KU Libraries to host panel discussion and musical jam session highlighting staff, faculty and students centering disability in their work

KU Libraries will host a panel discussion and musical jam session on Wednesday, Nov. 30 with staff, faculty and students who center disability in their departments and classrooms in conjunction with the 2022-23 KU Common Book, “Disability Visibility.”

The panel event, held in combination with KU Libraries’ exhibition, “Expanding the Canvas of Disability,'' will explore work done on disability studies and activism at KU. The featured panel speakers are Ray Mizumura-Pence, professor of American Studies, and Megan Williams, assistant director of the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity (ETWGE). Samantha Bishop-Simmons, humanities librarian, will moderate the talk.

“Working on the exhibit made me understand how much work surrounding disability is already on this campus,” said Sarah Goodwin Thiel, faculty & community engagement librarian and coordinator of the Haricombe Gallery. “This panel is another opportunity to listen and engage directly with faculty and students who are the ones centering disability in their coursework and creating new knowledge that has an impact on everyone.” 

Mizumura-Pence’s work as a scholar focuses heavily on disability studies. He will discuss some of his work, including his “Stories for All” project to collect oral histories of and by disabled people in Kansas.

Williams will share the 2022-23 ETWGE collaborative zine project, “Disability Justice is a Feminist Issue.” The ETWGE put out the call for submissions to the campus community and beyond as a way to engage with the Common Book Program and to center disability justice in the department.

“I’m really excited to hear Ray and Megan talk about the work they are doing with students,” Goodwin Thiel said. “They are both engaged in this work and have a lot of impact on the KU campus.”

The panel discussion will be followed by a musical “jam session” led by American Studies professor Sherrie Tucker with AUMI-KU InterArts, a research group dedicated to developing and sharing the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI). The AUMI software enables people with limited motor functions to engage in music making.

The panel discussion will be held at 4 p.m., Wednesday, November 30, in Watson Library 3 West. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session and the AUMI jam session. Register for the event online. For more information about the event and exhibition, please contact Sarah Goodwin Thiel.