SDS@OSU 2020 Conference

Thank you to everyone who helped make the online version of the 2020 Society for Disability Studies Conference such a success!

The following workshops and keynote, originally scheduled as in-person events, were moved online and featured sign interpretation and real-time captioning. Two of the workshop recordings were edited and are presented here by Sunmeet K. Gill and Luke Van Niel. These are shared with participants’ and facilitators’ permission.

Building Institutional Capacity with Accountability to Communities with Lezlie Frye. 

This workshop explores what it looks and feels like to build institutional capacity for the intersectional study of disability in ways that practice real accountability to the movements for social justice that inform this work. What kinds of institutional and community partnerships support the development of critical disability studies? What obstacles remain? How can our programs sustain political and pedagogical commitments that approximate radical forms of collective access?

“Cross-Disability Communication” with Devva Kasnitz and Sara Acevedo. 

Communication impairments are almost universally reported to be some of the most stigmatized and least accommodated. These vocal differences are still not celebrated as intriguing diversity, contrary to the childlike wonder aroused by the apocryphal story of the Berlitz child who assumed everyone spoke a different language until he went to school. Looking at both form and content, this workshop examines communication across and between varying conversations of disability. We mark and expand both our interdependence and accommodative exchanges of communicative labor. We identify the places where attempts at accessibility can conflict and where patience and creativity are our best offense to demand a just society. Let’s dance.

Transformations in Pedagogy and Access with Ryann Patrus and Maurice Stevens. 

This presentation deals with collective access as a teaching practice, one that seeks to promote equity within a learning community. We ask, what possibilities are generated when access is centered? Through process, design, and a flexible container, we study what transformations might be possible for individuals in the space/embodiment and offer strategies to facilitate these transformations. We consider the potential for cripping the flow of time and pacing in the teaching/learning space, as well as what can be generated when the temporal flow is restructured and we attend to embodiment. Our stake is in transforming the institutional structures within which we all are operating and resisting the rigid structures that make academic spaces hostile for marginalized bodyminds. We also bring a transformative access lens to the framing of ‘Learning Principles’ in the Scholarship on Teaching and Learning (SoTL).

“Centering Difference in Health Equity Research” with Nic Flores and Michele Battle-Fisher. 

In this session, the facilitators lead a discussion that highlights the measures and efforts taken by health care organizations to transform what accessibility means as it relates to social markers of difference (race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability). In particular, this discussion follows the work being conducted by a local health care organization on accessibility and inclusion within the health sector in Central Ohio. The facilitators also conduct a collaborative exercise on how participants may assess and adopt changes to their own practices and programs by drawing on personal experiences and knowledge.

Cripping Survival, Dreaming Disability Justice Futures: Keynote event with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Sponsored by the OSU Graduate Association for Mental Health Action & Advocacy with support from the Transformative Access Project.

As we meet virtually from our homes, left to our own devices as disabled people navigating a global pandemic, it becomes evident that our disabled ways of being, organizing and creating are what have allowed us to survive this far, and they will continue to keep us alive. In this workshop, we evaluate the relationship between, as well as the combined effects of disability and the pandemic. What are the dangers, pleasures and opportunities of being disabled at this particular apocalyptic space and time? And how is disability justice movement, thinking and creative work support us in finding new ways to create a vibrant disabled future?