2017 Keynote Presenter: Dr. Catherine Frazee

In three words, I’m a writer, an educator and an activist.  These three identities come together for me at Ryerson, where I happily indulge my activist inclinations and curiosities about disability rights, disability arts and the place of disabled people in moral and political culture.  Drawing from my own experience of disablement as point of entry, I seek to write and teach pathways into ethical and cultural dialogues about citizenship and personhood.  My present work is informed by many years of involvement in the equality struggles of disadvantaged and marginalized groups, most notably during a term as Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission from 1989 to 1992.

A primary preoccupation of mine is the cultivation, promotion and exploration of Disability Arts & Culture in Canada.  In seeking out opportunities to showcase authentic, provocative and non-sentimental accounts from disability experience, and in cultivating audience engagement and reflection through artist talk-backs, public lectures, research and scholarship, I believe we may begin to shape an ethic of the human condition in which disabled people can occupy our rightful place.

When I am not lolling about in the ivory towers of academe, I chair the Values & Ethics Task Force of the Canadian Association for Community Living and serve on the Board of Directors of the Abilities Arts Festival.  Other organizations, communities and social justice causes that I have been proud to serve in the past are featured in the “links” section below.

2017 Keynote Presentation: Death in Disabled Country: Declaring Ourselves in the MAID Debate


2017 International Keynote Presenter: Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill

QwoLi Driskill is a non-citizen Cherokee Two-Spirit writer, performer, and activist also of African, Irish, Lenape, Lumbee, and Osage ascent. S/he is the author of Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory, which is a finalist for this year’s Lambda Literary Awards, and Walking with Ghosts: Poems. S/he is also the co-editor of Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature and Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature. S/he holds a PhD in Rhetoric & Writing from Michigan State University and is an Associate Professor of Queer Studies and Director of Graduate Studies in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Oregon State University.

2017 International Keynote Presentation: Indigenizing Disability Justice