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Cluster of short stories and vignettes exploring caring, disability and chronic illness

Research output: Other contribution

Published
Publication date1/12/2020
Descriptioncluster of short stories
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

A cluster of stories about caring, disability and illness This cluster of stories emerges out of a research interest in care and caring as a form of invisible or unrecognized labour. My work explores the complexity of familial relationships involved in caring roles. Grounded in the social model of disability, in which current research has researched into how narratives about caring that foreground caring as a burden and only celebrate carers’ abilities to cope with this burden can end up reinforcing the trope of disability as tragedy.* Instead, my stories explore the complexity of caring roles, the interdependency and value that can be had in small moments of humour, love and connection, as well as investigating the difficult emotions involved in care, and the ways in which caring relationships can become damaging. They will also highlight the (usually unpaid) labour involved, aware of how recent austerity cuts in the UK and beyond have had a dramatic impact on both carers’ and disabled people’s lives. Writing from a number of perspectives, these stories attempt to not ‘other’ those who are cared for and include stories written from the viewpoints of the person with a disability or chronic illness, and allow space for the sometimes unspeakable moments involved. While two stories about mother and daughter relationships are included here, the entire cluster for REF will consist of stories which also explore other perspectives and viewpoints. This shouldn’t be considered a full REF submission. One of the stories is not directly about caring but is included here because it explores grief after a mother in a difficult mother/daughter relationship dies. The story is a response to both a piece of art, ‘The End’ by Nicolas Ruston, and a piece of music, ‘Chaconne in G Minor’. It highlights some of the challenges and dynamics I’m writing about are not exclusive to caring relationships. ‘She’s Lost Control’ was written as a response to the song by the same title from Joy Division’s album, Unknown Pleasures. *‘Replacing Tales of Burden with Tales in Interdependency’, Janice McLaughlin, Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies (London: Routledge, 2012), p.402.

This cluster comprises of four individual 'research as practice' outputs:
'Because There Are No Deaf Disney Princesses' - individual short story
'So That's the Tale' - connected vignettes
'Chaconne in G Minor' - individual short story
'She's Lost Control.' - individual short story