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New grants support important networks 

Friday 10 June 2022 12:53pm

Two important Humanities research initiatives have received $10,000 in the inaugural University of Otago Research Network grant round.

Dr Gill Rutherford
Dr Rutherford

The Critical Disability Studies Research Network previously received a two-year Humanities Research Network Grant, and additional funding will help the Network realise its vision of becoming a national focal point for Critical Disability Studies (CDS), College of Education Senior Lecturer and Network Co-ordinator Dr Gill Rutherford says.   

Dr Rutherford says CDS is “an innovative field of transdisciplinary research that privileges the experiences, self-advocacy, and human rights of disabled people within an ableist society.”

The Network’s members include academics and postgraduate students from each University division and representatives from other universities and disability-related organisations. The Network’s long-term goal is to establish a Critical Disability Studies Research Centre, which will position Otago as a national leader in CDS inquiry. It also aims to facilitate a university-wide understanding of disability within a rights framework.

Network activities include collaborative disability-related research projects – at Otago and beyond – to support and grow research capacity among emerging researchers and postgraduate students; organising research seminars and lectures (open to community members as well as academics); and planning for a follow-up to 2017’s Disability Matters conference.
Academic staff and postgraduate students are warmly invited to join the group – please contact Gill for more information:


Pacific Thought Network (PacTNet) co-ordinator Associate Professor Patrick Vakaoti says this funding will help grow engagement.

Also a past Humanities Research Network Grant recipient, PacTNet is comprised of Otago researchers interested in learning about and promoting Pacific worldviews and ethical engagement with Pacific peoples.

Associate Professor vakaoti

PacTNet hosts monthly reading group sessions and has plans to host and facilitate Pacific-related panel discussions, seminars and lectures in its annual activity calendar. It also fosters scholarly work with its members, with the interdisciplinary journal Pacific Dynamics set to publish a special edition comprising papers by PacTNet members under the theme ‘Spaces and practices of Pacific thought and research’. Patrick invites staff interested in joining PacTNet to contact him at: