2021-2022 Small Grants Fund Awardees
The Centre for Global Disability Studies is excited to announce the recipients of our Small Grants Award program for the July 2021—June 2022 cycle. The Centre awarded a total of $18,534.39 to faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students across all three University of Toronto campuses, representing an increase of $6,734.39 from last year’s funding based on applicant interest. Now in its second year, the Small Grants Award has continued to fund projects that are diverse in scope and focus, representing multiple disciplinary approaches to disability and ableism studies. These fields include media studies, history and philosophy of science, rehabilitation science, anthropology, political science, education and pedagogy, occupational science and therapy, health studies, computer science, language studies, and literary studies. The ever-growing range of inter- and transdisciplinary research encompassed by the Small Grants Award is a testament to the growing popularity and necessity of the CGDS and its grants program. The Small Grants program continues to further our research centre’s threefold mission to support justice oriented anti-ableist research; promote global, transnational, and anticolonial disability studies; and advance disability access on campus, for researchers, and for communities our research serves.
Accessible events continued to be a significant focus for our award recipients. Supporting professional ASL interpreting and live captioning can be essential accessibility elements, and our small grants cover these costs for a variety of units. For example, one grant supported access needs at an event led by Leanne Toshiko Simpson and Miggy Esteban (Social Justice Education, OISE) that featured writers who self-identified as d/Deaf, disabled, Sick, Mad, and/or neuroatypical as part of a community partnership with the Emerging Writers Reading Series. Other events funded in part by our small grants included: a colloquium on “Race, Linguistic Justice, and Critical Approaches to Communicative Competence” organized by Zhaozhe Wang and Sheila Batacharya (Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy); a workshop on “Linguistic Equity and Justice” organized by Derek Denis (Department of Language Studies); and a symposium on “Disability and Theatrical Pleasure” organized by Katherine Williams (Department of English) that brought together disabled theatre scholars and actors.
Accessible creative, public-facing media and projects funded in part by our grants program include Mind the Past, a website dedicated to health and disability rights in history created by Filippo Maria Sposini (Institute for the History & Philosophy of Science & Technology); the feminist website TWIG Research Kitchen created by Zoë Wool (Department of Anthropology); Broadcastability, a podcast on disability in the workplace hosted by Chloë Atkins (Department of Political Science); the rehabINKpodcast led in part by Kyla Alsbury-Nealy (Rehabilitation Sciences Institute); and the creation of a website and film researched and directed by Laura Bisaillon (Department of Health and Society), who investigates how prospective immigrants are deemed “medically inadmissible” when they attempt to settle in Canada. The CGDS also supported a talk given by Robert McGill (Department of English) at the ACCUTE conference, where he discussed how his new novel A Suitable Companion for the End of Your Life is as an instance of research-creation that illustrates fiction’s ability to challenge attitudes about caring for disabled and medically vulnerable people.
These accessible events and media small grants are especially important for encouraging UofT researchers to create knowledge mobilization outputs that are accessible to all researchers and public audiences (e.g. captioning and ASL for events, creating transcripts for podcasts, and image descriptions for websites), thus supporting the element of our Centre’s mission to advance disability access for researchers and the communities that our research serves.
The Small Grants Fund also supported several long-term research projects that will have material gains for disabled people. These include a research working group led by T.L. Cowan (Department of Arts, Culture, and Media; Faculty of Information) that focuses on building more equitable workplace accommodations process and procedures for faculty with ADHD; an investigation into the unmet needs of young stroke survivors led by Mark Bayley and Urvashy Gopaul (Rehabilitation Science Institute); a study that aims to empower and examine supports available for parents of disabled children led by Katie Proctor and Meera Patel (Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy); and a project that involves the mentorship of computer science students by people with spinal cord injuries to ensure that their work is accessible, which is being led by Sonya Allin (Department of Computer Science). These projects contribute to our Centre’s mission to support justice-oriented anti-ableist research.
Reviewing this year’s grants, we find that, in the future, the Centre can develop further supports to encourage more applicants to contribute to the component of our centre’s mission that seeks to promote global, transnational, and anticolonial perspectives, as the majority of this year’s grants were for projects focused on disability and ableism in Euro-Canadian settler society. At the same time, there is a bias here in that transnational disability researchers are already closely involved in the work of the centre and hold major grants, and because transnational projects can take longer to develop, may not be represented in every grant cycle. For example, the Centre continues to collaborate with faculty member Prof. Susan Antebi (Spanish and Portuguese and Latin American Studies) SSHRC Connections grant with disability studies partners in Mexico City.
The Centre for Global Disability Studies is proud to fund this compelling and necessary work through the Small Grants Award program and looks forward to supporting more innovative projects and events like these in the new 2022-2023 cycle.
2020-2021 Small Grants Fund Awardees
In the July 2020-June 2021 cycle the Centre for Global Disability Studies’ Small Grants Award funded ten projects and events. This amounted to $11,800 in funding awarded to faculty and students across all three University of Toronto campuses. The funded projects were diverse in scope and focus, and recipients represented multiple disciplines, including geography, anthropology, languages, literary studies, political science, physical therapy, and education. The range academic fields demonstrates the need for an interdisciplinary, cross-campus research body like the CGDS and the importance of the Small Grants Fund to promote and highlight critical interpretive disability studies research and accessible academic events.
Events funded in 2020-2021 included a colloquium titled “Eugenic Legacies in Mexico and the Americas” organized by Professor Susan Antebi (Spanish & Portuguese), a community conversation on disability and COVID-19 organized by student-activists at OISE, an event titled “The Pandemic, Disability and Parenting” organized by Terri-Lynn Langdon (OISE), and a book launch for Unfixable Forms: Disability, Performance, and the Early Modern Theater by Assistant Professor Katherine Williams (English). These events were funded primarily because of a need for greater accessibility (such as captioning and sign language interpretation) and to ensure that speakers and participants received a modest honorarium where appropriate.
Several creative, public-facing projects received funding. These include Professor Marlene Goldman’s (English) short film adaptation of “Mani Pedi” by Souvankham Thammavongsa, a companion website to the original play I Was Never Alone by Professor Cassandra Hartblay (Health & Society / Anthropology), and two podcasts: one on disability and employment created by Postdoctoral Fellow Andrea Whiteley and Professor Chloë Atkins (Political Science), and another on spinal cord injury created by John Shepherd (Rehabilitation Science). CGDS Small Grants funding contributed support these creative endeavours in development, and thus the researchers’ commitment to projects that connect with communities at large.
In addition we have funded participatory research elements of several long-term projects. These include honoraria for disabled research participants interviewed by Terri-Lynn Langdon (OISE) for the project titled “Women with Disabilities: Seeking Care, Health, and Healthcare Justice,” and honoraria for participants in the PROUD Project on disability and employment by Postdoctoral Fellow Whiteley and Professor Atkins. The grants also funded the cost of an open access license for a new publication by Professor Ron Buliung and collaborators.
The CGDS team is excited about the innovative work that we have had the honour to support through the Small Grants Award in 2020-2021, and hope to continue funding vital projects and events in the future.