Visualising disability in the past

P Devlieger, Ian Grosvenor, F Simon, G Van Hove, B Vanobbergen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years there has been a growth in interdisciplinary work which has argued that disability is not an isolated, individual medical pathology but instead a key defining social category like 'race', class and gender.1 Seen in this way disability provides researchers with another analytic tool for exploring the nature of power. Running almost parallel in time with these academic developments has been a growing interest in the use of the visual in educational research. This growth in interest may be explained by Catherine Burke's observation that images - line drawings, still photography, film, video and digital technologies - have accompanied the development of state education from its beginning and that 'the camera within the School has its own historical narrative reflecting change and continuities in ways of seeing education and children over time'.2 In 2007 a workshop was held at the European Conference on Educational Research, Ghent which brought together academics to engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue around a set of images that capture disability and pedagogical practice.3 This article consists of three commentaries on the photographs (Devlieger; Van Hove and Vanobbergen; Grosvenor) which were given at the workshop and some reflective remarks written after the workshop (Simon). The commentators were given a maximum of 10 minutes each and their points are presented here very much as they were in the workshop, but references have been added and appear in the footnotes.4 The article opens with some brief contextual information about the archive which holds the selected photographs and the process by which the workshop came into being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-760
Number of pages14
JournalPaedagogica Historica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • disability
  • visual methodologies
  • photography


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