Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Nordic networking

Our ESRC funding includes a budget for attending one international and two national conferences.   The goal is to make other researchers and policy-makers aware of our research, but also to get feedback which helps us make it stronger.  We dipped into that budget this May to send Tom Shakespeare to Bergen for the Nordic Network of Disability Research, a gathering of 360 people from 34 countries.   All the keynotes and abstracts can be found online

Several colleagues presented research with personal assistants and personal assistants users, including Karen Christensen (Bergen), who is an advisor to the PA Relationships study, and Steve Graby (Leeds) who is looking at the political economy of personal assistance.  In discussion with Finnish colleagues, we discovered how Tom's book Help (2000) had influenced how policy-makers discuss personal assistance in Finland, a lovely example of policy impact.

Our NNDR paper drew on preliminary findings about the emotional aspects of personal assistance, and about how 'emotional work' was required by both the disabled person and the worker, in order to maintain boundaries and negotiate relationships.  It was based on the paper we presented in Bristol, but has evolved further as we analysed our first batch of interview transcripts.   Now we hope to write it up for publication.  Below you can see Tom talking in the conference, and glimpse an overview of what he said.

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