D4D – July event, Bristol

‘Co-creating Cities and Communities’ event – we’ve had a proposal accepted for the Summer Forum in Bristol (12-13 July). More information is at the AHRC Connected Community website, Link.

D4D Part 1. Best Laid Plans: Connection, Visibility and Loss on the D4D Project.
D.Carr, E.Fox, A.Sutherland and M Levinson
Panel Format: 4 connecting short talks

During the development of the D4D project’s design we did not discuss cities at length. Yet we frequently relied on architectural analogies. Building a framework that would support shifting relationships, connections and collaboration, we spoke of streams, bridges, threads and pods. In retrospect, these analogies recall de Certeau’s work on cities. Especially the gulf that he describes between the city as dream or blueprint, and the chaotic, messy, ephemeral, everyday complexities of the city as it is actually lived (de Certeau, 1984).

At the beginning of 2017 we lost a key member of our team, Sue Porter. By that stage most of D4D’s team of academics and artists had worked together for more than 2 years. For this panel, members of the team will reflect the impact of this loss in light of the conference’s themes of the unheard and the invisible, and consider the implications for reflexive research practice and embodied knowledge. These issues are central to D4D, not least because people with experience of disability have had few opportunities to design research about disability, and a long history of being positioned as “the objects of an inexhaustible research machine […] that wantonly uses up their bodies, their energies, and their time” (Snyder and Mitchell, 2006 p 187).

In part one, we describe D4D’s design and draw on de Certeau’s descriptions of plans v. practice, and Law’s (2006) account of mess in social research, to raise questions about reflexivity and forms of ‘making visible’. (Carr). We describe recent work to adapt the project design in order for it to remain coherent in the face of loss (Levinson and Fox). We share an example of the work emerging from D4D, including a reading from “‘Thalidomide Acts’: Transcription poems from the words of Mat Fraser’” (Sutherland), part of the work for the ‘Electric Bodies’ strand of D4D. Finally, we will share aspects of the work that is still to come, with a particular focus on the themes of lost possible futures. This element of the research focuses on ‘new’ eugenics and science fictions, exploring the implications for disability in relation to community, population and governance (Fox and Carr).

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