Launch Event

Questions in Queer Disability Studies

The Queer Disability Studies network aims to provide a space for people whose experiences, research, or activism cut across categories of trans, queer, and disability issues. It provides a creative space for people whose work (in or outside or academia) fits in these areas but who may feel less at home or secure in established Trans, Queer or Disability Studies spaces. This network is explicitly trans-inclusive, and is committed to exploring the intersections of trans/queer and disability issues without resorting to pathologising language or constructing fears about vulnerability. 

The network is in its very early stages, and we hope it will grow and develop in ways that we haven’t yet imagined. At this stage, however, the network has three aims. It will: 

  1. Provide a space for collaboration and feedback between queer disability studies academics and activists, 
  2. Allow for the generation of trans/queer affirmative ideas that can inform disability studies theory and practice, and 
  3. Support opposition to trans exclusionary ideas, within our institutions and more widely.

For more detail on the network’s aims, see the website’s Aims page.

To launch the Queer Disability Studies (QDS) Network, we are very pleased to announce a month-long online event throughout October 2021. We hope this launch month will be a way for us all to collectively shape the work of the network, to learn more about each other and the exciting work already being done in this field globally, and to re-imagine the direction and purpose of QDS as an interdisciplinary field and community.

Questions you may want to consider or respond to, include:

  1. How would you want Queer Disability Studies (QDS) to look as field, and what would you like it to do? What new and creative spaces do we need to build within QDS for dialogue, support, and community, as well as for resistance and critique? How does this fit with the work that you’re doing now?
  2. Does existing literature across Queer, Trans, and Disability Studies adequately respond to the intersections, interchange, and potential alliances between these areas (and communities), and how might this work be developed in the future?
  3. Who is acknowledged and listened to, who gets spoken for or over, and whose language is protected and promoted in Queer, Trans and Disability Studies? And how can we work towards correcting or remodelling this?
  4. What new or transformative ways of re-thinking academic conventions (such as public speaking, conference organisation, and journal publications) are needed to make our ways of working, organising, or thinking more accessible and equitable? 
  5. Does QDS help us to think in different – perhaps more radical or disruptive – ways about accessibility? Has the pandemic had any impact on our approaches to this?
  6. Why is accessibility important to working within Queer, Trans and Disability Studies, and are there any access needs that we need to be especially attentive to, which address the intersections of the lives of queer, trans and disabled people?
  7. Does QDS provide us with any tools or strategies to think differently about managing ableism, transphobia, biphobia, homophobia, and other intersecting forms of oppression such as intersexphobia, racism, sexism, faphobia or class inequality, particularly in academic contexts? How might our work in QDS help us to respond to current – often individualising – approaches taken by academic institutions, such as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives, unconscious bias training and equality protocols?
  8. Why is it important to make connections between activism, practice, and academia within QDS? How can we do this in ways which are collaborative, non-exploitative, productive, and meaningful?
  9. Why are citational practices important, and how might we manage the ethics of citing authors and/or journals with views or politics that are diametrically opposed to our own?
  10. What have we overlooked in the questions that we’ve asked above? We write these questions from our positions as social scientists in the UK – what difference does positionality, geography and/or disciplinary context make to the requirements from such a network? How might the questions and the network be approached or imagined differently?

We welcome contributions in a range of formats, including longer written contributions between 800-1500 words in total, and videos between 3-5 minutes in length, as well as other creative formats such as poetry, short stories, or artistic visions. We’re open to different ideas and experimental formats. Please consider ways of making your final contributions accessible to a wide audience (e.g. captioning videos and images, providing a script of audio, audio-recording written text). If you have questions or concerns about content, format, accessibility or anything else, you are welcome to get in touch for a conversation, prior to submission.

Contributions will be shared on our blog post at intervals throughout the month of October. The event itself and all contributions we share will be asynchronous (i.e. none of us will need to be online at the same time to participate), so you can engage with the work at your own pace and at a time that suits you. However, the blog post comments sections will be open for responses and discussion (after admin approval), and we will be encouraging the use of Twitter and a private platform for contributors only. 

We will facilitate anonymous contributions if this is your preference. We will be in touch with information about safety before the event, and we welcome questions or comments about this by email if you have any concerns. Please feel free to contact any of the current network administers using the contact details provided here.

Pitch your idea

To contribute to our launch event, please send an informal proposal of up to 200 words, using our submission form by 24th May 2021. Please also provide a short bio (up to 150 words). We are also asking for some brief information about how you intend to make your contribution accessible. We’ll get back to you with feedback in July before asking you to submit your final contribution.

We have ten £50 QDS Network Awards to give to successful contributors who currently receive a low or no income/stipend, are unemployed, or are in precarious employment. This is to recognise the value of contributions from early-career researchers, PhD students, activists and others on low/no income. If we receive more than ten applications for these awards, original and insightful proposals which best fit the aims of the event will be prioritised. 

Key dates
Proposal deadline – 24th May 2021
Notification emails – 1st July 2021
Final submission of contributions – 1st September 2021
Questions in Queer Disability Studies Month – Throughout October 2021

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