On Wednesday 13th June, Dr Kirsty Liddiard, from the School of Education and Institute for the Study of the Human (iHuman) was invited to speak to the European Children’s Rights Unit at the Liverpool Law School, University of Liverpool.
Dr Liddiard spoke about her research on the intimate lives of disabled people, and more specifically, the ways in which online spaces, cultures and worlds can serves as sites of access to love, sex and intimacy for disabled young people. Dr Liddiard also shared the ways in which her current ESRC arts-informed co-produced project, Life, Death, Disability and the Human: Living Life to the Fullest is centring online methods of inquiry and virtual research leadership in ways that are enabling young disabled people with shorter lives to co-lead research that is about their lives and futures.
Using stories from her new book, The Intimate Lives of Disabled People (2018, Routledge), Dr Liddiard emphasised online and virtual worlds as potential accessible spaces that offer opportunities to build identity, and access community and emerging forms of cyber-citizenship. Her contributions asked vital questions of future inquiry on the intersections of disability, children’s and young people’s rights, and their sexual and intimate citizenship. For example, how can online spaces, cultures and worlds open up more radical or emancipatory forms of sexual citizenship and selfhood for young disabled people, and how might we support young people to access these?
Attendees included academics and researchers, education professionals from mainstream and SEND schools, representatives from Brook and other sex, youth and disability organisations, and community members and activists. The aim now is to further build the critical dialogues that emerged into planning for future research – so watch this space!