Katy Gosset heads south to Otago University's Summer School as it launches its inaugural course in Disability Studies.

This relatively new academic field examines disability across a range of disciplines, focusing on the experiences, rights and leadership of disabled people.

It also encourages students to consider where their own ideas about disability come from and to question whether those perceptions are correct. 

Gill RutherfordThe Otago University course is run by a senior education lecturer, Dr Gill Rutherford (left), who says Disability Studies is both an academic discipline and a conscious rights movement.

She says, while this course is an introductory one, the field of Disability Studies is gaining momentum around the world and attracting students from diverse backgrounds.

Students on this inaugural course include law and social work graduates who are already considering careers in the disability sector.