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In celebration of Bess Williamson’s Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design, which was awarded the 2019/20 Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Book Prize, leading disability history scholars, artists, and designers will discuss studies of access and design history.

In the morning, “Conversations” brings together writers on architecture, space, and sound to reflect on the role of disabled activists, designers, and engineers in producing the technological world we live in. As longtime collaborators and correspondents, they also share correspondences between their work across academic fields that come together in the practices of Disability Studies.

The afternoon panel brings together Riva Lehrer, Jennifer White-Johnson, and Josh Halstead—artists, designers, writers, and creative thinkers with deep ties to activist and creative histories of disability. They share their own practices that draw on disability community and justice stories of past and present. Author Bess Williamson will moderate and invite audience discussion.

March 18, 10 am–12 pm and 1:30–3 pm

Cart captioning and ASL provided. All visual material will be described.

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Morning Session, 10 am–12 pm
Conversations on Disability History and Academic Community

Bess Williamson (author, Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design) with Aimi Hamraie (author, Building Access: The Politics of Universal Design)

Jonathan Sterne (author, Diminished Faculties: A Political Phenomenology of Impairment) with Mara Mills (author, Hearing Loss and the History of Information Theory)


Afternoon Session, 1:30–3 pm
Who Makes Access? Designer + Artist roundtable

Moderated by Bess Williamson. With Riva Lehrer (artist, author of Golem Girl), Jennifer White-Johnson (designer, creator of “Black Disabled Lives Matter” symbol and other work celebrating Autistic Joy), and Joshua A. Halstead (designer, co-author of Extra Bold: A Feminist, Inclusive, Anti-Racist, Non-Binary Field Guide for Graphic Designers)

The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Book Prize is awarded annually to the best book on the decorative arts, design history, or material culture of the Americas. The prize rewards scholarly excellence and commitment to cross-disciplinary conversation.

This event will be held via Zoom. A link will be circulated to registrants by 8 am on the day of the event.