Voices of Access and Disability in Higher Education: Part 2 - Opportunities for Change

This is the second of a two-part webinar series Voices of Access and Disability in Higher Education that seeks to address and highlight disability inclusion and access in higher education.

Date and Time

Fri, July 24, 2020

9:00 PM – 10:30 PM EDT

About this Event

Closed captioning and ASL interpreting will be provided. Contact with any questions about accessibility.

Voices of Access and Disability in Higher Education is a 2-part webinar series that seeks to address and highlight disability inclusion and access.

This second panel explores opportunities for change, such as through community initiatives, advocacy, redesign of curriculum and more moving forward. How can we mobilize this conversation around access and disability from individual stories of resistance & resilience to collective action and avenues for change? How can we better support our community made up of learners and educators with diverse abilities in an equitable manner?

This webinar series aim to centre lived experiences of disability in education and academia and encourage dialogue within our universities and other learning spaces around the importance of broadening our understanding of access and disability as a justice-centred issue. For education to be truly inclusive, we need to care for students, staff and faculty with disabilities beyond means of accommodation and challenge ableist practices.

A recording and transcript of the webinar will be emailed to participants after the webinar.

Agenda - Pacific Standard Time:

6:00pm to 6:15pm - Introduction

6:15pm to 6:45pm - Moderated Q&A

6:45pm to 6:50pm - Break

6:50pm to 7:20pm - Audience Q&A

7:20pm to 7:30pm - Wrap up and conclude

Panel speakers:

Heather McCain is the Executive Director of Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods, a non-profit they founded in 2005. Heather’s own experiences with multiple types of disabilities, inaccessibility, and ableism led them to become a well-known and respected advocate, speaker, educator, and activist who works to create equity, celebrate diversity, and educate about and implement accessibility.

Heather recognizes that those within the disability community have intersecting identities and, as a disabled, trans, queer person, they work hard to ensure a multitude of voices and experiences inform their work and the work of CAN. Heather is committed to centering decolonialization, using an intersectional lens and doing cross-movement organizing. They operate with a Disability Justice framework and work to challenge our way of thinking to fundamentally shift the way we organize and fight for social change.

Heather is a Crip Doula. This is a Disability Justice term for someone who helps disabled people navigate our complex systems, providing resources, support, and building community. Members of Chronically Queer gave this title to Heather. CQ is a support group Heather facilitates for LGBTQ2SIA+ folk with chronic health conditions.

Laura Yvonne Bulk is a disabled scholar, an occupational therapist, a public scholar, accessibility advisor for students in health programs, an artist, an advocate, and a teacher. Her work as a PhD candidate and public intellectual focuses on enhancing a sense of belonging for people with disabilities in higher education and the professions.

Deepi Leihl is Accessibility Collective Coordinator at CiTR, UBC Campus’ radio station. “My job is to form a team and help those who either have a disability or not, and as a Collective, we produce a biweekly (or weekly) radio show called All Access Pass. We talk about equity, inclusion, and accessibility for people with diverse abilities, on campus and beyond. Outside of that, I try my best to bring awareness on accessibility, disability and animal rights. I also love to bake and then share with people!”

Hannah Sullivan Facknitz is a queer settler historian and artist living and working on the occupied territories of the x?m?θk??y??m (Musqueam) people where she is a MA candidate in the UBC History Department. In studying the experiences of incarcerated and dislocated disabled, Mad, sick, and Indigenous individuals, her research speaks to the ways life and all its attendant joy and sorrow happened in institutions like sanatoriums, asylums, and residential schools. She currently writes on tuberculosis and settler violence in North Vancouver. Hannah also works as an activist fighting for universal healthcare in her home community in the United States as well as patient and community rights to define health for themselves. She lives with lupus, organ damage, and C-PTSD, along with several other comorbid conditions.

Vivian Ly is a co-founder of Autistics United Canada, a national self-advocacy organization by and for Autistic people. With the Vancouver-Coast Salish Territory chapter, Vivian is part of an Autistic collective that facilitates outreach workshops, hosts community events, maintains a mobile neurodiversity library, and engages in policy advocacy at the local, provincial, and national level. While studying and conducting research in Behavioural Neuroscience at Simon Fraser University, Vivian creates campus-wide change with the Disability and Neurodiversity Alliance.

Vivian's work on unceded Coast Salish Territory focuses on disability justice, collective community care, and Autistic-led policy and research. Vivian believes in a world where no one is left behind, where radical interdependent survival is nurtured and celebrated, where collective access is the norm, and where disabled, sick, Mad, Deaf, and neurodivergent people are free.


Corin Parsons de Freitas (any pronouns) is a crip, queer PhD candidate in Geography at the University of British Columbia. They are a SSHRC recipient and former Fulbright Scholar, and their dissertation research focuses on cats, gender, and domesticities. They have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder that affects collagen—making them, yes, a literal mutant. Some of their favourite things include gardening, knitting, French cheeses, and abolishing barriers to accessible teaching and learning. After the pandemic, they look forward to resuming their heretofore brief (and not terribly promising) career as an uncoordinated but enthusiastic wheelchair basketball and tennis participant. Corin is grateful to live and learn on the lands of the x?m?θk??y??m (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and S?l?ílw?ta? (Tsleil-Watuth) Nations.

We gratefully acknowledge Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods BC, UTown@UBC’s Community of Caring grant and the UBC Department of Geography’s Equity and Diversity Committee for their financial support to our project.

Instead of a set ticket price, we ask that you contribute what you can to the Vancouver Black Therapy and Advocacy Fund and the Black in BC Community Support Fund for COVID-19. While we aim to make this programming accessible to all, a?suggested contribution of $10, $15, whatever you can afford, will go a long way to create safety networks for Black communities struggling with mental health and financial hardships due to COVID-19. Thank you.

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