A relational geography of disability hate crime - Dr Ed Hall

Dr. Ed Hall's paper examines how disability hate incidents can be addressed more effectively and will be followed by a response from Rose SImkins, Chief Executive of Stop Hate UK.

The Centre for Disability Studies (University of Leeds) are delighted to welcome Dr. Ed Hall to speak on a relational geography of disability hate crime.


Many disabled people experience fear, harassment and sometimes violence in public and private spaces. Extreme violent acts against disabled people are the exception, yet dominate the popular and policy imagination of disability hate crime. While clearly important, these cases characterise disability hate crime as individually-targeted placeless acts of extreme abjection against disabled people. This arguably draws attention away from everyday ‘low-level’ harassment – name-calling, fear, neglect and indifference – experienced by many in mainstream spaces, and the impacts this has on senses of social inclusion and belonging.

The paper seeks to shift the research focus on disability hate crime towards the local and micro-scale spaces and moments within which hate incidents (in the broadest sense) occur, and the social relations which constitute these acts, in the context of an exclusionary disablist society.
To do this, the paper adopts insights from a relational conceptualisation of disability and, in particular, non-representational theory (NRT). NRT places emphasis on the materiality and actions of bodies in relation to other bodies, objects and spaces. It is through these relations that meaning and subjectivity emerge and become (yet remain incomplete) for both impaired and non-impaired people. Further, these relations have the capacity to produce both exclusionary and/or enabling contexts and experiences.

For a disability hate incident, the focus of concern becomes: What happens in the encounter? How do impaired and non-impaired people relate and interact? Why are they present in the space, and what are they doing? What is at stake? Importantly, it is recognised that these relations take place in contexts of (often negative) socio-cultural and political discourses, what NRT terms ‘fields of force’. The paper argues that by examining these relations, micro-spaces and wider contexts, we can better understand how and why disability hate incidents occur, and potentially how they can be addressed more effectively.

About the Speaker

Ed Hall's research focuses on disability, chronic illness, and care and support. Within this, he has developed a significant research interest in social exclusionary (and inclusionary) geographies of learning disability. Recent work includes a study of experiences of, and police and partner agency responses to, disability ‘hate crime’ in Scotland; a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project, with Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution, on the impact of power outages on disabled people, people with chronic  illness and older people, in rural and urban communities in northern Scotland and southern England; and the role of creative arts in the social inclusion and belonging of people with learning disabilities. He is currently developing two projects on the ‘post-welfare state’ social care landscape for people with learning disabilities and adopts a participatory and collaborative approach, working with disabled people’s organisations, and other partners. 

Please click here to register for Ed's seminar.

The session will be followed by refreshments and an opportunity to continue the discussion.

Location details

Room 7.36, Level 7
School of Geography
Garstang Building
University of Leeds

The Garstang Building can also be found on the campus map

All welcome. This is a free event, though registration is required.

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