Mark is a national leader in the development of sustainable public places. In the last decade he has directed, facilitated, or inspired designs for more than three hundred new community-generated public places in Portland, Oregon alone. Through his leadership in Communitecture, Inc., and it’s various affiliates such as the The City Repair Project (501(c)3), The Village Building Convergence, and the Planet Repair Institute, he has also been instrumental in the development of dozens of participatory organizations and urban permaculture design projects across the United States and Canada. Mark works with governmental leaders, community organizations, and educational institutions in many diverse communities.
Frank DeRuyter, PhD is Professor at Duke University Medical Center and Principal Investigator of the LiveWell Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for ICT Access. His work is focused on promoting ICT access to emerging technologies for all people regardless of ability.
Dr. Kim E. Nielsen is a scholar of disability, gender, and history in the Disability Studies Program at the University of Toledo. In addition to numerous articles, her books include A Disability History of the United States (Beacon, Oct 2012); Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Remarkable Life of Anne Sullivan Macy and Her Extraordinary Friendship with Helen Keller (Beacon, 2009); Helen Keller: Selected Writings (NYUP, 2005); and The Radical Lives of Helen Keller (NYUP, 2004). She is co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Disability History (Oxford University Press, 2018), and completing The Doctress and the Horsewhip: Insanity, Patriarchy, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century America. She also co-edits Disability Histories, a book series at the University of Illinois Press. In 2010 the Organization of American Historians honored Nielsen by appointing her a Distinguished Lecturer. Other awards include the 2007 A. Elizabeth Taylor Prize of the Southern Association of Women Historians, a Founders Award for Excellence in Teaching, an NEH Summer Fellowship, and a Fulbright Scholars Award. Nielsen holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Iowa.
Dr. David Luxton’s research and writing are focused in the areas of technology-based psychological treatments, telehealth and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) applications in mental health care. Much of his work has centered on telemental health with an emphasis on clinical best-practices. He has also conducted extensive research in the areas of military psychological health and suicide risk and prevention. Dr. Luxton is Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on several federally funded clinical trials. He is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Washington State.
Kat Holmes is the Director of Inclusive Design at Microsoft, where she is recognized for her thought leadership in reexamining disability and diversity as a source of innovation. Holmes was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2017. At Microsoft, she leads a team of designers, strategists and researchers to improve the inclusivity of products such as Windows, Cortana, Xbox and Office.
What would it take for our cities and towns to be inclusive of everyone’s needs? For those living with a disability, this is the crux: basic urban infrastructure, services and facilities are either difficult to use or out of bounds altogether. The need for sustainable solutions is ever-more critical considering that two-thirds of the world’s population are expected to reside in urban environments by 2050.
More than ever, people work, play, learn, research, receive health care, transact commerce, experience community participation and conduct personal communication through technology. For the nation’s 57 million people living with disabilities and for the billion plus worldwide, access to the virtual landscape is a critical means of civic engagement and economic opportunity. Without it, persons with disabilities lack the same prerogatives that their fellow citizens are free to enjoy. Today technological inclusion is a civil rights issue.
Disability Studies cultivates a critical narrative consciousness to unlock understandings of disability in the context of multiple disciplines, experiences, and perspectives. If we are to ably turn indisputably attractive words like “diversity” into concrete actions that make a difference, we need to share scholarship and research into the broad panoply of perspectives on impairment. First, we are compelled to ask how these perspectives been shaped by varied ideas in cultural identity, social conditions and social justice?