Rethinking Disability on Screen

Thursday 14 May 2015, 9.00AM

A One-Day Interdisciplinary Symposium


Twitter: @rdos2015

We are delighted to announce the schedule for the ‘Rethinking Disability on Screen’ symposium, reflecting the diversity and internationalism of research undertaken across a range of topics within this area.

Registration is now open. The event is free to attend but places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, please email with the subject line ‘Registration’, including details of any dietary requirements and/or disability provision requests.

An accompanying film screening event, titled “Health, Mind and Body: Three New Short Films”, will take place at 6pm on 26th March, 2015 at City Screen Picturehouse York. 

9-9.25am Registration and Refreshments (HRC Foyer)

9.25-9.30am Welcome and Introduction (Bowland Auditorium)

9.30-11am Parallel Session 1a (Bowland Auditorium)

Disability and Filmmaking: Industry Perspectives

Dr. Tony Steyger (Southampton Solent University), ‘Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom: Channel 4’s Early Programmes on Disability’

Len Collin (Northumbria University), ‘Making Drama out of a Crisis: Working on Film with Actors who have Intellectual Disability’

Professor Graham Roberts and Dr. Stephen Hay (University of Leeds), ‘Megan Parks – Lucy: Working with a Performer with Multiple and Complex Disabilities in Film Drama Production’

9.30-11am Parallel Session 1b (BS/008)

New Disability Film Histories

Dr. Mike Mantin (Swansea University), ‘They Live Again: Disability, Coalmining and Rehabilitation in 1940s Documentary Films’

Dr. Magdalena Zdrodowska (Jagiellonian University, Krakow), ‘Silent Moving Pictures Made by the Deaf’

Haley Gienow-McConnell (York University, Canada), ‘Representations of Historical Disability on The Waltons, 1936-1945, 1972-1981’

11-11.30am Tea/Coffee Break

Parallel Session 2a (Bowland Auditorium)

Global Revisions

Professor Emily O’Dell (American University of Beirut), ‘From Leprosy to The Willow Tree: Decoding Disability & Islamic Spirituality in Iranian Film’

Dr. Ken Lipenga Jr. (University of Malawi), ‘Disability and Colonialism in African Filmmaking: Sembène Ousmane’s Camp de Thiaroye’

Dr. Mirna Šolić (University of Glasgow), ‘Arriving into Normality: Representations of Disability in Post-1989 Czech Cinema’

Dr. James McGrath (Leeds Beckett University), ‘The Bridge and the Naming of Autism’

11.30am-1pm Parallel Session 2b (BS/008)

Disability and Documentary

Dr. Sarah Olive (University of York), ‘Growing Up Downs’ Shakespeare’

Dr. Catalin Brylla (University of South Wales), ‘Focusing on the Ordinary: Alternative Visions of Disability’

Shweta Ghosh (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai), ‘Gender, Physical Disability and Bollywood: A Filmmaker’s Perspective’

1-2pm Lunch

Optional Screenings (beginning 1.10pm) BS/007

Paralympics 84 (35 minutes) dir. Tony Steyger (An Interface/RPM Production for Channel 4, 1984)

An inside look at disabled athletes from around the world competing in events including the Marathon, Weightlifting, Basketball and Athletics. In 1984, the Seventh World Wheelchair Games were held in Stoke Mandeville, some 7000 miles distant from the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Competitors came from all over the world and this sports documentary was commissioned by Channel 4 and made by Interface Productions, a company staffed almost exclusively by disabled programme makers. This was the last time the Paralympics was held separately to the Olympic Games.

Disability Rocks (12 mins) dir. Graham Roberts (Trinityvision in association with Disability Rocks)

Disability Rocks is a not-for-profit organisation established in early 2012 to develop new and innovative ways to help people living with disabilities have positive experiences of music and arts. It recognizes the hugely positive impact of live music and arts activities and involvement on people’s lives. This films documents how the band which emerged from the Disability School of Music (from Bradford) stormed the Disability Rocks Festival in Ilkley, Yorkshire, 2014.

2-3pm Keynote Lecture: Professor Stuart Murray, University of Leeds 

(Bowland Auditorium)

3-3.15pm Short Break

3.15-4pm Parallel Session 3a (Bowland Auditorium)

New Media

Slava Greenberg (Tel Aviv University), ‘More Than Meets the Eye: The Spectatorship of Short Avant-Garde Animations about Vision Disabilities’

Hannah Ebben (Radboud University in Nijmegen), ‘Traversing the Empty Fortress: The Possibility of Counter-Metaphors in  Representations of Space in Filmic Personal Accounts on Autism’

Dr. Aine Mangaoang (University College, Cork), ‘Rethinking Deaf Ears: Sign Language Music Video, Digital Media, and Deaf Culture’

Dr. Diane Carr (Institute of Education, University of London), ‘Abject Bodies, Agency and Able-bodied Masculinity in Horror Games’

3.15-4pm Parallel Session 3b (BS/008)

Generic Revisions: Melodrama, Comedy, Bollywood, Reality TV

Dr. Hannah Tweed (University of Glasgow), ‘Autism, Film and Melodrama’

Dr. Alison Wilde (Leeds Beckett University), ‘Disability, Impairment and the Film Comedy Genre’

Dr. Varsha Panjwani (Fordham University and Boston University, London), ‘Disability on Twenty-First Century Bollywood Screens’

Susan Vertoont (Ghent University, Belgium), ‘Would You Date ‘The Undateables’?: An Analysis of The Undateables’s Television Text, Context and Mediated Audience Reception.

4.45-5pm Short Break

5-6.15pm Plenary and Open Discussion: Justin Edgar/Alex Usborne, 104 Films

6.15pm Wine Reception (HRC Foyer)

7.15pm Conference Dinner, Ask Italian (Blake Street, York)



Location: Berrick Saul Building, University of York