Unexpected Movements: A Symposium for Automatisme Ambulatoire

14 September 2019
Motyer-Fancy Theatre
Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts, Mount Allison University
152 Main Street, Sackville, NB

This one-day symposium features curator Amanda Cachia along with four Disability Studies scholars from Canada and the United States discussing their work in the context of the exhibition Automatisme Ambulatoire: Hysteria, Imitation, Performance. Recognizing that our society imposes certain norms and expectations on bodies, language, and movement, this symposium explores ways to challenge, question, and undermine such norms as a means of welcoming the unexpected and reclaiming space for all bodies.

Organized in partnership by Jane Dryden, Department of Philosophy, the Owens Art Gallery and the Centre for Canadian Studies, Mount Allison University.

Registration Deadline: 1 September 2019
All events and meals are free, but registration is required.
Registration Form:


9:30 am
Registration and Coffee

10:30–10:40 am
Introduction and Welcome

10:40 –11:30 am

Eliza Chandler, Imitation in the Cultural Landscape, and Kelly Fritsch, On Making and Breaking with Disability

11:30–12:00 pm

12:00–1:00 pm 
Lunch in the Foyer of the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts 

1:00–2:30 pm
Amanda Cachia, Alyson Patsavas, and Joshua St. Pierre

2:30 pm
Group excursion to the Owens Art Gallery to visit Automatisme Ambulatoire: Hysteria, Imitation, Performance, featuring performances of tributary by Claire Cunningham

4:30 pm
Screening of Hystera Theater by My Barbarian

5:30 pm
Dinner in the Foyer of the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts

Symposium Program PDF
Symposium Program Large Print PDF


Amanda Cachia received her PhD in Art History, Theory & Criticism at the University of California, San Diego, in Spring, 2017, and is an independent curator and critic from Sydney, Australia. She is also the first full-time Assistant Professor of Art History at Moreno Valley College in the Riverside Community College District in Southern California. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary art, curatorial studies, disability studies, performance, choreography and politics; activist art and museum access; feminist and queer theory; and phenomenology.

Eliza Chandler is an Assistant Professor in the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University and, previous to this role, was the Artistic Director of Tangled Art + Disability, a disability arts organization in Toronto, Canada. Chandler’s research brings together disability arts, disability studies, and activism, including her co-directorship of Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life. Chandler is also a practicing curator.

Kelly Fritsch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada (unceded Algonquin Territory). Her research broadly engages crip, queer, and feminist theory to explore the relations of disability, health, technology, risk, and accessibility. She has published over twenty journal articles and book chapters, is co-editor of Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle (AK Press, 2016), and has co-edited special journal issues of Somatechnics, Feminist Formations, and Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. Fritsch is currently collaborating on a disability themed children’s book, while concurrently working on two books engaging disability justice and crip theory for UBC Press’ Disability Culture and Politics series.

Alyson Patsavas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is also the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies. Her scholarship is situated at intersections of disability studies, feminist theory and queer theory, and focuses on the cultural politics of pain, health, and illness, as well as representations of disability in film, television, and popular culture. Her work appears in Different Bodies: Essays on Disability in Film and Television, The Feminist Wire, Somatechnics, Disability Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. Patsavas is also a writer and producer on the forthcoming documentary film Code of the Freaks, which examines crip culture’s response to Hollywood representations of disability.

Joshua St. Pierre is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta and holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Alberta. He specializes in critical disability theory at the intersection of contemporary political, feminist, and communication theory. The overarching theme of his research is a critique of fluency— those technologies that seek to make information flow unimpeded across material bodies. He has numerous academic publications on speech disabilities, the history of Speech-Language Pathology, eugenics, and feminist theory. Joshua is also a co-founder of the Did I Stutter project, a knowledge-translation and activist community created by and for stutterers to embrace dysfluent voices and raise awareness of speech discrimination.