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Disability and migration – living on the periphery of society?

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Manchester Metropolitan University

Room: BR 2.18

Brooks building

Manchester

M15 6GX

United Kingdom

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In the context of a rise in neopopulism, from Brexit to Trump, people on the move and those labelled disabled are facing increased hostility and uncertainty. This event will bring together activists, academics and members of the public to consider how disability and migration activism and scholarship intersect to inform policy making in a time of austerity.


Talk 1: Precarious Lives: people with learning disabilities in a time of austerity

Reporting on findings from the ESRC funded research project "Big Society? Disabled people with learning disabilities and civil society", this talk explores uncertainty in the lives of people with learning disabilities at a time of cuts to public services.​

Bio: Katherine Runswick-Cole is Professor of Critical Disability Studies & Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Katherine locates her work in critical disability studies and has published extensively in the area. She tweets @k_runswick_cole


Talk 2: Disability activism: the fight for human rights, dignity and respect

The aim of my talk will be to give my personal reflections on the fight for human rights and dignity of disabled people in the light of the recent UN report. The UK government has systematically violated the rights of disabled people with reference to equality and human rights commission report on disability in the United Kingdom today.

Bio: Richard Currie is a disability rights activist/researcher/PhD student based in Manchester. A member of the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People – an organisation by disabled people for disabled people that advocates the social model of disability namely that disability is caused not by an individual’s long-term health condition or impairment but by the way in which society is organised economically, politically and socially. Richard is a trustee at the Manchester Disabled People's Access Group that seeks to improve access for disabled people in the built environment throughout the greater Manchester area. Richard is also a trustee of Breakthrough UK, a disabled people's organisation which seeks to improve disabled people's employment prospects by working with employers to overcome the barriers disabled people face around employment and independent living. Richard recently started a PhD in Disability and Citizenship at Manchester Metropolitan University. Prior to this as well as a disability rights activist I worked as a researcher for the McPin Foundation, a mental health charity that seeks to use the insights and knowledge of those with lived experience to conduct research and share findings. Richard can be found on Twitter: @currie81


Talk 3: Diminished citizenship? Exploring the impact of welfare conditionality on migrants and disabled people

Recent and on-going welfare reforms have seen the introduction of a raft of measures impacting on those claiming social security benefits. Research is raising a number of concerns around the impacts of such reforms, particularly in relation to the enhanced conditionality and sanctions regime. Drawing on the findings of on-going ground breaking research involving longitudinal interviews with people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Universal Credit (UC) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA), this presentation will provide insights into migrants and disabled people’s experiences of the conditional benefits system. It will highlight the difficulties faced by some claimants in meeting the conditions of their claims and the sometimes counter-productive nature of conditional welfare. However, it will also explore how these two different groups of claimants are experiencing a similar erosion of their rights, within this increasingly restrictive welfare regime.

Bio: Dr Lisa Scullion (Reader in Social Policy & Associate Director, Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU), University of Salford: Over the last 11 years at the University of Salford, Lisa has led and delivered research and evaluation projects assessing the needs and experiences of a range of socially excluded/vulnerable communities. This includes a portfolio of projects assessing the needs of Black and Minority Ethnic communities (e.g. Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, Central and Eastern European migrants, asylum seekers and refugees), homeless people and those experiencing welfare interventions. She leads SHUSUs dedicated Work and Welfare research group, which includes leading the University of Salford’s involvement in a five year ESRC funded project focusing on welfare conditionality. Lisa is currently leading an Evaluation of the Livelihoods Training Project for Oxfam and the DWP as well as leading a two year project funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) focusing the experiences of Armed Forces Service leavers within the mainstream social security system. Lisa leads the Salford Anti-Poverty Taskforce, a research and knowledge exchange collaboration with Salford City Council. Through this Taskforce she is delivering a number of projects to support Salford’s Anti-Poverty Strategy including projects focusing on poverty in the private rented sector and the impact of the benefit cap. Lisa is also a member of the Greater Manchester Poverty Action Group and the Salford Sanctions and Conditionality Task Force.


Talk 4: Disability and migration – living on the periphery of society?

The focus of this talk is to consider how disability studies and migration studies may be brought into further conversation with one another. Often, disability studies ignore the experiences of people who migrate, while migration studies frequently exclude disabled people. This is a surprising omission from both fields of study given that many disabled people are migrants. By considering disability studies and migration studies together our aim is not simply to focus on the similarities and differences between people who identify as disabled and/or migrants. Instead, we are interested in how the two areas of study can mutually inform understandings of the social construction of the categories of ‘migrant’ and ‘disabled person’ as well as what insights this may bring for understanding the lived experiences of some of the most marginalised people.

Bio: Dr Eva Duda-Mikulin is a Senior Research Associate at the Research Centre for Social Change: Community Wellbeing, Manchester Metropolitan University. Eva has extensive experience of working in social policy research and the voluntary and community sector with marginalized communities, including various groups of migrants and asylum seekers and refugees. Eva tweets from @DrEvaDuMik


Poem: Hello from the other side

Bio: Fereshteh Mozaffari is a writer and theatre maker based in Manchester. She is a volunteer with the British Red Cross and Rainbow Heaven and she has been supporting refugees and asylum seekers since 2011. Fereshteh worked as a journalist in Iran for many years, and she came to the UK in 2010.

There will also be some live music.


As a humanitarian issue, this event is relevant to those working in the field of disability studies and migration studies, activism and policy as well as to students and members of the general public interested in equality and diversity.


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The building is accessible and wheelchair friendly.

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Date and Time

Location

Manchester Metropolitan University

Room: BR 2.18

Brooks building

Manchester

M15 6GX

United Kingdom

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