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Dr Daisy Powell

Impact and Public Engagement Officer

  • Research Associate

Pronouns

she/her

Biography

I joined King’s in January 2024 as a postdoctoral research associate on the UKRI-funded project The Sciences of Ageing and the Culture of Youth (SAACY). Working with charity partners and across academic disciplines, I am developing creative strategies to share research with the public and policy makers. I am planning an exhibition, workshop series, and festival which all aim to challenge the cultural pessimism of ageing and reframe it as a lifelong process.

My PhD is from the University of Leeds and was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (through WRoCAH). My thesis explored depictions of disability, class, and resistance in austerity Britain, with a focus on twenty-first century literature and film. I also studied at the University of Leeds for my BA (Joint Honours) in English and Sociology, and my AHRC funded Research Masters which examined cultural narratives of cure.

I have made two documentaries: Disability on Screen: Past, Present, and Future, which was created in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI) and screened at the London Southbank Centre, and The Sick Man of Europe? Health, Protest, and Community in Glasgow, which was funded by an early career foundation award from the Glasgow Medical Humanities Network. I am currently making a third film to showcase SAACY’s work and capture different perspectives on ageing.

I also have six years of experience in the charity sector, working on projects for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, the Centre for Ageing Better, and the children’s hospice charity Lifelites.

Research Interests

  • Medical humanities
  • Cultural disability studies
  • Crip theory
  • Twenty-first century literature and film
  • British politics

My research focuses on the representation of disability and class (and their intersection) in twenty-first century literature and film. I am particularly interested in how poverty, ageing, and public health crises complicate the dis/ability binary. I ask how fiction creatively reveals the common ground of structural oppression, alliances for resistance, and the generative possibilities of re-thinking the categories of disability and class. I also examine the resistive potential of fiction to counter dominant political discourses, animate injustices, and imagine alternative models of labour, interdependence, and care.

My PhD explored what I call “austerity fictions”, such as Ken Loach’s films I, Daniel Blake (2016) and Sorry We Missed You (2019), Niall Griffiths’ novel Broken Ghost (2019), novels from the emerging genre of “up lit”, and Jane Gull’s film My Feral Heart (2016). Engaging with the historical and contemporary contexts of welfare policy, social care, and work, I argue that austerity fictions depict the obscured human consequences of public sector cuts, subvert “(un)deserving poor” narratives, and offer glimpses of crip resistance.

Teaching

I have taught on core modules that introduce undergraduate students to the foundations of studying English Literature.

Expertise and public engagement

I have made two films to communicate socially impactful research, engage with local communities, and elevate untold stories.

In 2021, I developed a partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI) and created Disability on Screen: Past, Present, and Future. In conversation with actors, presenters, and filmmakers, the documentary explores the history of ableism in British film and television, showcasing footage from the BFI’s Disabled Britain on Film archive. Addressing key decision makers in the industry, the film highlights what progress has been made, what still needs to be done, and how this can be achieved. It launched the BFI’s annual Busting the Bias festival at the London Southbank Centre and contributed to their Press Reset campaign which calls for increased representation in front of and behind the camera.

In 2023, I made The Sick Man of Europe? Health, Protest, and Community in Glasgow. The film questions media depictions of Glasgow as “the sick man of Europe”, exploring how this language overlooks the unique historical context of the city’s regional deprivation. I interviewed public health researchers, academics, and members of the community, intercutting these conversations with material from the Moving Image Archive at the National Library of Scotland. I held a screening and discussion of the film at Kinning Park Complex, a community centre in Glasgow. The audience included members of the public, NHS workers, public health researchers, medical humanities scholars, council staff, as well as representatives from charities and community groups.

In 2023, I was also selected for the TV PhD scheme run by The TV Foundation and AHRC, where I learnt how to develop research ideas for television and attended the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Research

healthy ageing hero
The Sciences of Ageing and the Culture of Youth, 1880 to the present day

The Sciences of Ageing and the Culture of Youth (SAACY) is a project funded by a UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship. It will offer a conceptual framework with which to overcome cultural pessimism about ageing and influence policy change.

Research

healthy ageing hero
The Sciences of Ageing and the Culture of Youth, 1880 to the present day

The Sciences of Ageing and the Culture of Youth (SAACY) is a project funded by a UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship. It will offer a conceptual framework with which to overcome cultural pessimism about ageing and influence policy change.