The Living Life to the Fullest project is really proud to announce that we’ve just signed a book contract with the publisher, Emerald. Excitingly, we are writing the book – Living Life to the Fullest: Disability, Youth and Voice (working title) – as a team. Our project academics and our disabled young co-researchers in The Co-Researcher Collective will collaboratively write the book together. In Autumn 2019 we will begin writing together in a residential Writing Retreat.
It is routine that children and young people remain excluded from key parts of the research process; namely the writing up of findings and publishing. We want to be explicit here, and state that, like other written outputs from our project (Liddiard et al. 2018; Whitney et al. 2019), including journal articles and reports, our proposed text will be co-authored as a research team. From our knowledge, this has never been done before in the context of coproduction nor in the fields of disability, childhood and youth studies. We believe that this will not only improve the relevance of the book, but broaden its potential readership beyond a standard academic text; for example, to disabled young people, their families and allies, and the professionals who work with and for them.
In terms of the proposed book’s content, we include the disability and youth politics at the core of our research: accessible theory and theorising; coproduction methodologies that value disabled young people’s lives, perspectives and contributions; and our commitments to, and new knowledges of, disability arts and culture as spaces of emancipation and empowerment. However, we also draw upon the facets of life most important to our co-researchers and our core participants – disabled children and young people and their families. To summarise these briefly here, these include: i) critical perspectives on care and caring and the relationships between animal, human and machine; ii) youth, virtual lives and digital selves in an Internet Age; iii) experiences of time, ageing and re-imagining future in the context of short/er lives; iv) faith and spirituality and their relationship to disability and short/er lives; v) feelings towards and experiences of death and dying; and vi) sexuality, body image and self in youth. While these thematic spaces are deeply theoretical and political, we will keep debates accessible through drawing upon the everyday lived experiences and stories of disabled young people and their families. In this vein, our book will be accessible, relevant, meaningful and, most importantly of all, will bring young people’s lives and perspectives to the fore.
In addition, our co-authored text will articulate and critically explore the key findings of our project – what disabled children and young people living with life limiting and life threatening impairments (LL/LTIs) feel and say about their lives and futures. We hope it will also contribute to prolific contemporary political and theoretical debates about life, death and the human in an age of global precarity and austerity. The book is due to be published in Spring 2020 – as ever, we will keep you posted as it develops!