New Curtin University course explores how social media is changing the face of disability

Stock image.
Stock image.

A NEW Curtin University course is exploring how features of social media such as memes influence mainstream perceptions of people living with a disability.

The Disability and Digital Media course will cover the discussion of disability online through the lens of viral content and online culture.

Course Coordinator Katie Ellis said the internet reflected prejudiced ideas society had created against people living with a disability.

“We talk about how this is represented in traditional media and draw a lot upon Stella Young and how people with a disability are framed as inspirational for doing everyday things,” she said.

However, the course will not solely focus on negative online representations of disabilities and will also investigate how people living with a disability have used social media to their advantage.

“Another way of looking at people with disability is they are using social media to create a different representation, there’s a bit of body positivity and them putting up a different image to that in traditional media,” Prof Ellis said.“Social media is giving people with a disability the chance to find their own community and present themselves in different ways to create a flow-on effect for everyday life.”

Prof Ellis said disability had been at the forefront of some important technological innovations.

“Disability can invite innovation; driverless cars, smart cities, these technologies are really helpful for people living with a disability, but we love them for their convenience factor,” she said.

“People access the internet using audio aids, they’re using it in cars, in Sat Navs, all designed for people with disabilities which everyone benefits from.”

Enrolments for the course, which begins on February 4, are open now.

The course will run in self-paced mode for 2019, so participants may enrol and complete it at any time.