The Value and Potential of Enabling Technologies for People with Disabilities During Covid-19: Debates, opportunities, and challenges during and after a pandemic

Call for papers for: Journal of Enabling Technologies

Editor: Dr Nigel Newbutt

Towards the end of 2019 and into the early months of 2020 every country on earth was impacted in some way by Covid-19, and on 11th March 2020 the WHO declared a pandemic.  Most countries across the world reported significant increases in cases of Covid-19 during the month of March 2020, leading to significant changes in the way we live our lives.  During this time, most countries restricted movement and implemented social distancing rules, along with closing public buildings, schools, shops and other places of social gathering.  As a result, life for many changed sharply in a very short period of time, leading to many people and services being impacted in a range of ways.  While we have seen some countries opening services, schools, shops and public buildings, others remain cautious within the context of “spikes” in new cases now emerging (August 2020).  Therefore, and while we await possible longer-term solutions, there is an urgent need to consider new ways of interacting, working, socialising and maintaining a sense of ‘normal’; especially for vulnerable people and those with disabilities.  

During the last six months we have also seen evidence of an economic shock that has (and will continue) to impact a range of people, families and their lives. Situated in the context of Covid-19 the Journal of Enabling Technologies announces this call for papers and special issue that seeks to offer a space for discussing the challenges of, and opportunities for, people with disabilities during these unprecedented times. 

Specifically, this Call for Papers seeks a range of article types that focus on ways that technologies are, or could, be used to support challenges facing disabled groups.   We are especially interested in promoting different perspectives and levels of analysis from various countries around the world in addition to including, and promoting, the voices of people with disabilities and their experiences during Covid-19.  As such we are pleased to invite peer-reviewed article types, but also case studies, opinion pieces, and technology reviews that help us to understand the ways that technology can assist people during the pandemic. 

We welcome submissions to this special issue and topics covered can include (but are not limited to):

  • Technology adoption and adaptation during CV-19;
  • Innovations and opportunities for supporting the mental health of people with disabilities;
  • Applied use of technology during lock-down and CV-19 generally;
  • Use of technology in schools, education, higher education, homes, care homes, centres, doctor surgeries, etc;
  • The ways technologies have been used by/developed for people with disabilities;
  • Innovations/adaptations of technologies that have helped to ensure the social inclusion of people with disabilities;
  • Perspectives from disabled people and their experiences of technology use during CV-19;
  • Technology used to connect, and keep people with disabilities connected, during the pandemic;
  • Technology used to promote and support access to services during CV-19;
  • Future and on-going issues impacting people with disabilities as CV-19 continues;
  • Possible barriers and issues using technology (e.g., ethical issues, maintaining social distancing, sanitising technology, etc…);
  • Staying safe during a pandemic through the use of technologies.

Contributions may take the form of peer-reviewed research, opinion, commentary, and thought pieces; analysis and research from various disciplinary vantage points, from the theoretical, to the applied and the more practical, ‘hands-on-approach’. Self-reflective contributions are also most welcome.  Word count for peer-reviewed work should not exceed 6000 words (inc. references) while opinion pieces, case studies and others can be anywhere from 1500 words upwards.   

Deadline and Submission Details

The submission deadline for all papers is 31st December 2020.
The publication date of this special issue is expected to be early 2021 (although work will appear via EarlyCite soon after it has been accepted for publication).   

To submit your research, please visit the following link making sure to select the “COVID-19-Special-Issue” option when submitting via ScholarOne:

To view the author guidelines for this journal, please visit:

Contact the Editor:

Dr Nigel Newbutt
University of the West of England (UWE)
[email protected]