Everyday embodiment and technology in speculative and science fiction | 6 May

Please join us for our one-day symposium ‘Everyday Embodiment and Technology in Science and Speculative Fiction’, part of the ‘Imagining Technology for Disability Futures’ research project. This in-person event will take place at the Carriageworks Theatre in Central Leeds, on Friday 6 May between 9.00 and 17.00, and feature a mix of academic and creative approaches to the depiction of everyday technologised bodies. Topics covered will include posthumanism, disability, memory, anxiety, sleep, prostheses and the importance of conceptions of the future for thinking about embodiment. 

After the symposium is finished, we will edit proceedings and host them on the itDf website for those who are unable to attend. 


9:00 – 9:30 Arrival & Welcome 

9.30 – 10.30 KEYNOTE PANEL: Living in the Futures: Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities (Chair: Stuart Murray) 

Gavin Miller (University of Glasgow) ‘Future Shock: making the future a medical problem’  

Anna McFarlane (University of Leeds) – ‘Against techno-utopianism: collective care’  

10.30 – 10.45 Break 

10.45 – 12.15 PANEL 1: Posthuman Technologies (Chair: Amelia DeFalco) 

Yugin Teo (Bournemouth University) – ‘Collective memory, recognition, and productive interactions: care technologies in science fiction’  

Ria Cheyne (Liverpool Hope University) – ‘“Technologised Embodiment and the Scientific Model in John Varley’s ‘Tango Charlie and Foxtrot Romeo’”  

Lars Schmeink (Visiting Leverhulme Professor, University of Leeds) – ‘More Human than Human: Prostheses as Posthuman Technology in Deus Ex: Human Revolution’  

12.15 – 13.15 LUNCH  

13.15 – 14.15 PANEL 2: Bodies and Communities (Chair: Anna McFarlane) 

Florence Okoye (AfroFutures UK)‘Glitchifying the universal: a critical examination of inclusive design for communal futurities.’  

Jo Lindsey Walton (University of Sussex) – ‘Body of Work:  Writing Speculative Flesh’ (Reading from a work-in-progress)  

14.15 – 14.30 Break  

14.30 – 15.30 PANEL 3: Sleep and Anxiety (Chair: Ellie Wakeford) 

Diletta De Cristofaro (Politecnico di Milano/ Northumbria University) – ‘Sleep Mode: Technologies and the Sleep Crisis’ 

Jamie Rakoczi (Durham University) – ‘Attention Anxiety: The Political Art of Distraction in Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless ‘  

15.30 – 15.45 Break 

15.45 – 16.45 ROUNDTABLE: Everyday Futures (Chair: Stuart Murray) 



Speaker Biographies 

Gavin Miller is Reader in Contemporary Literature and Medical Humanities at the University of Glasgow, where he is the Director of the Glasgow Medical Humanities Research Centre and Medical Humanities Network. His research interests include science fiction and horror fiction, the history and theory of the psy disciplines, illness narratives, medical journalism and discursive writing. His book Science Fiction and Psychology was published by Liverpool University Press in 2020 and he is a co-editor of the forthcoming Edinburgh Companion to Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities

Anna McFarlane joined the University of Leeds as a Lecturer in Medical Humanities in 2022. Before this, she held a British Academy postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Glasgow for a project entitled ‘Products of Conception: Science Fiction and Traumatic Pregnancy, 1968–2015’. She is the author of Cyberpunk Culture and Psychology: Seeing Through the Mirrorshades, published by Routledge in 2021, and (with Lars Schmeink and Graham J. Murphy) edited The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture (2020). Like Gavin, she is a co-editor of the forthcoming Edinburgh Companion to Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities

Yugin Teo is Senior Lecturer in Communications and English at Bournemouth University, where he has worked since 2016. His research focuses on science fiction, representations of healthcare, technology, artificial lives and memory, in both fiction and film. In 2014, his book Kazuo Ishiguro and Memory was published by Palgrave Macmillan, and in 2021 he was the co-editor of a special issue of Science Fiction Studies, entitled ‘SF and Nostalgia’. 

Ria Cheyne works in Contemporary Literature and Disability Studies at Liverpool Hope University. Her research interests include representations of disability, particularly in genre fiction (including science fiction), and the wider health humanities. Her book Disability, Literature, Genre: Representation and Affect in Contemporary Fiction was published by Liverpool University Press in 2019. 

Lars Schmeink is currently Visiting Leverhulme Professor in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at the University of Leeds, where he is working on a project entitled ‘Progressive Science Fiction from Germany’. He is visiting Leeds from his post as Research Fellow in American Studies at the Europa-Universität Flensburg. He is the author of Biopunk Dystopias: Genetic Engineering, Society and Science Fiction, published by Liverpool University Press in 2016, and the co-editor of Cyberpunk and Visual Culture (2018) and The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture (2020), both published by Routledge. His broader research interests include the fantastic, science and technology in popular culture.  

Florence Okoye works across multiple disciplines. She is as a UX Designer and creator of science fiction, who also messes around with Arduinos and web technologies and studies dead languages and computer science. She is interested in projects that encourage public engagement with technology and the arts, especially those that explore the intersection of minority experiences, and is a founding member of AfroFutures UK. She has designed apps and software UI for sectors ranging from Culture and Heritage to utilities, digital publishing to cybersecurity as well as on a consultancy basis for start-ups and small to medium enterprise. She is the Events and Marketing Manager for the MancsterCon sequential art convention and has participated in hackdays as a member of the Birmingham area Ladies Who Code. 

Jo Lindsay Walton is Research Fellow in Digital Humanities and Critical and Cultural Theory at the University of Sussex, where his interests include climate risk; environmental humanities; the Digital Humanities (especially around sustainability themes; game design and game studies); science, fantasy and speculative fiction; critical design; practice-led research across the arts, humanities, social sciences and STEM; and a range of futures thinking more broadly. He has published numerous articles and book chapters and is also a SF author who has published short fiction, poetry and mixed media artwork across multiple outlets.  

Diletta de Christofaro is a Wellcome Trust-funded Research Fellow at Northumbria, working on contemporary North American and British literature and culture, particularly writing responding to twenty-first-century anxieties and crises, and the politics of time underlying these. Her current project ‘Writing the Sleep Crisis’ forms the basis of her talk today, while previous work on the contemporary post-apocalyptic novel was published in The Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Novel: Critical Temporalities and the End Times, published by Bloomsbury in 2019. 

James Rakoczi is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University. His PhD in English Literature and Medical Humanities from Kings College London explored ways in which Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s bodily philosophy can be used to read contemporary illness life writing about neurological disorders. His current work explores therapeutic practices, philosophies of experience and consciousness, literary/artistic making and compositional difficulty, expressed in several areas: neuropathology, neurodivergence, sickness testimonies, stigma and shame in sociographic imaginaries, the sleep-wake cycle, radical care, representations of marginal conscious states in the long twentieth century, and genealogies of lucidity. 

To register for this event please complete the registration form.
Spaces are limited, so please register as soon as possible in order to attend.