Disability studies that investigate complex and nuanced interrelations between disability and society, culture, history and technology is a well-established discipline in Western academia. In Eastern Europe researchers interested in critical investigation of disability outside the domains of medicine, rehabilitation, and pedagogy often work in isolation. The aim of the Disability Studies in Eastern Europe – Reconfigurations research platform is to create an inspiring, creative, and safe environment in which scholars, Ph.D. candidates and students will benefit from each other’s experience and research.
We will hold one seminar every two months (the first will be no later than two months after the project begins). The seminars will be conducted by our collaborators from Poland (5 persons) and abroad (5 persons); the latter group deal with different aspects of disability studies and are experts on Central and Eastern Europe. Each regular contributor to the platform will be responsible for the preparation of one seminar. For one of the seminars, we will invite a person from Theatre 21; this team consists of people with Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorders, and it conducts unique artistic, educational, research-related, scientific, and publishing activities in the field of disability studies in Poland. Five of the seminars will be led by members of the platform's organizing team. The topics of the seminars will be related to the research field of our invited collaborators, including:
- disability and culture, creators with disabilities;
- (in)accessibility of culture and (artistic) education;
- disability history and heritage in Eastern Europe.
Each seminar will consist of a lecture (sometimes combined with a presentation of an artistic work, such as a film or a performance recording) and a discussion/workshop. Some of the seminars will be conducted in a ‘work in progress’ format, consisting of consultation, and support for team members’ preparation of publications or grant applications.
Depending on COVID-19 regulations, we are planning 8 online, and 8 offline/hybrid seminars. Researchers in disability studies, doctoral students, undergraduate and graduate students (including people taking courses taught by the platform's contributors) will be invited to each seminar. The platform will planned to gather a group of about 20–30 researchers.
We will hold two lectures: one in each year of the project. We will invite experts on inclusion policies and internationally renowned researchers (including Robert McRuer from George Washington University) to give lectures.
The two-year activity of the platform will culminate in a symposium at which members of the organizational team, the collaborators, and those participating in seminars (about 40 persons in total) will propose topics for discussion in the form of a paper - a draft version of an academic text. Such a formula will enable the exchange of knowledge, experience, and competence among the wide circle of people involved in disability studies in Central and Eastern Europe; it will strengthen mutual scientific relations; it will also provide an opportunity to gather materials for another joint publishing project that will fall outside the framework of the platform.
Virtual archive of the project
All these events will be recorded and posted on the platform's website, together with materials and information about planned activities to help prepare for future seminars.
This research was funded by the Priority Research Area Heritage under the program Excellence Initiative – Research University at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.