Laurence Parent: Abstract and Biography

Laurence Parent

Abstract: “Wheeling New York City”

In May 2013, I went to Québec City to present a paper in a disability studies conference. I knew that I would not have access to accessible transportation. I decided to attach my Go Pro camera to my wheelchair and film my journey. I used that footage to make Cripping the Landscape: Québec City, a short video documentary charting my thirty-five minute journey on wheels from Université Laval to the train station in Québec City, which was a distance of five kilometers, told from the temporal point of view of my wheelchair. Cripping the Landscape: Québec City expresses the desire to impair ableism and to damage the structures of power that reinforce the “normalcy” of ableist architecture. After making that video, I started thinking about what it means to wheel in cities and how mobile media could be used to develop new methods for the critical study of disability. I argue that “wheeling” – the act of getting around using a wheelchair – is also a mobile practice. In this presentation, I will talk about the first wheeling interviews I have been conducting with disabled people in New York City.

Biography: Laurence is a PhD candidate in humanities at Concordia University. She holds a MA in critical disability studies from York University and a BA in political science from Université du Québec à Montréal. She lives in Montréal and is passionate about disability activism and mobility. She wrote, directed and produced her first documentary filmJe me souviens: Excluded from the Montréal subway since 1966which has won the award of Emerging Artist at the 2010 International Disability Film Festival in Berkeley. She is currently working with the m.i.a. collectivea collective of researchers, affiliated with the Mobile Media Lab, who are engaged in interdisciplinary projects that contain practice-led and theoretical inquiries into the confluences of critical disability studies and mobility studies. Laurence’s doctoral research is an oral history project that examines disabled people’s sense of belonging in Montréal and New York City. Laurence is particularly interested in the use of mobile media technologies enabling the creation of new methods for the critical study of ableism.

Read an interview with Laurence Parent on her current activism and research.