Dis/Representation: Evolving Disability Conversations


Dis/Representation is a collaborative offering brought to you by the Disability Arts and Culture Project, Portland Community College, and Portland State University. It is open to students, staff, and faculty but also to community members at large.

Our History

This program is a specific response to a need communicated by DACP members, & an answer to broader issues of ableism & community. DACP conducted a listening session & online survey to seek feedback from our community about DACP projects; both Disabled and nondisabled people showed strong interest in an introduction to disability justice and in a reading group on Disability Studies in particular.  Our first year was supported by a grant from Oregon Humanities and our partners.  The readings from the first year are located in the archives.

Our Intent

We offer Dis/Representation as a space for individuals to come together and engage in conversation around disability. We hope to encourage an active examination of the way disability is approached in society as well as the way disability is experienced in our lives.

We chose the image of the foggy mirror with the words Dis/Rep to get at the idea that there are may be differences between the way we see ourselves and the way others see us. Also, that reflections and perceptions are seldom clear – they are often hazy or distorted. We believe that this is also the case with regard to disability identity.

Our Objectives:

1) Provide the rare opportunity for disabled and non-disabled individuals to discuss disability in literature and media; 2) Identify positive portrayals and negative stereotypes of disability; 3) Broaden definitions of justice & inclusion to include considerations of disability; 4) Examine our deeply felt beliefs about which bodies & minds “count” & how we think about disability & imagine–or fail to imagine–the participation of disabled people in our intellectual & cultural lives. 5) Examine the ways that stereotypes in literature and media historically and currently have an impact on the way that disabled people navigate relationships and our place in community.

Our Format

For each of the themes we are presenting through Dis/Representation we offer reading materials and videos as well as questions or prompts. The schedule presents a shared time and space for conversation with both in-person and online options for connection.

Our Commitment to Accessibility

  • ASL Interpreters are available upon request for the in-person meetings.
  • All videos are captioned in advance.
  • All reading materials will be provided in accessible electronic text.
  • Braille, large print, and other formats are available upon request.