Vision, Passion, Action

RBC Institute

With support from the RBC Foundation, the RBC Institute for Disability Studies Research and Education was established to strengthen education of those committed to the rights, inclusion and full social participation of people with disabilities.

Find out more about the Institute

Take a look at some of the research and cultural work made possible through the Ryerson RBC Institute for Disability Studies Research and Education.


Program offerings at the School of Disability Studies have been enhanced and enriched by lectures presented by social movement activists, leaders and scholars.  A diverse range of topics and approaches have been addressed in the following series:

An asterisk (*) indicates that video and/or audio recording of this presentation will be available shortly.


The Annual Activist Lecture

The Annual Activist Lecture is a both a highlight and critical component of our Summer Institute curriculum.  Distinguished social movement activists and leaders reflect on their personal and political experiences in campaigns for social justice locally, nationally and internationally.

David Lepofsky  
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee 
July 17, 2000

Keith Norton  
Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission  
July 16, 2001

Judy Rebick * 
The CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy  
“The struggle for women’s rights in Canada”  
July 8, 2002

Paul Young * 
Past President, People First of Canada and former Chair, Council of Canadians with Disabilities  
July 14, 2003

Judy Finlay 
Chief Advocate, Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy, Province of Ontario  
July 8, 2004 

Jo Dickey, Audrey Cole and Paulette Berthiaume 
Activist Mothers  
“Accidental Activists and their Campaigns to Close Institutions and Secure Human Rights.”  
July 11, 2005

Norman Kunc and Emma Van Der Klift 
Disability Advocates, Storytellers and Educators  
“Hell-Bent on Helping: Benevolence, Friendship and the Politics of Help”  
July 10, 2006

Out from Under Contributors 
“History with Attitude: Showcasing ‘Out From Under’”  
July 9, 2007

Mary Anna Beer  
Grandmothers to Grandmothers CampaignStephen Lewis Foundation  
July 14, 2008

Diane Richler  
President, Inclusion International 
Reflecting on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: “Commitment, Collaboration and Compromise: Tensions in Activism.”  
July 13, 2009



A complex web of historical, cultural and social forces shape the disability experience.  The Intersections series features presentations by distinguished visitors exploring the relationship between disability and other sites of social disadvantage.

Disability and the Holocaust 
Dr. Simi Linton 
Presentation and Screening of Liebe Perla, a film by Shahar Rozen 
November 6-7, 2001

Race, Disability and Activist Culture* 
Leroy Moore 
March 21/22, 2002

A Dialogue on Citizenship* 
Michael Ignatieff 
with Catherine Frazee, moderated by Suhana Meharchand 
December 13, 2002

Charity Telethons and Disability Activism
Prof. Paul Longmore, San Francisco State University 
with respondent panelists, Jijian Voronka, Sandra Carpenter, and Dr. Akua Benjamin 
November 11, 2005

Disability Studies at the ROM  
A series of three public presentations at the Royal Ontario Museum

    Dr. Melanie Panitch with Audrey Cole and Vida Panitch  
    Disability, Mothers and Organization: Accidental Activists 
    Book Launch and Discussion 
    May 9, 2008

    Georgina Kleege  
    Blindness at the Museum  
    May 24, 2008
    (Read an earlier talk upon which this presentation was based)


The Unexpected Visitor Series

An intermittent and serendipitous lecture series that is shamelessly opportunistic!  Scholars who find themselves within reach of the School of Disability Studies share their research findings, conundrums and works in progress.

Dr. Vianne Timmons

From Rhetoric to Reality, a Conference on Inclusive Education
February 25, 2010

Dr. Brian Woods and Dr. Nick Watson, York and Edinburgh, Scotland
Towards A Sociology Of The Wheelchair *
October 17, 2002 

Dr. Timothy Diamond
Associate Professor of Sociology, Western Michigan University
Making Gray Gold: Narratives Of Nursing Home Care
January 29, 2003


Dr. Douglas Myers, Executive Director, Prior Learning Assessment Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Prior Learning Assessment and Postsecondary Education *
January 21, 2004


Dr. Tim Stainton, UBC School of Social Work and Family Studies
Reason's Other:  The Emergence of The Disabled Subject In The Northern Renaissance *
February 19, 2004


Dr. Stephen Tilley, University of Edinburgh
Recovering Narrative Analysis *
October 21, 2004

Dr. Richard Ingram and Dr. James Overboe, Wilfrid Laurier University
PsychoCrips II: An Exploration of Donna Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto  
May 11, 2007