"For many young people social networks such as Facebook are an essential part of their student experience. Other web-based, interactive services like Wikipedia and YouTube are also an important facet of everyday student life. New technologies have always been scrutinized for their capacity to support education and, as social technologies become more pervasive, universities are under increasing pressure to appropriate them for teaching and learning. However, the educational impact of applying these Web 2.0 technologies is uncertain.
Using a Foucauldian perspective, my qualitative study explores the networked experiences of disabled students to examine how dis/ability difference is ascribed and negotiated within social networks. Data comprises 34 internet-enabled interviews with 18 participants from three English universities. Interviews incorporate the internet to expand opportunities for discussion, observation and analysis. Mobile broadband, a remote desktop viewer and screen capture have been flexibly applied together to ensure an accessible interview situation and recognise students' preferences and circumstances. Data is analysed using discourse analysis, with an attention to context framed by activity theory.
Disabled students' networked experiences are found to be complex and diverse. For a proportion, the network shifts the boundaries of disability, creating non-disabled subjectivities. For these students, the network represents the opportunity to mobilise new ways of being, building social capital and mitigating impairment.
Other participants experience the network as punitive and disabling. Disability is socio-technically ascribed by the social networking site and the networked public. Each inducts norms that constitute disability as a visible, deviant and deficit identity. In the highly normative conditions of the network, where every action is open to scrutiny, impairment is subjected to an unequal gaze that produces disabled subjectivities. For some students with unseen impairments, a social experience of disability is inducted for the first time.
As a result, students deploy diverse strategies to retain control and resist deviant status. Self-surveillance, self-discipline and self-advocacy are evoked, each involving numerous social, cognitive and technological tactics for self-determination, including disconnection. I conclude that networks function both as Technologies of the Self and as Technologies of Power. For some disabled students, the network supports 'normal' status. For others, it must be resisted as a form of social domination.
Importantly, in each instance, the network propels students towards disciplinary techniques that mask diversity, rendering disability and the possibility of disability invisible. Consequently, disability is both produced and suppressed by the network."
(Sarah Lewthwaite, Slewth Press)
"Horizon will undertake a series of complementary experience projects to envision, create, deploy and study radical new services. Each experience project will involve a multidisciplinary team of technologists, human-scientists, domain experts and innovation facilitators working with users to explore technology, human and business issues in the real world.
The experience projects will include: Creative Visiting; The Connected Journey; Exposing the Footprint
The experience projects will bring into focus the fundamental principles of the underlying technologies, methods and theoretical understandings required to elaborate future services and develop sustainable systems for a digital economy.
Horizon will undertake research in the cross-cutting challenges underlying the digital economy – these will include: The Innovation Challenge; The Human Challenge; The Infrastructural Challenge."
(Horizon Research Institute)
Fig.1 Ben Bedwell VIPR2009 [http://www.flickr.com/photos/vipr2009/4405438963/sizes/l/in/photostream/]
[The Horizon Digital Economy Research is based at the University of Nottingham, UK]
"Connected Histories brings together a range of digital resources related to early modern and nineteenth century Britain with a single federated search that allows sophisticated searching of names, places and dates, as well as the ability to save, connect and share resources within a personal workspace."
(University of Hertfordshire, University of London, University of Sheffield, 2011)
Fig.1 "The photograph shows the beach at Cromer in Norfolk, which features in Emma (1816) as 'The best of all the sea-bathing places'. A small fishing village then, noted for its crabs, by 1887 the railway had arrived. The pier (which still stands) was built in 1901." Martin (Manuscripts Cataloguer), Caird Library
"Territorial Play aims to illustrate, annotate and animate discourse around the current trend towards a 'mobilised city'. With the emergence of location aware mobile devices and near ubiquitous access to electronic networks in urban and rural areas, a new city is emerging beneath our feet.
This dynamic 'hybrid-city' is a city in flux, where ideas of authorship and ownership are left at the door. It is information-rich and increasingly populated by not just local inhabitants but visitors from other communities. What are the cultural implications of this emergent public domain and what possibilities do the architecture and protocol of networked space present to affect change in real space?
We are inviting artists, performers, visualists, filmmakers, designers, game-players, writers and others to stake claims, occupy space, command territory, re-imagine the public domain, uncover hidden spaces and return to our day jobs the next day leaving no trace.
The event will take place over one day, using Nottingham's Digital Media Centre Broadway as the base of operations however we welcome submissions that engage with the public and spaces in and around the city."
[Call for Artists: Platform Event 'Territorial Play' Part of the Tracing Mobility Programme Event scheduled: Friday 14 May 2010 (Nottingham,UK) Deadline for submissions: Monday 12 April 2010 Trampoline is inviting submissions for the platform event, Territorial Play, part of Radiator Festival's forthcoming project Tracing Mobility, a pan-European programme launching in Nottingham mid May 2010 and travelling to Warsaw (June/July 2010), Amsterdam (2011) and Berlin (2011).]
"The Russell Group represents the 20 leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector."
[In the UK the Russell Group represent the traditional and 'red brick' universities and the 'Million+ group' represents the new or 'Plate Glass' universities.There is a similar equivalence in Australia between the more traditional 'sandstone universities' and the 'new' or 'Post-1992 universities'.]