Dr Kirsty Liddiard, Research Fellow in the School of Education and in the Institute for the Study of the Human (iHuman), is currently working as an academic consultant with Touretteshero Directors Jess Thom, Touretteshero’s alter ego, Matthew Pountney, and Will Renel as part of their Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship.

Touretteshero is an organisation that raises awareness of the challenges people with Tourette’s face, and embraces humour and creativity in its approach in order to take ownership of the laughter that’s often associated with the condition – to provide a genuinely funny cultural alternative. You can read more about Touretteshero’s work here. Touretteshero have performed at Glastonbury, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, DaDaFest in Liverpool and the Unlimited Festival at London’s Southbank Centre. Touretteshero’s critically acclaimed show, Backstage in Biscuit Land has been on an extensive UK tour as well as to Europe, North America, and Australia.

Last year Thom and Pountney were awarded a three-year Wellcome Trust Fellowship to explore the topic of disability. As part of this, they identified Dr Liddiard as a key collaborator to guide them through current theoretical and political understandings of how disability is conceptualised by society.

Touretteshero’s accessible, yet radical proposition informs and underpins its philosophical, artistic and practical approach to our endeavours in its Engagement Fellowship. For Liddiard and Touretteshero, a key aim of the Fellowship is to make cutting edge, creative and innovative contributions towards thinking about disability and its many intersections, at the same time as engaging varied audiences both inside and outside of the Academy.

Dr Liddiard will also support the pair to access new understandings of research methodologies and connect them to the current intellectual, political and transdisciplinary debates around disability, culture and humanness.

Dr Liddiard said: “The power and radicality of Touretteshero’s work comes in its bringing together of disability politics, creativity and disability culture. Touretteshero offers an important “way in” for people to understand disability in new, affirmative and artistic ways – I’m really excited by the possibilities of our collaboration”.