(Proto)toddlers and other news

Technically still a baby, but well on her way to toddling, Meg is growing, giggling and scrambling over everything. Not sure when the sleeping through the night bit happens but we live in hope. 

A quick post with some news. 

Firstly, apologies if you received out of office replies saying I’d be back this month, I’ve extended my maternity leave because Meg is so darn cute (and there’s very few childcare spaces where I live; who knew that some nurseries operate “twinkle lists” for before you’re even pregnant?!). We’ve found some lovely childminders and avoided the nursery-that-smelled-of-wee and the Victorian baby farm, and I’ll be back at work in November. 

But! I’m coming back part time (Tuesday – Thursday) which unfortunately means I’m not going to be able to take on as many activities as before, so apologies for that.  I’ll be back at Cardiff University working with Phil Fennell and Julie Doughty to write up reports from our project in the Court of Protection. And then next summer I’ll be taking up a Wellcome Trust Society and Ethics fellowship, again at Cardiff, on a project exploring problems of empowerment and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. I’m really excited about this project. It involves a historical (genealogical) study of how ideas of empowerment became associated with the MCA during its development, and how it’s empowering identity came to be contested in connection with implementation problems, disability rights and in the popular media. I will interview key players in the development, implementation and critiques of the Act, and use these to write a book and work with a radio producer to make some podcasts. For this part of the project I’ll be working with Professor Phil Fennell (because what he doesn’t know about the history of the MCA isn’t worth knowing) and Professor  Nik Rose, an expert in critical genealogical research. I’ll also be examining some CoP cases about residence, and sexuality and fertility, looking at how discourses of empowerment have been deployed in judicial decisions. Dr Treena Jingree, who has done lots of discourse analysis work looking at conversations between care staff and disabled adults, will provide mentorship on this. 

Alongside this I have funding to run some storytelling events exploring “Stories of Empowerment, Stories of Disempowerment” with people with learning disabilities, dementia, their families and professionals, guided by Professor Brendan Stone. We’re going to make some accessible films of these stories and share them with others. I’ll be working with Change, the Alzheimers Society, NDTi and Research into Practice on this. And I’ll have an advisory group of experts (including by experience) to help make sure I’m going about things in a sensible way. 

So although I’ll really miss Meg when I go back, I’m pretty excited about what the next few years at work hold. (I’m also weirdly excited about: leaving the house without a million bags, not finding bits of malt loaf in my hair, drinking hot drinks while they’re hot, sleeping on the train and being able to WRITE again! Turns out it’s possible to read, waste time on Facebook and money online shopping whilst feeding a baby, but almost impossible to write). 

Thanks so much for all your support during maternity leave. Extra special thanks to work colleagues for coming to visit and talking law whilst bouncing babies (I’m looking at you ARK), cuddling (JD,TBC and JF), traipsing around with prams (PF, AT and LH) and even entertaining Meg during some emergency dentistry (EK). And huge thanks to Wellcome and the reviewers and interview committee for supporting the project; I can’t wait to get started!

Back to the blogging ban until I’m back at work now…

You didn’t think you’d get away without a photo did you? 


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