Conference Registration: ‘The Body and Pseudoscience in the Long Nineteenth Century’, Newcastle, 18 June 2016

Location: Newcastle University

Date: Sat 18th June 2016

‘Sciences we now retrospectively regard as heterodox or marginal cannot be considered unambiguously to have held that status at a time when no clear orthodoxy existed that could confer that status upon them’ (Alison Winter, 1997). The nineteenth century witnessed the drive to consolidate discrete scientific disciplines, many of which were concerned with the body. Attempts were made to clarify the boundaries between the ‘scientific’ and the ‘pseudoscientific’, between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’. This conference asks what became lost in separating the orthodox from the heterodox. What happened to the systems of knowledge and practice relating to the body that were marginalised as ‘pseudoscience’? Was knowledge and insight into the human condition lost in the process? Or is it immortalised within the literature of ‘pseudoscience’?

This interdisciplinary conference considers how different discourses of the body were imagined and articulated across a range of visual and verbal texts (including journalism, fiction, popular science writing, illustration) in order to evaluate how ‘pseudoscience’ contributed both to understandings of the body and what it is to be human and to the formation of those disciplines now deemed orthodox.

Registration is now open for this free interdisciplinary conference.

Please find additional details of how to register and to view the provisional programme.

CFP: Special issue of Disability and the Global South: ‘Intersecting Indigeneity, Colonisation and Disability’

Special issue of Disability and the Global South: Intersecting Indigeneity, Colonisation and Disability

Guest Editors: Karen Soldatic (The Critical Institute) and John Gilroy (University of Sydney)

Deadline for abstracts: 1st September 2016

There is growing global recognition of the role of disability in shaping the lives of Indigenous peoples and the significance of having an Indigenous cultural identity in shaping the lived experience of disabled people from Indigenous backgrounds. Recently, we have been witnessing a burgeoning public policy environment, transnationally and at the nation scale, that seeks to combine the intersecting features of Indigenous cultural identity with the lived experience of being disabled. For example, the 14th UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2015) featured heavily the impact of disability on the lives of Indigenous peoples including their ongoing ability to engage and perform customary practices, cultures and traditions. And the recent appointment of Aunty Gayle Rankine to the United Nations’ newly established international network of Indigenous peoples with disability is a testament to the growing international focus on the intersection of indigeneity and colonisation on the lived experience of disability.

This special issue seeks to open a space for critical debates and reflections on the issues and challenges of bringing together Indigeneity and disability as an intersecting identity. The overall aim is to question and challenge existing approaches to modern understandings of disability, how it is regulated, governed and experienced once the cultural identity of being Indigenous is positioned at the fore.

We are keen to bring together researchers, practitioners and activists, in particular those who are working at the edges of disability yet at the centre of Indigenous practice.  We hope to engage theoretical and empirical work situated within local knowledges, spaces and places. We encourage contributions exploring a range of themes including (not exclusively):

  • Experiences in engaging in/with Indigenous communities in relation to disability
  • Experiences of discussing and locating disability within an Indigenous standpoint
  • Ethical concerns and practices: modernity, medical science and Indigenous dispossession
  • Understanding, defining and conceptualising disability for research, policy and statistical purposes
  • The limitations of intersectional approaches for Indigenous/Disability praxis
  • Indigenous methodologies, standpoint and ethics in relation to disability policy and research
  • The white-settler enterprise and the Indigenous disability experience
  • Relationship between Indigenous Poverty, Dispossession, Alienation and Disability
  • Access to services and impact on Indigenous disabled people, including social, physical, emotional, psychological and/or spiritual well-being
  • Making research ‘productive’: from knowledge generation to local transformative action and practice

Those wishing to submit an article, please email an abstract to Karen Soldatic ( and John Gilroy ( Please insert ‘Submission for Intersecting Indigeneity and Disability Special Issue’ in the subject line.

Manuscripts will be sent anonymously for double peer review, and comments and recommendations relayed to authors through the editors.

Deadline for abstract submission: 1st September 2016. Full papers due by: 1st April 2017 for first round reviews.

Funded PhD Studentship, University of Glasgow: ‘Children with Learning Disabilities as Digital Audiences’

AHRC funded PhD studentship at the University of Glasgow in collaboration with BBC Scotland: “Children with Learning Disabilities as Digital Audiences”

Applications are invited for a full PhD studentship in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow to work in collaboration with the Children’s Department at BBC Scotland. The aim of the project is to explore the provision and design of digital media by the BBC for older children with learning disabilities. This exciting opportunity will require the researcher to divide his or her time between the University of Glasgow and the Children’s Department within BBC Scotland (situated in the Pacific Quay in Glasgow). The student will have unique access to the Children’s Department, working amongst BBC staff to capture a sense of the existing provision of digital content for children with learning disabilities and the ways in which BBC Scotland engage with this audience. The project will then continue through a small scale qualitative study that will capture how, why and when digital media is used, interpreted and enjoyed by members of this specific audience. The student will then return to the BBC with their research findings and work alongside colleagues to develop a ‘pitch’ for the design or redesign of digital content that will allow the BBC to respond directly to the needs and desires of their targeted audience.

The specific question this project poses is how we might re-imagine content for differently-abled audiences that is appropriate to both their cognitive abilities and their personal/social needs and desires.

A supervisory team from across both institutions will oversee this work and full research training (including audience research skills if required) will be offered. The team will include Dr. Amy Holdsworth and Professor Karen Lury from the University of Glasgow and Ms. Sara Harkins (Head of Children’s BBC Scotland) with relevant support from professional colleagues within BBC Scotland.

The studentship is funded for three years to commence in October 2016 and covers tuition fees at the Home/EU rate. Home students and EU students who have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the award will also receive a maintenance bursary (stipend) of approx. £14,296 for 16-17 plus an additional £550 travel allowance. In addition, the student is eligible to receive up to £1,000 a year from the BBC to support travel or other expenses directly related to the doctoral research, and will be given use of a desk and computer at the University of Glasgow and appropriate access and resources at the BBC. All AHRC Collaborative PhD students automatically become part of the UK-wide Collaborative Doctoral Partnership development scheme which will provide training in a range of skills needed for research within museums, archives, galleries and heritage organisations.

Informal enquiries are welcome. Please write to Dr. Amy Holdsworth ( ) in the first instance.

Candidates ideally should have:


  • A good 2.1 Honours (or B.A.) degree in a relevant Arts or Social Science discipline.
  • A Masters degree in a related discipline or appropriate professional experience within children’s media, digital media, audience development, working with children and young people with disabilities.
  • A good understanding of contemporary Children’s Television, digital media and issues and debates within disability studies
  • An interest in, or first-hand knowledge of, audience research.
  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate strong research capabilities and be fluent in spoken and written English.

Applications should include:

  • A statement of no more than 1,000 words indicating what skills and experience you have that will be relevant for the project. 
  • A current CV
  • Degree transcripts (this may be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
  • An example of writing – e.g. academic essay, professional report – up to 3000 words in length 
  • 2 academic/professional references (these may be sent directly from your referees if they would prefer)

Applications to be sent to (Research Administrator, School of Culture and Creative Arts, University of Glasgow) with the subject line BBC CDA.

Closing Date: Wednesday 15th June 2016

Interviewees will be notified by Thursday 23rd June and interviews will take place at the University of Glasgow on Friday 1st July 2016.

The Project:

Through initial audience development work, colleagues at BBC Scotland have already observed the ways in which digital content designed for a young (‘pre-school’) audience is being used by older children with learning disabilities. They have recognized that while these young people may have less sophisticated ‘operational’ abilities their desire and interest in age appropriate content is not necessarily affected. In simple terms, games or interactive challenges aimed at 4-7year olds may represent an appropriate operational challenge (how to work the game, how to move about and between different parts of the page) but are inappropriate in terms of content (older children and young people are more likely to respond positively to content such as WolfBlood rather than In the Night Garden or ‘Mr. Tumble’). The project will therefore focus on this particular issue and ask how we might re-imagine content for differently-abled audiences that is appropriate to their cognitive abilities and their personal/social needs and desires.

Aims and objectives:

The aims and objectives of this collaborative project are designed to both reflect upon and develop the BBC’s relationship with its differently abled child audience.


  • To explore the provision of content for children with learning disabilities: Initial stages of the research will explore the existing provision of digital content for children with learning disabilities and the ways in the children’s department at BBC Scotland engage with this audience (through audience development initiatives, for example). This initial ‘snapshot’ accompanied by critical investigation of academic literature on children, disability and media will form a building block for the student to design and implement a qualitative audience study.
  • To conduct a small-scale qualitative audience study of children with learning disabilities as digital audiences/users: Utilizing the appropriate methodologies (see below) the student will capture how, why and when digital media is used, interpreted and enjoyed by children with learning disabilities. This fieldwork will importantly also offer the child the opportunity to reflect upon and discuss their use of digital media (e.g. their preferences, desires, likes and dislikes).


  1. The student will disseminate research findings through traditional academic outputs and through partnership with the BBC: One of the principle objectives of the project is for the research to have an avenue of dissemination within the BBC to allow the institution to reflect upon and develop their own practices and forms of audience engagement. The links with BBC Scotland and its contacts present opportunities for the research to be accessed by other stakeholder communities and organisations (such as ‘for Scotland’s Disabled Children’ (fSDC)).
  1. To implement research findings through the production of a BBC ‘pitch’: Through the student’s involvement at BBC Scotland he or she will utilise their research on this specific child audience in the development, design or redesign of games, applications or website provision for this audience.