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Rebekah Cupitt

Contributing Editor, Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

About Rebekah

Rebekah is a lecturer in Digital Design at FMACS, Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London, U.K. and a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Human-Computer Interaction and Design at City, University of London where she lectures on Inclusive Design and Participatory Design Methods. She is also incoming co-chair for CASTAC and a board member of the European Network for Queer Anthropology. Her research focuses on the intersections of dDeaf identity, media technologies, and organisations.

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Contributions to Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

View all of Rebekah's posts on Platypus: The CASTAC Blog.

Writing disability

Writing inequalities

When writing inequalities, the language we use and our writings betray the power dynamics and the unequal relations that stem from the world we as researchers come from. This post explores how these inequalities play out in the worlds we embed ourselves in as outsider researchers and are apparent in what we write through a reflection on my own research with dDeaf  television producers and actors in Sweden. (more…)

Our Digital Selves: What we learn about ability from avatars

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Donna Davis, PhD – University of Oregon and is the sixth post in the series on Disabling Technologies

Imagine sitting on the beach on a beautiful day. The sun is rising and the birds singing. Wisps of clouds gently float by as the surf rhythmically rolls in and out at your feet and the children frolic in the sand. You can almost feel the heat of the sun, only you can’t — because you’re sitting in a virtual world. Such is the experience of the childless agoraphobe who may never see the ocean again. Virtual worlds have always been places of both escape and entertainment. For people with disabilities, this notion of escape comes with far greater opportunity but also risk. The risk is that this escape is tied to a simplistic understanding of both virtual reality and disability – especially where people who have never experienced either assume an individual with disabilities may want to abandon their physical experience for the comfort of a virtual one. (more…)

As If I Were Blind…

Experience, disability and design. What is an experience and how can it be conveyed and communicated to others? "A focus on "The Experience" signals a technology has been designed with a consideration for the user's experiences. It is supposed to indicate  a technology’s role and contribution to everyday life, and the likelihood of its success once implemented. Given its popularity in design contexts, the term "experience" seems unusually rare in anthropology, with a few notable exceptions (e.g., Bruner, 1986; Turner, 1986; Hastrup, 1995, for example). This is so despite the fact that we, as anthropologists, can definitely be said to "experience" a way of living other than the one we are used to when we carry out fieldwork. This experience begins with our first encounter with another culture and its people, and continues into the writing stage, with our concerted attempts to communicate the complicated cultural aspects of the places and peoples we study with. Writing about and communicating other ways of living in text, with a focus on eliciting a sense of how their everyday lives are "experienced," is central to the anthropological task of making the world safe for difference - whether or not we share these ways of living or are outsiders. This focus on experience often extends to the museum exhibition. Both The Invisible Exhibition and Dialogue in the Dark (DitD) are exhibitions which center on (the creation of?) an experience - of being blind - and suggest that this experience gives visitors the chance to (more...)