Twitter is the most amazing way to get in touch with interesting people! Not least have I noticed that many aphasia researchers are on Twitter – so I made a list of organisations and researchers tweeting about aphasia!
The list is public for anyone to follow. At twitter.com/heltunik/lists/afasi you find the tweets posted by the listed accounts, and at twitter.com/heltunik/lists/afasi/members you find the members of the list. Please, let me know if you think I should add anyone else!
Have you ever given any thought to the matter of how bodies are represented in the (traditional or digital) media? Feminine bodies or masculine? And what about bodies different from the contemporary norms of appearence and function? These issues were the topic of the Different Bodies conference at the University of Westminster in London, which I attended on Midsummer’s Eve.
No less than 17 presenters contributed, raising questions about the ”superhuman” narrative of the Paralympics athletes, the reclaiming of agency, power and beauty by amputated women such as Viktoria Modesta (go ahead and google her!), the violent masculine wrestler as a modern day Wound Man (yes, google him too!), parallels between Nietzsche and the social model of disability, the selfie practices of girls with disabilities (note to self: I have to look into the concept of ”neoliberal inclusionism”) and much more. What a day!
Last but not least, it was great listening to people from the Changing Faces foundation. They are campaigning for face equality and working against the stigmatising of people with facial disfigurement. What an important job they are doing! Their stories really highlights how extremely narrow normality is when it comes to appearence – not least in social media.
I am glad I ended up spending this year’s Midsummer’s Eve in London! Thank you, all, for a great day!
I found the final two lectures of the Nordic Aphasia Conference, given by Madeleine Crucie and Carole Pond, very inspiring. I listened to Madeleine in London this past December too, and it was a pleasure hearing her again. Her work on quality of life is essential, but today she instead talked about her recent work with the LUNA-approach to aphasia rehabilitation. It is all about meaningful personal narratives, which makes it truly interesting. Make sure to watch the videos on storieswithaphasia.moonfruit.com!
Next, Carole Pound made a extremely important point about us living in a dehumanising time, referring both to the refugee situation and to the present president of the United States. But what about health care in general and aphasia rehabilitation in particular?
To end the conference, there was a panel discussion based on questions produced (and placed in Lise Randrup Jensen’s now famous Shoe Box) by the attendees during the past two days. And what a panel it was! Elisabeth Ahlsén, Melanie Kirmess, Madeleine Cruice, Aura Kagan, Simon Horton and Carole Pound. I think I wasn’t the only one who felt all star struck!
It has been a pleasure meeting so many interesting researchers, clinicians and others during these days. Some of them were already my friends, some of them became new friends. Some of them I got a chance to talk to, others not. There is never enough time… But we’ll meet again at the next Nordic Aphasia Conference, in June 2019 in Turku, Finland!
A parade of renowned researchers gave lectures today, during the second day of the Nordic Aphasia Conference. Julius Fridriksson (from the University of South Carolina) reminded us that every idea we can come up with probably allready has been tried out by someone else. For example, the idea of Speech Entrainment (where the person with aphasia articulates words at the same time as someone else, looking at their mouth) was studied in 1913. He showed us a photo of the brain from one of the participants in the 1913 study and it was really striking to see the damage.
I also enjoyed Monica Blom Johansson’s talk about the impact of aphasia on the life of significant others. She pointed out that there is a correlation between family members’ knowledge about aphasia and the quality of the relationships. The more information the family members get about aphasia, the better the relations within the family. Now, there’s a pedagogical challenge!
I was also very pleased to find the most tipically Danish dessert I know, at the lunch buffé: Rødgrød med fløde.
So, what are my impressions of the first day at the Nordic Aphasia Conference in Copenhagen? What will I remember about this day?
To be honest, I think I will most clearly remember reading a bed time story to a five year old girl – in Danish. And maybe that is what Aura Kagan’s truly inspirational talk this morning was about too… She emphasised that aphasia rehabilitation should be about conversations that really matter, instead of naming pictures or repeating phrases. And what could be more meaningful than to read bed time stories (even in a language that is far from perfect)?
This afternoon, I did my poster presentation. I really enjoyed the chats and encouragement. It is great to notice than issues of online identity are welcomed into the aphasia research field.
Last, but certainly not least, I must acknowlede the aphasia artists showing their artwork next to the posters, and the aphasia choir giving their very first concert. Important, interesting and inspirational!
Me and my poster are ready for the Nordic Aphasia Conference (NAC2017). The poster gets to sleep on the floor, next to the amazing view over central Copenhagen.
I will be spending Sweden’s unofficial national holiday, Midsummer, abroad this year since I will attend the conference ”Different Bodies: (Self-)Representation, Disability and the Media” at the University of Westminster in London. My ongoing PhD project raises a lot of questions about online embodiment of the disabled body, so I am really looking forward to listening to the other presenters. The theme for my own presentation will be ”At least I can Walk – Online Re-negotiation of Identity in Post-stroke Aphasia”.
Today, my first article was published! One down, three to go – since my PhD project is aiming at publishing four articles separetely and then combining them into a thesis. I have been working with this article for about two years, so I am really satisfied that it is finally published.
The article is called ”Signs of aphasia: Online identity and stigma management in post-stroke aphasia” and it is published in the journal ”Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace”. It is available in fulltext online, so if you want you may read it at cyberpsychology.eu/article/view/6759/6234
The article ”Signs of aphasia” on the publication wall at Halmstad University.
So, today it was time for my own presentation at the NNDR conference in (an even more sunny) Örebro. It is a challenge to talk about something seemingly neverending (i.e my doctoral thesis) in only 15 minutes. What to include? Which stories to tell? Anyway, I am happy with the way my presentation turned out, and the positive feedback I received.
The most impression of today, however, was not my own presentation, but the opportunity to listen to a symposium about the intersection between indigeneity and disability. I must admit that I haven’t given much thought to the issues of disability in indigenous people. The discussion at the symposium made me realise that the sami people (i.e the indigenous people in the northen part of Sweden) is neglected to the extent that we are not even able to study them. Read more at www.nordicwelfare.org/sapmi
It was also interesting to learn more about the aborigines in this regard. Thank you, John Gilroy for travelling from Australia to enlighten us!
The last keynote speaker to take the stage was Berth Danemark. I have heard him talking about critical realism, reductionism and interdisciplinary reserach several times before, but it is always interesting. I really like the ontology and epistemology of his work.
I leave Örebro and NNDR in a very happy mood, but at the same time I cannot wait to get home to my husband and my cat. Have a nice weekend!
Another sunny day in Örebro, at the NNDR conference! Another interesting, inspirational, nice day.
Lisa Pfahl turned the fact that no European country has abandoned school segregation since the CRPD was ratified into a call for action. Disability research needs to step it up to make a difference! Yes, a lot is being done, but we have a long way to go. Ready, steady…..
It is always an inspiration and a pleasure to listen to Per-Olof Hedvall from Certec, when he talks about universal design. His points about average humans (There is no such thing! So, who are we design for?) and normality (We need to celebrate diversity instead of striving for the normal!) made a true impression on the audience today.
I also enjoyed the poster session, the informal meetings during lunch and coffee breaks, the symposium ”Young and digital”, and… and…. All of it.
Last but not least, I had a nice time at the conference dinner tonight. Some nice reunions, some nice new acquaintances. And, as we say in Sweden the dot above the i, the onion on the salmon, the cream on the mash: the Örebro University Choir did a really great job entertaining us!