Seminar 1, 22nd November, 2012
Intersections in time and space: new academic dialogues
This first seminar is entitled Intersections in time and space: new academic dialogues, and the intention is to set up a genuinely open-handed ‘conversation’ between specialists in different fields of learning disability inquiry (biomedicine, psychology, philosophy, history, human geography, sociology, etc.). The hope is to move swiftly beyond disciplinary ‘turf wars’, and also to get beyond the most stereotypical disagreements between, say, the more ‘scientific’ orientation and the more ‘cultural’, in order to explore what precisely are the lines of both divergence and convergence appearing in recent research and scholarship. To that end, we wish to adopt an expressly workshop feel to the event: asking a core of participants to prepare short statements which encapsulate the flavour of current studies, themes, findings, conclusions, speculations and problems from the research/scholarship frontier with which they are most associated. Participants may mention their own work in this respect, but the main intention will be to hear something more synoptic, horizon-scanning and, above all, accessible to other academics (who may well have very different points of departure and vocabularies for their own work). This is potentially quite a demanding brief, in part because of the need for brevity and concision/incision, but we hope that the results will be illuminating and insightful.
The idea is to have three core sessions, each with three speakers who will open the session with their statements, to be followed by dedicated discussion time (the time that is usually so compressed as to be almost now absent at many academic conferences). With a smallish group of circa nine speakers, plus the three organisers, alongside a number of other invited participants, the possibility will be for genuine ‘conversation’ to arise, with of course the opportunity for speakers to amplify on claims in their own statements. What we particularly hope to see occurring is people starting to detect lines of (maybe unexpected) convergence between their thoughts and those of others. We anticipate topping and tailing the three core sessions with an introduction by the organisers and a conclusion or, better, final summation with further opportunities to agree on major issues and concerns arising from what has gone before.
The intention is to create a audio-record of the whole event, possibly with some visual record, which will be edited and, it is hoped, made available on this site (a key objective of the seminar series being to create some on-line, possibly also social media, tools to enable the series to be ‘scaled up’ from the events themselves to reach a wider range of audiences).