Speaker Series

Throughout the year Sensorium hosts various events which profile the research of Sensorium members, invited artists, and scholars. These talks seek to promote knowledge mobilization, artistic and/or research collaboration, and engage with other disciplines and communities across the York campus.

All are welcome to attend; no RSVP required!

Sensorium Speaker Series

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from Taien’s most recent work Stratigraphic City (2017)


This talk will be rescheduled at a later date. Please Please visit our Contact Page  if you’d like to subscribe to the Sensorium newsletter for updates.

Taien Ng-Chan(Cinema & Media Arts): Places and Things: Locative and Object-Oriented Storytelling
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
GCFA 214 (Faculty Lounge)
12:30 – 2:00 PM

Taien Ng-Chan is a Hamilton-based writer and media artist, whose research investigates everyday urban life through experimental and locative media, cartography, poetry, and documentary. Place and mobility have been central themes in her works, which have been shown across Canada, in the US, Korea, New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK. She has also published four books and anthologies, produced multimedia websites, and written for stage, screen, and radio. Currently, Taien is developing The Trajectories of Things, which proposes to trace the movement of people through objects that act as repositories of memory. The concept is based on the idea of “thing poetry” (as practiced by poets such as Francis Ponge and Pablo Neruda) and what Taien calls “object-oriented storytelling.” Taien is a founding member of the Hamilton Perambulatory Unit (HPU), an artist-research collective that gives performative walking events, as well as the NEW Committee, a group dedicated to increasing the visibility of BIPOC artists in the Hamilton arts community.


Freya Björg Olafson in ‘MÆ – Aftereffect’ | Photo: Robbie Sweeny

Freya Björg Olafson (Dance): I POST THEREFORE I AM
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
ACE 311
5:30 – 7:30 PM

In a joint colloquium with the Graduate Program in Dance, we are pleased to have Freya Björg Olafson launch our Sensorium Speaker Series. Freya Björg Olafson is an intermedia artist who works with performance, video, audio, and painting. Her creative practice engages with identity and the body, as informed by technology and the Internet. Olafson’s work has been presented in venues around the world, and her video work has screened widely in festivals and galleries. Alongside her university studies, Olafson advanced her training with the Professional Program of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Springboard Danse Montréal. With support from San Francisco’s CounterPulse, she is currently developing a project incorporating virtual reality, slated to premiere in 2018.

Peripheral Visions Speaker Series

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Public Lecture & Masterclass with Professor Hannah Thompson

We are pleased to welcome Professor Hannah Thompson for the final Master Class and Lecture in the Peripheral Vision Speaker Series! Join us this Thursday, March 28th for The Aesthetics of Audio Description Master Class.

ThursdayMarch 28th 11:00am-1:00pm
Sensorium Research Loft (M333), 4th Floor GCFA, York University.
Wheelchair Access | ASL Interpretation Provided
To RSVP email pvl@yorku.ca

This class will use insights from critical disability studies to explore how audio description might enhance the aesthetic experience of both blind and non-blind beholders. Drawing on articles published in the 2018 special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly, ‘Blindness Arts’, we will explore what non-visual ways of engaging with art and artefacts might teach the visually dependent world. When it is made available to everybody and included in the conception of an exhibition or artwork, can audio description be celebrated as a privileged example of “blindness gain” which works to challenge ocularcentric understandings of the hierarchy of the senses?

Friday evening the Peripheral Visions Speakers Series, Tangled Art + Disability and the Bodies in Translation Project present “Blindness Gain and the Art of Non-Visual Reading” a public lecture which celebrates the critical and creative power of blindness.

Friday March 29, 6:00-8:00pm, reception to follow
Location: Tangled Art + Disability, 401 Richmond Street
Wheelchair Access | ASL

Through a discussion of examples from 19th century French literature and art, Professor Thompson will argue that blindness is a fruitful theoretical stance available to both blind and non-blind people, Thompson’s Critical Disability Studies approach will dismantle the traditional hierarchy of the senses and invite new ways of beholding familiar texts and images.

BIO: Professor Thompson has published widely on French literature and theory, the body, gender, sexuality and disability. She is the author of three books on French literature and culture including Reviewing Blindness in French Fiction (1789-2013) (Palgrave, 2017), which marks the start of Professor Thompson’s influential work on the cross-overs between French Studies and Critical Disability Studies. Professor Thompson has published two edited volumes: New Approaches to Emile Zola and Corporeal Practices: (Re)Figuring the Body in French Studies (with Julia Prest). In 2015 she co-organised the Blind Creations conference and micro-arts festival with Vanessa Warne and she is the author of the popular Blind Spot Blog.

The Peripheral Visions Speakers Series is a partnership of the Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts and Technology, VISTA: Vision Science to Application and the Peripheral Visions Lab. This event is co-sponsored by Tangled Art + Disability, Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life, the Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies, The Departments of Theatre and Cinema and Media Arts, and the Performance Studies (Canada) Speaker Series. We are grateful for support from the Canada Research Excellence Fund and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

The Peripheral Visions Speaker Series is co-curated by Mary Bunch, Laura Levin, and Lauren Sergio.


Public Lecture & Master Class with Dr. Kelly Fritsch 

Please join us for the next event in Peripheral Vision Speaker Series as we welcome Professor Kelly Fritsch. Kelly Fritsch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University in unceded Algonquin territory whose work research broadly engages crip, queer, and feminist theory to explore the relations of disability, health, technology, risk, and accessibility.

Masterclass @ York University
Crip Technoscience for Disabled Cyborgs: Access, Community, Politics

Thursday, March 21, 2019 | 11:00am-1:00pm | Sensorium Research Loft
4th Floor of Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts
York University, 4700 Keele Street
For accessibility and to RSVP please contact pvl@yorku.ca

Kelly Fritsch engages with the emerging field of crip technoscience, exploring what it means for disability politics, community, and access. Taking up Alison Kafer’s provocation that disabled people are cyborgs because of their politics rather than their impairments, Fritsch explores the ways in which disabled community forms out of frictional and ambivalent relations to technoscience, marking out the implications of these relations for social justice practices.

Public Lecture @ OISE
Crip Commitments: Disability, Theory, Politics

Thursday, March 21st, 2019 | 6:00-8:00pm | OISE Library
University of Toronto, 252 Bloor St. West
All Welcome – Free | Wheelchair accessible | ASL | Refreshments
For accessibility or additional information,
please contact uoftdisabilitylistserve@gmail.com

New College Disability Studies Speaker Series in collaboration with York University’s Peripheral Vision Speaker Series present the public lecture, Crip Commitments: Disability, Theory, PoliticsEngaging the frictions of crip and disability theory, Kelly Fritsch non-innocently considers the possibilities of radical social change that emerge through knowing and making disability differently.


Sensorium, VISTA and The Peripheral Visions Speaker Series Presents:


March 6, 2019 |  4-5:30 pm in the Joe G. Green Theatre

Dolleen Tisawii’ashiiManning hosts a public conversation with Traditional Doctor and Elder Mona Stonefish on Anishinaabe dream imaging practices and their implications for critical disability studies. Manning worked with her mother and Stonefish in developing her mnidoo theory of consciousness. This interrelational understanding of perception and knowing involves a possession by these living potencies, along with an expanded understanding of vision. In this discussion, they question western conceptions of ability and disability, while also considering the debilitating impact of colonialism.


Rod Michalko – “Blindness Meets the Devil” &
Devon Healy – “The Feel of Blindness”


Venue: The Sensorium Loft
4th Floor, Goldfarb Centre for Fine Art at York University

We are excited to announce the second event in the Peripheral Visions: Critical Disability Arts Perspectives on Vision, a series of public talks, conversations and masterclasses. Join us next week as Peripheral Vision Lab, Sensorium and VISTA welcome Rod Michalko and Devon Healy for an engaging afternoon of public talks. Rod Michalko will be presenting “Blindness Meets the Devil” a paper which explores blindness and how it meets itself, Devon Healywill be presenting “The Feel of Blindness” a paper which examines the feeling of difference in the body which illuminates blindness.


Georgina Kleege: “Blind Self Portraits: Remaking the Image of Blindness”

We are delighted to announce the launch of Peripheral Visions: Critical Disability Arts Perspectives on Vision. This series of public talks, conversations, and master classes—a collaboration between the Peripheral Visions Lab, Sensorium, and VISTA—explores innovative and nuanced perspectives on vision circulating in leading-edge scholarship on critical disability arts.

The series will begin on Wednesday, January 16 with an exciting talk by University of California, Berkeley Professor Georgina Kleege. In this lecture, Kleege explores the ways blindness and visual art are linked in many facets of the culture, speaking from her position as the blind daughter of two visual artists. Due to this background, she claims to know something about art, but recognizes that this claim challenges cultural notions that conflate seeing with knowing. She examines the ways blindness has been represented in philosophy, visual culture, and cognitive science, showing how these traditional understandings of blindness rely on an over-determined, one-to-one correspondence between touch in the blind and sight in the sighted, as if the other senses and other forms of cognition play no role in perception. Unfortunately, this reductive image of blindness often influences the design of museum access programs for the blind, including touch tours and verbal description of art. Kleege places these representations in conversation with autobiographical accounts by blind people, especially blind and visually impaired artists.

Faculty and graduate students are also welcome to participate in a Master Class at the Sensorium Loft on Thursday, January 17, from 11:00am-1:00pm. To sign-up for the Master Class, please RSVP to: pvl@yorku.ca