Radical Affordances – Concept:

The idea for this conference is grounded in Arseli Dokumaci’s original applications of Gibson’s theory of affordances in the area of critical disability studies. In an interview leading up to the conference, Dokumaci summarized some of her research activities on this topic:

“[W]hat I did in my doctoral and postdoctoral projects was to develop a research program that considered affordances from the lens of disability. I began my research by asking: What if we think of disability not as the negation of an affordance but as an affordance in and of itself? With this question in mind, I embarked on my fieldwork, filming the everyday practices of people with various forms of disabilities. After having been in the field, working together with my research participants – who were very generous and articulate – I came up with this argument: Disabled people – whether they are disabled by an illness, chronic pain and/or the barriers of their environments – relate their bodies to the surfaces and substances around them in highly creative ways. These improvisations not only allow them to feel as little pain as possible, or to skilfully detour around obstacles; they also let their bodily differences, pain and discomforts be expressed in the form of an otherwise unimaginable affordance. These new affordances turn able-bodied norms upside down. They defy the physical, mental and attitudinal moulds into which our bodies are expected to fit. They open up other ways of moving, sensing, acting and being in the environment that we all share.” (Interview published in the McGill Reporter, 13 March 2015)

Radical Affordances – Conference Presenters:

Julie Châteauvert

Arseli Dokumaci

Florian Grond

Jessica Holmes

Aimee Louw

Laurence Parent

Radical Affordances – Event Curation:

Tamar Tembeck

Radical Affordances – Organising Team: Media@McGill 

Jonathan Sterne, Media@McGill Acting Director

Tamar Tembeck, Media@McGill Academic Associate

Sophie Toupin, Media@McGill Project Administrator

Mary Chin, Media@McGill Administrative Coordinator

Radical Affordances – Supporting Partners:

This event is supported by McGill University’s Office for Students with Disabilities and Concordia University’s Critical Disability Studies Working Group.