair in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, and the Joker in both Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy of films and in the Scott Snyder helmed Death of the Family story arc that recently ran across the Batman family of DC comics.

At the same time, the rise of media such as web comics, and alternatives to the classic comic genres which incorporate memoir, journalism and social history indicate the potential of comics, graphic novels and sequential art to portray lived experience in vivid tones. But does the representation of often deeply personal feelings, both painful and joyous, as expressed by individuals with their own experiences of mental health issues connect collectively? Can we identify shared themes and concerns in the work of comic artists who are concerned with, or, who have experience of mental health issues?

Submissions may address but are not limited to:

  •  Personal reflections on your own favourite comic depictions of mental health issues.
  •  Excerpts from your own comics dealing with mental health issues (1 side of A4 max).
  •  Reflections on how reading/writing comics has been part of your own experience of dealing with mental health issues.
  •  Descriptions of aspects of the history of mental health as depicted in comics.
  •  Consideration of the current role of web comics, for example in building communities, or increasing awareness of mental health issues.
  •  Explorations of the way therapy or asylums are depicted in comics.
  •  Discussion of comics which treat mental health (and the ‘mad’) as a metaphor for aspects of society to be critiqued.
  •  Reflections on comics which are not about mental health directly, but are concerned with relevant themes: alienation; difference; altered states; extremes of behaviour, breaking taboos, etc.
  •  Consideration of comics which positively explore and celebrate psychological/emotional difference and diversity.