Pacific & Western Disability Studies – A Workshop for Emerging Disability Studies Scholars and Activists

Pacific and Western Disability Studies Symposium: Connecting Disability Studies, Disability Justice, and Disability Arts

May 21 – 23, 2015
Cultivating and Connecting Resources: A Workshop for Emerging Disability Studies Scholars and Activists

May 22, 2015
Disability studies is a dynamic and growing field in the Pacific Northwest and West Coast. The symposium will raise critical questions about collaborations within the field and between scholars, artists, and activists. This workshop aims to:

1. Encourage discussion regarding disability studies resources in the region 2. Provide opportunities for peer-review, mentoring, and networking 3. Create and enhance collaborative, interdisciplinary, cross-institutional relationships between faculty, students, and community members

You should participate if you are an undergraduate or graduate student of a post-secondary institution, a recent graduate, or someone with work, volunteer, or activist experience related to disability studies. Contributors must be willing to have their work posted electronically for symposium participants.

We are interested in proposals that have potential to contribute to the field of disability studies.

Disability studies challenges the traditional ways that disability is constructed in society. It focuses on the social, cultural, and political meanings of disability, including its intersections with other identity categories. Disability studies addresses the pervasive oppression of people with disabilities and emphasizes the roles of disabled people in defining problems and evaluating solutions.

Eligible submissions include: research, advocacy, theoretical, or creative work. Completed projects, class projects, or works in progress are acceptable. Abstracts should be submitted in English. Limit one submission per author.

Abstract Deadline: Friday, May 1, 2015

Submit presenter information and abstract by going to:

Final Submission Deadline: Monday, May 18, 2015

Please submit in a format that best suits your work. Instructions about where to upload final submissions will be sent to the first authors of accepted work.

Some examples of formats include:
1. Oral presentation Podcast (audio file) (Please limit to 10 minutes or less) 2. Poster Powerpoint (Please use non-serif font, like Calibri) 3. Manuscript Word (Please limit to 10 pages or less and use non-serif font, like Calibri)

It is the responsibility of presenters to consider accessibility. For example, audio files should be accompanied by transcripts. Powerpoints should include alternative text for images and charts. Manuscripts should include headings to structure the paper. If possible, please use the Microsoft Accessibility Checker prior to submitting work.

We are seeking faculty, students, or activists with strong backgrounds in disability studies and/or disability rights, who are willing to provide feedback and/or mentoring to the emerging scholars and activists participating in the workshop.

Please submit an electronic form by going to:

The Pacific and Western Disability Studies Symposium: Connecting Disability Studies, Disability Justice, and Disability Arts, involves several events that are free and open to the public at the University of Washington Seattle, May 21-23, 2015. Emerging scholars and activists are encouraged to submit their work electronically for presentation and feedback, and they are invited to attend the full symposium. (

Thursday, May 21, 4:00-6:30pm, Kane Hall, Room 225 on “Disability Arts and Culture”: Chicago-based artist Riva Lehrer will talk on “When Pain Eats the Picture: Portraiture, Disability, and the Ethics of Power,” exploring the complexity of depicting vulnerable subjects and the paradoxical nature of images of disability. Seattle-based musician Mindie Lind will kick off the program.

Friday, May 22, 10am-5pm, School of Law, Room 138 on “Critical Collaborations”: To celebrate and enhance growth and collaboration in disability studies across the Pacific Northwest and West Coast, the workshop will facilitate discussion of an array of interests in the field, engage support for students, and encourage connecting across disciplines and institutions. Speakers include Elizabeth Wheeler of the University of Oregon and Susan Schweik of UC Berkeley. Patty Berne, a SF Bay area community organizer who is also currently an instructor at UC Berkeley, will participate in a conversation about movement building in academia, disability rights, disability justice, and cultural activism.

Saturday, May 23, 2-4pm (location and topic TBD): A presentation by Patty Berne, who is a co-founder of the disability justice framework and of the performance group Sins Invalid. Patty’s background includes advocacy for immigrants and offering mental health support for survivors of violence. She was featured in the documentary film “Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement,” for her disability and LGBTQI advocacy within the field of reproductive and genetic technologies. Her experiences as a queer Haitian-Japanese power-chair using woman provide grounding for her work creating “liberated zones” for oppressed people.