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Beyond Accessibility: Navigating social connectedness, disability and social media

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The paper behind this seminar explores how crip bodies, chronically ill and disabled people, encounter social connectedness and navigate accessibility through social media and digital devices. Social media affords new modes of access for crip bodies, however, disability is still predominantly understood in terms of ‘deficit’ and abnormality. Innovations in social media and disability then, tend to focus on ‘disappearing’ bodily impairments in order to make a ‘normal’ life possible and approximate able-bodied experiences. This work builds on Gemma's doctoral research on belonging and online communities to argue that the broad arm of accessibility does not always produce social connectedness.

Gemma Killen is a writer, editor and academic. Her research focuses on the intersections of daily digital life, community and belonging. Her work draws on critical queer theory, feminist theory and crip theory to think through the relationships between social bodies, media and technology. Her writing has appeared in Australian Feminist Studies, Autostraddle, Feminartsy & The Big Issue and Growing Up Queer in Australia.

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