Vibe Symposium 2018

Vibe logo

Challenging Ableism and Audism Through the Arts

Concordia University
Downtown Montreal

Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2018

“VIBE: challenging ableism and audism through the arts” is a three-day international symposium, happening November 30-December 2 in Montréal, Québec, hosted by Concordia University’s Department of Communication Studies and the Critical Disability Studies Working Group (CDSWG) of the Milieux Institute’s Participatory Media Cluster.

This symposium will gather artists, activists, and academics to share differing perspectives on Deaf and disability arts, advancing the next chapter of intersections between critical disability studies, Deaf studies, the arts, and culture. We mobilize the pop culture term “vibe” to draw attention to the intensity, intimacy, and relationality human beings engage in through artistic practices.

VIBE foregrounds the affective politics of disability and Deafhood, and the potential of research-creation to shift attitudes that subtend discriminatory behaviours in our society. The symposium is an invitation to those working from critical perspectives within disability, Deaf, neurodiversity, mad, illness, crip, race, sexual and other social justice movements to discuss and work through key issues of accessibility, inclusivity, and art. Through performances, research presentations, and roundtables, VIBE will map out new ways of understanding relationships between the arts and Deaf and disability communities. It will explore how the arts and culture can make vital contributions to the transformation of discriminatory attitudes toward Deaf and disabled people.​

Keynote Speakers

Bhekimpilo Paul Tshuma

Paul Tshuma

Montreal-based musician and disability activist

My name is Bhekimpilo Paul Tshuma, born with a congenital disability that has prevented me from walking. I was born in Africa in Zimbabwe, where by I did most my of studies. In 2001, my mother, brother and I moved to Canada, it was huge change for us because we did not know anyone and culture shock but I managed to adapt. In 2002, I enrolled at McGill University and studied "Computer Software Design". During my studies, I continued to write poetry which eventually lead me to compile seven books of which I had the privilege of publishing five of the seven books. In 2006, I was invited to display creative work at an art exhibition in the West Island. Many things happened in that year, my computer studies had terminated and a new chapter was about to begin. 2007, I pursued my passion in music. It was then I bought equipment to help me write my own music. The following year 2008, I went to study music at Concordia University. During the time period of my studies, a friend of mine and brother had already started a gospel group "United Tribulation Choir". The purpose of the choir, was to bring a message of hope, love, joy and inspiration, through our personal experience. I began having opportunities to speak in High schools, Colleges, organizations, Universities and Churches. My topics where; "Overcoming Your Challenges, and Hope". I also have and continue to audit buildings that are not user friendly for people with different mobility. I continue to make sure that the places are accessible. I am currently teaching singing and working on my documentary about my life in Zimbabwe and here in Canada.

Jonathan Sterne

Jonathan Sterne

Professor and James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University

Jonathan Sterne is James McGill Professor of Culture and Technology in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University.  He is author of MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Duke 2012), The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke, 2003); and numerous articles on media, technologies and the politics of culture.  He is also editor of The Sound Studies Reader (Routledge, 2012) and co-editor of The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age (Minnesota, 2016).  His current projects consider the politics of instruments and signal processing; artificial intelligence and culture; and the intersections of disability, technology and perception. His next book, co-authored with Mara Mills, is tentatively titled Tuning Time: Histories of Sound and Speed. Visit his website at .

Special Guests

Emilie Monnet

Montreal-based Anishnaabe artist, founder of Onishka Productions

Glenna Matoush

Montreal-based Anishnaabe artist and elder

Alison Kafer

Professor of Feminist Studies, Southwestern University

Waira Nina

Inga interdisciplinary artist, founder of Yachaikury Educative Institution

Carrie Sandahl

Director of Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities, University of Illinois

David Bobier

VibraFusionLab, London, Ontario

Faye Ginsburg

Professor of Anthropology; Co-director, Center for Disability Studies @ NYU


Friday November 30

  • 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

    Location: EV Black Box

    • Jonathan Sterne (Professor and James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University)
    • Paul Tshuma (Montreal-based musician and disability activist) 

Saturday December 01

  • 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Coffee and tea will be provided

    Location: LB Building: 4th Space

  • 9:30 AM - 10:15 AM
    Welcoming Remarks and Vibrations Exhibition Opening

    Location: LB Building: 4th Space

    • Kim Sawchuk (Communication Studies, Concordia University)
    • David Bobier (VibraFusionLab, London, Ontario) and Samuel Thulin (Communication Studies, Concordia University)
    • Ju Gosling aka ju90 and Julie Newman (Together! 2012, East London, UK)
  • 10:15 AM - 10:40 AM

    Guide participants to the conference centre.

  • 10:40 AM - 12:00 PM
    Panel 1: DisArt Part 1

    Location: MB 9th floor
    A conversation convened by Carrie Sandahl (Director of Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities, University of Illinois)

    • Laura Ferguson (New York-based visual artist)
    • Darian Goldin Stahl (artist and PhD Humanities student, Concordia University)
    • Arseli Dokumaci (artist and professor, Communication Studies, Concordia University)
  • 12:00 AM - 12:40 PM
    Food and casual conversation

    Location: MB 9th Floor
    * Food provided to registered participants.

  • 12:40 AM - 1:20 PM
    Performative Conversation

    Location: MB 9th Floor

    • Emilie Monnet (Montreal-based Anishnaabe artist, founder of Onishka Productions)
    • Waira Nina (Inga interdisciplinary artist, founder of Yachaikury Educative Institution)
    • Glenna Matoush (Montreal-based, Anishnaabe artist and elder)
  • 1:20 PM - 2:10 PM
    Plenary: Indigenous Intersections

    Location: MB 9th floor

    • Emilie Monnet (Montreal-based Anishnaabe artist, founder of Onishka Productions)
    • Waira Nina (Inga interdisciplinary artist, founder of Yachaikury Educative Institution)
    • Glenna Matoush (Montreal-based Anishnaabe artist and elder)
    • Faye Ginsburg (Professor of Anthropology; Co-director, Center for Disability Studies @ NYU
  • 2:10 PM - 2:30 PM

  • 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM
    Panel 2A: Integrated Performance

    Location: MB 9th floor

    • Kelsie Acton (University of Alberta/CRIPSiE), “Access to Structured Dance Improvisation”
    • Anne-Marie Santerre - Conference Presentation on artistic work of AXIS Dance Company
    • Stephen Sillett and Jenny Jimenez (Aiding Dramatic Change in Development [ADCID], Toronto, Ontario) - Presentation on ADCID
  • 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM
    Panel 2B: Research Creation and Ethnography Part 1

    Location: MB 9th floor

    • Cheryl Green (Disability Visibility Podcast/New Day Films ) - “In My Home”

    • Matt Rader (Creative Writing, University of British Columbia) - Reading from Visual Inspection

    • Jim Ferris (Ability Centre Endowed Chair in Disability Studies, University of Toledo) – “Poems in Performance”

  • 3:50 PM - 4:10 PM

  • 4:10 PM - 5:10 PM
    Panel 3: Deaf Music

    Location: MB 9th floor

    • Véro Leduc (Artist and Professor, Département de communication sociale et publique, Université du Québec à Montréal)
    • Daz Saunders (Département de linguistique, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal-based artist)
    • Hodan Youssouf (Montreal-based artist)
    • Pamela Witcher (Gatineau-based artist and educator)
  • 5:10 PM - 7:00PM
    Dinner Break

    * Supper not provided

  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    VIBE Art Night

    Location: EV Blackbox

    • Lois Brown (Newfoundland based artist) - “I am a Genius: Does anyone here know me? (improvisations with things)”
    • Théâtre Aphasique (Montreal-based theatre company)
    • Seeley Quest (Communication Studies, Concordia University) - Performance
    • Véro Leduc (Artist and Professor, Département de communication sociale et publique, Université du Québec à Montréal)
    • Daz Saunders (Département de linguistique, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal-based artist)
    • Pamela Witcher (Gatineau-based artist and educator)
    • Jessica Flores (San Francisco-based YouTube Deaf comedy)
    • Hodan Youssouf (Montreal-based artist)

Sunday December 02

  • 9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
    Coffee and tea will be provided

    Location: MB 9th Floor

  • 9:45 AM - 10:00 AM

    Location: MB 9th Floor

  • 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM
    Panel 4: DisArt Part 2

    Location: MB 9th Floor
    A conversation convened by Alison Kafer (Professor of Feminist Studies, Southwestern University) featuring artists:

    • Salima Punjani (Montreal-based artist)
    • Alexis Bulman (Prince Edward Island and Montreal-based artist)
    • Véro Leduc (Artist and Professor, Département de communication sociale et publique, Université du Québec à Montréal)
  • 11:20 AM - 11:40 AM

  • 11:40 AM - 1:00 PM
    Panel 5: Montreal Disability Arts: Atypique Artists

    Location: MB 9th floor

    • Menka Nagrani (Montreal-based choreographer, Les Productions des Pieds des Mains),
    • Cindy Schwartz (Montreal-based, program director of Les Muses) and Geneviève Bouchard
    • Mélissa Desjardins (Gatineau, Quebec, visual artist)
  • 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
    Art and Lunch

    Location: LB Building: 4th Space
    At the Vibrations exhibition

  • 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
    Panel 6A: Disability and Theatre Making

    Location: MB 9th floor

    • Alex Bulmer (Toronto-based theatre artist), Becky Gold (PhD student, York University), and Megan Johnson (PhD student, York University), “Blind Woman in Search of Narrative”

    • Drea Flyne (MA student and creator, University of Ottawa)

    • Rena Cohen (Vancouver, Real Wheels)

  • 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM
    Panel 6B: Research Creation and Ethnography Part 2

    Location: MB 9th floor

    • Joelle Rouleau (Études cinématographiques, Université de Montréal) and Tamara Vukov (Départment de communication, Université de Montréal)- “Research-Creation and Disability Critiques of Dominant/Traditional Modes
      of Knowledge Production”
    • Eileen Mary Holowka (writer, game developer, and PhD student, Concordia, University)- “The Devil is in the Fractions”: Life Writing and Chronic Pain”
    • Douglas E. Kidd (poet, Toledo, Ohio)- “Embodiment, Autoethnography, and Performance Poetry: Living with Severe Traumatic Brain Injury”
  • 3:20 PM - 3:40 PM

  • 3:40 PM - 4:30 PM
    Artist Talk and Closing Remarks

    Location: MB 9th floor

    • Michael Nimbley and Catherine Bourgeois (Joe Jack et John)
Wave draw 1

Art Showcase

The VIBE symposium will include a display of artworks and projects from:

Alexis Bulman • Ann Louise Davidson • Giuliana Cucinelli • Mélissa Desjardins • Arseli Dokumaci • Rona Soffer • Jonathan Sterne

Location: MB 9th Floor Conference Centre


Alex Bulmer

Alex Bulmer is a blind lesbian actor, writer, director and ukulele player. Originally from Puslinch Township Ontario, Alex has worked primarily in Toronto and the United Kingdom. Her over 25 years in the arts have earned acclaim for work in radio, theatre, film, television and even a recent best actor award at the Moscow International Disability Film Festival (Bolshoe Spasiba!). She has worked with companies including Nightwood, Buddies in Bad Times, Theatre Centre, CBC, The National Arts Centre, Red Dress Productions, Harbourfront Centre, The Royal Court Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, BBC and The London 2012 Olympics.

Alexis Bulman
Alison Kafer

Alison Kafer is a professor of feminist studies at Southwestern University, where she also teaches in the environmental studies and race & ethnicity studies programs. She is the author of the book Feminist, Queer, Crip (Indiana, 2013) and of essays in a number of journals and anthologies, including Disability Studies Quarterly, Feminist Disability Studies, the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Sex and Disability. She is currently working on the question of what comes after crip and disability by engaging concepts of haunting, skin, trauma, and crip cultural production. 

Anne-Marie Santerrre

Anne-Marie is a MA graduated from the Communication and Culture program at York University, Toronto. Her research is concerned with the representation of invisible disability/mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and eating disorder in dance, with the goal of creating a common understanding about the sociological and epistemological status of those issues surrounding by stigmas. With her backgrounds in Philosophy, Art History and Dance, Anne-Marie uses dance to negotiate and create opportunities for interactions between disabled and non-disabled communities.

Becky Gold

Becky Gold is a first year PhD student in York University’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. Her research explores autobiographical theatre creation by cognitively diverse artists as a demonstration of self-advocacy and community activism. In addition to her academic work, Becky also teaches a multi-arts program for cognitively diverse teens and adults in North Toronto.

Carrie Sandahl

Carrie Sandahl is Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Disability and Human Development. She directs Chicago’s Bodies of Work, an organization that supports the development of disability arts and culture. Her research and creative activity focus on disability identity in live performance and film. Sandahl’s publications include a co-edited an anthology, Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance, which garnered the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s award for Outstanding Book in Theatre Practice and Pedagogy (2006). She is collaborating on a documentary, Code of the Freaks, a critique of disability representations in cinema.

Catherine Bourgeois

Catherine Bourgeois has been making theater since 2002. She began in set costume, and lighting design before devoting herself to creating and directing performances for Joe Jack et John, which she co-founded in 2003 and for which she designs and directs all productions. Her show AVALe earned her the Best Director award at the 2014 Gala des Cochons d’Or, as did our previous show Just fake it, in 2012. Just fake it was also awarded a LOJIQ grant.

From 2006 to 2013, in parallel with her life at JJJ, Catherine worked as production manager and assistant to choreographer Margie Gillis, and was thus introduced to many different artists, cities, and stages. For more than five years, she worked at Imago Theatre where – where from 2005 to 2008 she was Associate Director. She also took on several other roles, including directing Théâtre La Chapelle’s award-winning 2008 production of Michael Mackenzie’s The Baroness and the Pig.

Catherine studied directing at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, as well as set design at UQÀM and at the Option-Théâtre in Ste-Thérèse. In 2018, she won the Mid-Career Artist Prize from the Faculty of Arts Foundation at UQAM.

Cheryl Green

Cheryl Green, MFA, MS is a multi-media digital artist, captioner, audio describer, and 2017 AIR New Voices Scholar. She brings her own lived experience with multiple invisible cognitive and physical disabilities to creating media that explores stories and politics from disability communities. Cheryl is an audio producer for the Disability Visibility Podcast and a Member-Owner at New Day Films. Her audio and written blog, transcribed podcast, and documentary films are at

Cindy Schwartz

Cindy Schwartz détient d'une maîtrise en Éducation, de l’université McGill, ainsi qu’un parcours à titre d'interprète et d'enseignante en danse. Elle a fondé en 1997 Les Muses, un organisme unique dédié à la formation et l’intégration professionnelle en arts de la scène des personnes vivant avec un handicap. Depuis, elle assume le rôle de directrice générale et artistique de l'organisme. Au fil des ans, Les Muses a créé des relations enviables avec les milieux artistiques. Luttant avec coeur et conviction pour la reconnaissance, l'inclusion et la participation sociale des artistes atypiques au sein du milieu artistique, son implication et sa contribution auprès de cette communauté ont été plus d'une fois récompensées par le biais de divers prix. Notamment le Prix Janine-Sutto (qu'elle a obtenu à deux reprises) ainsi que le prestigieux prix À part entière de l’Office des personnes handicapées du Québec.

En 2016-2017, vous l’auriez vu à l’émission de télévision ‘Breakfast Television’, ainsi que dans le journal I’Itinéraire, pour parler des Muses en mars 2016. De plus, dans le but d’inclusion des artistes atypiques, elle a été invitée sur la Table de Concertation Culturelle, de l’arrondissement du plateau Mont Royal. Elle aura aussi été au ‘Republic of Inclusion’ du Centre National des Arts du Canada et aura été à une conférence avec le Conseil des Arts de Montréal, en collaboration avec le British Council for the Arts. En outre, elle aurait témoigné durant les consultations publiques du Ministère de la culture et des communications du Québec. En octobre, elle aurait été invitée au Symposium du projet ‘Vibrations’ à l’Université Concordia, pour parler des artistes professionnels vivants une situation d’handicap.

Darian Goldin Stahl

Darian Goldin Stahl is a Printmaker and Bookmaker currently residing in Canada. She is a PhD student in Humanities at Concordia University in Montreal, and was recently awarded Canada’s prestigious Vanier Graduate Scholarship for her research potential. Darian received her MFA in Printmaking from the University of Alberta in 2015, and her BFA in Printmaking at Indiana University Bloomington in 2011. She first studied printmaking at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy in 2008. Darian’s arts-based research focuses on the health humanities, patient narrative, and chronic illness.

David Bobier

David Bobier is an HOH media artist and the parent of 2 deaf children living in London, Ontario, Canada. His creative practice is researching and developing vibrotactile technology as a creative medium. This vibrotactile technology, originally developed for the deaf, is essential in Bobier’s artistic practice for developing more accessible ways of creating and experiencing art in its many forms. This work led to his establishment of VibraFusionLab (VFL) in London, Ontario in 2014, a creative multi-media, multi-sensory centre providing inclusive technologies for supporting accessibility in the arts.

He is also Founder and Past Chair of London Ontario Media Arts Association (LOMAA), Secretary of the Board of Media Arts Network Ontario(MANO/RAMO), Board member of Artist-Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario(ARCCO) and Founder and Co-chair of Tangled London. Modeled after Tangled Art + Disability, Toronto, the collective is dedicated to developing opportunities for Deaf artists, artists with disabilities and artists experiencing isolation to engage in artistic practice and cultural enrichment. In 2014 he partnered with artist Leslie Putnam to form the o’honey collective.

Daz Saunders
Douglas Kidd
Drea Flyne

Drea Flyne is a theatre creator and academic. Currently she is finishing her MA at the University of Ottawa studying theatre and disability. Artistically she wears the many hats of playwright, dramaturge, stage manager, director, and actor. She believes in a collaborative process and engages with theatre and academics with a strong belief that both can help shape our society to becoming more equitable.

Eileen Mary Holowka

Eileen Mary Holowka is a writer, game dev, and PhD student. Her current research focuses on feminist social media practices, sick women"; and vulnerable acts of resistance. She has published on self-imaging, Instagram, online affective labour, and the intersections of media and trauma. Her most recent project, circuits (2018), is a digital narrative about the act of narrating sexual trauma within institutional spaces and can be played for free online.

Emilie Monnet
Faye Ginsburg

Faye Ginsburg is founder and co-director of the Center for Disability Studies at New York University where she is also the founder/ Director of the Center for Media, Culture and History as well as the David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology. Her writing and programming focus on the work of cultural activists and projects of social transformation, from her early research/writing on the US Abortion debates (Contested Lives) to her longstanding writing on/programming with Indigenous media-makers to her forthcoming book (with Rayna Rapp), Disability Worlds: Personhood, Everyday Life and  "the New Normal" in the 21st Century. 

Geneviève Bouchard

Après un baccalauréat en études littéraires, Geneviève écrit le monologue Ombilic dans le cadre sa maîtrise en théâtre à l'École supérieure de Théâtre de l’UQÀM. Dans son mémoire-création dirigé par Larry Tremblay, elle interroge le rapport particulier entre le corps et l’identité au sein d’un personnage féminin dans un monodiscours. En 2007, elle cofonde avec Stéphanie Pelletier la compagnie de créations et de productions théâtrales Collectif [dif]FRACTION. La compagnie présente Ombilic (2009) et Terre Confite (2011) à la salle intime du Théâtre Prospero puis Jusque dans les os (2014) au MainLine Theatre dans le cadre du FRINGE. Elle s'est dernièrement investie dans le jeu d'acteur en suivant des formations aux Ateliers Danielle Fichaud et a décroché un rôle dans Antigone, le prochain film de Sophie Deraspe, ainsi que dans Unité 9.

Dans le cadre de ses fonctions aux Muses : centre des arts de la scène, Geneviève est amené à représenter et défendre les intérêts des artistes vivant une situation de handicap dans divers contextes. En 2014, elle a corédigé avec Cindy Schwartz l’article « Nous aussi, on est des artistes » paru dans la revue TicArtoc revendiquant le droit et l’accès au travail en milieu culturel professionnel des artistes vivant une situation de handicap.

Giuliana Cucinelli

Dr. Giuliana Cucinelli is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Technology Program in the Department of Education at Concordia University, and the co-director of the Participatory Media cluster for Concordia University's Institute for Digital Arts, Culture and Technology. Cucinelli's research-creation program focuses on the social, cultural and educational impacts of technology

Glenna Matoush
Hodan Youssouf
Isabelle Côté
Jennifer Jimenez

Jennifer Jimenez (Co-Exec Director at ADCID (Aiding Dramatic Change in Development). a scenographer and theatre-maker, seeks artistic projects rooted in devised collaborative processes where all elements can play an active role in creation. This can take the form of integrating lighting and design into the rehearsal and creation process, working with community members to create a performance piece or devising an audience interactive piece, where those present are actively involved in meaning making. She has participated in training workshops in collaborative creation with Ariane Mnouchkine’s Teatre Du Soleil, and in Image and Forum Theatre facilitation at the Centres for the Theatre of The Oppressed in London, Toronto, and New York. She is co-founder of Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID) – an organisation creating inspirational experiences for people to influence and transform the world around them.

She has designed lights for various theatre and dance companies in Canada and the UK including the Shaw Festival, The MT Space, InterArts Matrix, The Circus Space, and the Arcola Theatre.  Her work has been seen in Germany, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. She has also assisted lighting designers for Robert Lepage's Ex Machina, The Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage Company and Volcano Theatre. She is a past recipient of a Chalmers Award, and has been twice nominated for the OAC Pauline McGibbon Award in Design. She is an ADC member.

Jessica Flores

Jessica Marie Flores is a Deaf Youtuber/Comedian/Deaf Advocate from San Francisco, California. For the last two years, she has been creating entertaining content that has been educating people on what it is like to be a Deaf or Hard of Hearing person living in a hearing world. She loves making people laugh, having occasional dance-offs, and confidently singing off-key.

Jim Ferris

Jim Ferris is author of Slouching Towards Guantanamo, Facts of Life, and The Hospital Poems. Past president of the Society for Disability Studies and the Disabled & D/deaf Writers Caucus, he has received awards for performance and mathematics as well as poetry and creative nonfiction. Ferris is Poet Laureate of Lucas County, Ohio. He holds the Ability Center Endowed Chair in Disability Studies at the University of Toledo.

Joëlle Rouleau
Kelsie Acton

Kelsie Acton is a Phd Candidate at the University of Alberta, researching timing in integrated dance. She is also the Co-Artistic Director of CRIPSiE, Edmonton’s integrated dance company. Her research is supported by a SSHRC
Doctoral Fellowship and her art has been supported by the Canada Council and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. She is certified in Dance Ability, the internationally recognized system for teaching inclusive dance improvisation.

Kim Sawchuk

Kim Sawchuk, Principal Investigator of the ACT team,  is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University, Concordia University Research Chair in Mobile Media Studies and the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies- Faculty of Arts and Science. Sawchuk has been writing on age, ageing and its cultural impact since 1996. She is most well-known for her research on “seniors and cell phones” conducted with Dr. Barbara Crow of York University as well her research-creation work in Critical Disability Studies. Sawchuk is a co-founder of the Mobile Media Lab (York-Concordia) located in Concordia’s Department of Communication Studies. She has just completed a six-year term as the editor of the Canadian Journal of Communications ( and she is the co-editor of Wi: journal of mobile media ( In addition to her academic research, in 1996 Sawchuk co-founded of StudioXX, a feminist research and media arts centre in Montréal.

Laura Ferguson

Laura Ferguson is an artist who draws her own body, from the inside out: tuning in to sensory and kinesthetic perceptions and finding beauty in a curving spine. Her drawings are based on her work with dance anatomy and movement practice and grounded in anatomical reality, including 3D radiology scans of her body made for her use as an artist. Laura brings her artist’s perspective to the NYU School of Medicine as Artist in Residence in the Master Scholars Program in Humanistic Medicine. Her innovative drawing class, held in the Anatomy Lab, is the subject of a new book, Art & Anatomy: Drawings (University of California Medical Humanities Press, 2018). Her drawings and prints have been featured in galleries and museums in New York and around the country. To see more:

Lois Brown

anyone here know me will premiere at FND in October.

Matt Rader

Matt Rader is the author of four volumes of poetry, most recently, Desecrations (Penguin Random House 2016), and the collection of stories, What I Want to Do Goes Like This (Nightwood 2014). A past winner of the Joseph S. Stauffer Prize for Literature from the Canada Council for the Arts, his work has appeared widely in journals, magazines, and anthologies. Rader teaches and researches literary arts in the Department of Creative Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

Megan Johnson

Megan Johnson is a performance scholar, arts administrator, and dramaturg, currently pursuing a PhD in theatre & performance studies at York University. She holds an MA in theatre & performance studies (York), an MA in musicology (uOttawa) and a BMus in voice (Acadia). Her research interests are centered around disability performance, infrastructural politics, and inclusive dramaturgy. Megan is a recipient of the Elia Scholars Program at York University.

Mélissa Desjardins

Amoureuse de la vie et de l’engagement communautaire sans frontières, sa vie prend un virage insoupçonné lorsqu’elle apprend qu’elle est atteinte de la sclérose en plaques. Alors qu’elle perd progressivement la faculté de bouger elle développe des expressions artistiques originales au travers du dessin de la danse et de l’écriture Elle participe à des projets collectifs et expositions, et entretient deux blogs, toujours en cherchant à établir des liens vrais et à contribuer au « Vivre ensemble »

Menka Nagrani
Michael Nimbley

Michael Nimbley has been studying theatre at Les Muses – Centre des arts de la scène since 2004. A bilingual actor (English/French), the extent of his talent was apparent in 2006 and 2008 in Le temps des marguerites, presented at Tangeante. With his ineffable charisma and singular voice, this mature actor played the lead role in Joe Jack and John’s Mimi, myself et tous ceux qui me regardent in 2009. In 2010, Michael appeared in the Cabaret Les Muses at l’Astral, playing a troubling character in an excerpt from Edward Albee’s Zoo Story alongside the actor Frédéric Lavallée. After Earning his Best Actor award at the 2012 Gala des Cochons d’Or for his role in Just fake it (Joe Jack et John), he toured with the show in Rimouski, Laval, Liège and Berlin. “His onstage presence and his sincerity are disarming,” wrote Suzanne Vallières-Nolet on the website Plein Espace. Michael participated in the creation of AVALe, presented at Théâtre aux Écuries in March 2014 and Abîmés in 2016 at Théâtre Denise-Pelletier. This last collaboration marked his fourth with Joe Jack et John, while since 2018 he is artist in residency with the company. His film credits include Eric Savoie’s Cendres, presented as part of Kino in 2007, as well as Louise Archambault’s most recent film, Gabrielle. Television roles include Annie et ses hommes. Michael is also passionate about curling.

Pamela Witcher

Montreal | American Sign Language, Langue des signes Québécoise, Maritime Sign Language, English and French | Bachelor of Social Work, McGill University and Applied Museum Studies, Montmorency College | Interpreter, translator, cultural mediator, museum curatorship, artist and manager

Pamela is motivated by exploration and advancement. Pamela finds it necessary to overlap old and new discoveries that have the power to change views and ideas. When the Deaf communities create information through art and documentation, our existence become concrete, known and valued.

To highlight a few accomplishments, Pamela’s works have been featured in Edinburgh International Book Festival, Ecomusée du fier monde, Quebec on the Move!, À Bâbord, Signed Music: A Symphonious Odyssey and Montréal Campus. Two of her most recent signed music performances were portrayed at a Celebration of Sign Language 2015: Revisiting Language, Literacy, and Performing Arts symposium at Towson University, Maryland and Les Drags te font signe at Chez Mado, Montreal (2017).

Rena Cohen
Rona Soffer
Salima Punjani

Salima Punjani is a social artist based in Montreal, Canada. She is passionate about creating collaborative creative projects that give people an opportunity to reclaim their narratives. She is currently a graduate social work student at McGill University, doing her internship at the Museum of Fine Arts. To see her past work you can visit

Samuel Thulin

Samuel Thulin is a researcher and artist working at the intersection of mobilities research, communication and media studies, and sound studies. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University working in Milieux’s Participatory Media cluster. He recently completed a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Mobilities Research and the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts at Lancaster University. Through his academic and artistic work he investigates how relationships to place, space, and location are entangled with multiple (im)mobilities and with developments in mobile communication technology. Thulin has written about and created artworks exploring: mobile listening and mobile production; confluences of cartography and auditory culture; locative media and contested senses of place; the situatedness of mobile practices; and creative and emergent methodologies.

Seeley Quest
Stephen Sillett 

Stephen Sillett (Co-Exec Director at ADCID (Aiding Dramatic Change in Development). Currently undertaking research for a practice based PhD, looking at Psychological Perspectives on his professional practice, looking at learnings and reflections of participants exploring Social Topographies and creating Fabric Map and embodying their lived realities. Stephen has over 12 years experience engaging community members through participatory theatre for development. In 2004, he co-created the InFusion Performance a multi disciplinary, audience immersive event, which involved music, dance, spoken word and video in London UK. This proved a key experience in his exploration into how artists from different art forms relate to theatre performance aesthetically, logistically and culturally, that still informs his work. This was the seed for ADCID’s InFusion Lab.

He has worked with deep rural communities in South Africa, setting up the Zisize drama group in Ingwavuma, which toured schools facilitating workshops and forum theatre on peer influence for 6 years. He also trained staff and developed projects in South Africa with Tholulwazi Uzivikele (Empower Yourself through Knowledge) to engage community members around water issues. He approaches all his community development projects through an asset-based lens – recognising the strengths and assets that lie within the experience and knowledge of the community members.  His focus in Toronto has been inclusion and community building. The last six years, he has been on a creative journey with a group of community members who have Cerebral Palsy and use alternative forms of communication. This has evolved into the Imagining Possibilities Project where the group are developing ways of creating and expressing their stories through performance arts. With ADCID he recently begun a series of Roots to Passionate Community Building workshops out of Artscape Youngplace, as part of the CrossGEN: initiative in Toronto – working towards a more inclusive and welcoming community.

Tamara Vukov
Véro Leduc

Artiste et chercheure engagée, Véro Leduc est professeure au département de communication sociale et publique et au programme d’action culturelle à l’UQÀM. Première professeure d’université sourde au Québec, elle est titulaire d’un doctorat en communication et d’une maitrise en travail social. Chercheure associée au partenariat de recherche Ageing + Communication + Technologies, à Cultures du témoignage, au Groupe de recherche sur la médiation culturelle, à l’équipe Pratiques sociales et surdité du Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et intégration sociale et au Critical Disability Studies Working Group, ses projets et ses pratiques s’articulent à travers des démarches de recherche-création et des perspectives critiques, féministes, queer, intersectionnelles, crip (handicapées) et sourdes.

Waira Nina


Quiet Space

The location where we will share meals will be open during conference sessions for those who may need a break, or who would like to have a quiet place with.

We respect people's diverse ways of participating in events such as these and we invite you to do what you need to do to feel as comfortable as possible (stretch, take breaks, use softwares…). We, the organizers will follow and respond to our own accessibility needs as well.

If there is any accessibility information that we haven't provided, please get in touch ( and we will be happy to search it out


ASL and LSQ interpretation will be provided for all VIBE events and sessions, except for one of the simultaneous panels during Saturday and Sunday.


All locations, including bathrooms, are accessible for people using wheelchairs and other mobility aids.

Wave draw 1

Getting to the Symposium

The conference will be held at Concordia's, Sir George Williams campus in downtown Montreal.


Concordia University


Black Box (EV building, SS3 floor)
1515 Ste Catherine street west.


MB Building (9th floor)
1450 Guy Steet


4th space (LB Building)
1400 De Maisonneuve Ouest - corner of Mackay


Concordia is located near a few major bus routes:
• From west of Guy street: Route # 15 along Sainte-Catherine street
• From east of rue Bishop: Route # 15 along De Maisonneuve blvd
• From east or west: Route # 24 along Sherbrooke Street, Bishop stop
• From Cote-des-Neiges: Route #165

All city buses have ramps, however, there are often problems with how well they work. The buses with front ramps work better than those at the back. If you require a ramp to board the bus we suggest verifying if the bus has a ‘front ramp’ on the STM bus schedule. Bus schedules available here:


Below is a list of taxis with adapted minivans. Please note that it can be difficult to access these rides because there is a shortage of accessible taxi vehicles in Montreal. Some companies may request a cost higher than the metre. In Quebec it is illegal to charge more for an accessible taxi. You have the right to pay the fee that is signified on the metre.

Hypra Taxi (514-312-3003)

Taxi Hochelaga (514-322-2121)

Taxi Boisjoly, Rosemont, Villeray (514-255-1313)

Taxi Para adapté (514-254-8885)

Taxi Van Médic (514-739-9933)


If you use the metro: Guy-Concordia Station.

***Please note that this station is not wheelchair-accessible. There are no elevators and no escalators from the train platform to the main-level of the station.

Transport Adapté (paratransit)

Drop-off location is at 1515 Sainte-Catherine west.

***If you would like someone to meet you at that stop and accompany you to the location of the conference, please let us know and we will arrange this.

Visitors from elsewhere in Quebec

If you are already registered for a paratransit service in Quebec, you are eligible for the STM's paratransit program. If not, you can still use paratransit services if you use a wheelchair at all times.

Visitors from outside Quebec

Visitors from outside Quebec can use paratransit services if they use a wheelchair at all times. For more info, call 514-280-8211 or visit STM’s website:



Coordinators | Directors

Kim Sawchuk
Samuel Thulin


Jay Dolman
Véro Leduc


Ashley McAskill
Darian Goldin Stahl
Luciano Frizzera
Carly McAskill
Andrea Tremblay
Annick Davidgnon
Eric Powell
Scott DeJong

Undergraduate and Diploma Student Assistants

Helena Dardelet • Elise Timm-Bottos • Clarisa Mendoza  • Jenifer Zipper • Leni Krivy • Prakash Kirshnan • Cassidy Gordon


Jordan Goldman • Kat Germain • Geneviève Bujold • Annie Brisebois  • Sara Houle • Geneviève Bujold • Liz Scully • Jennifer Roberts • Jordan Goldman • Sandra Saoumaa

The Accessibility Challenge: Building an Accessible Game Pad for Users with Parkinson’s

Giuliana Cucinelli • Ann Louise Davidson • Ivan Ruby • Bojana Krsmanović • Nathalie Duponsel • Rhonda Chung • Tristan Matheson • Maryam Shoja • Mehdi Shahparnia