‘The Hardest Hit’: Disability research and welfare reform — an early career/postgraduate policy symposium (CfP, Conference, Leeds, 20 September 2012)

Final Call for Abstracts

Thursday 20th September 2012, University of Leeds
Keynote speaker: Prof Paul Gregg, University of Bath
An event supported by the Social Policy Association

Among the many groups affected by UK welfare reform and benefit cuts, sick and disabled people can arguably lay claim to being ‘the hardest hit’.  Specific policies (including the introduction of Employment and Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, the Work Programme and Universal Credit), the narrative about supporting only the ‘genuinely disabled’, and wider austerity measures will all have major impacts on the lives of disabled people.  Against this context, it is critically important to engage with empirical research that helps explore the likely consequences of this ongoing reform programme.

This SPA-sponsored symposium therefore aims to:

1.  bring together early career and postgraduate researchers working in these areas to present their latest findings;
2.  support early career / postgraduate researchers in connecting their findings to policy, whether through specific practical recommendations or wider ideas about the scope and purpose of our welfare system.

Presenters will receive feedback and comments from invited critical friends – Colin Lindsay (Strathclyde), Roy Sainsbury (York), Alison Sheldon (Leeds). The day will close with a roundtable discussion focussed on how best to feed empirical research findings into policy debates, with the opportunity to explore possibilities for further collaboration between presenters after the event itself.

Abstracts of 200-300 words should be submitted to Ben Baumberg by 6th July 2012, relating to any aspect of disability and welfare reform. We would encourage potential presenters to explore the policy implications of the research to be presented.

Registration is also open for the conference via the University of Leeds website. Registration fees are £20 (including lunch), or £10 for postgraduates (scroll down to choose the appropriate option on the website).  Some registration fee waivers and a smaller number of travel bursaries are available on a first-come first-served basis – please email Ben Baumberg to apply, or for any other queries.  Funds for this conference were kindly provided by the Social Policy Association.

Ben Baumberg (Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy, University of Kent),
Ruth Patrick (PhD Student in Social Policy, University of Leeds)

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