Conference 2021 – Online via Zoom

Coming Together to Celebrate Community

Dr. Cynthia Bruce PhD, MTA, Conference Keynote Speaker

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Coming Together to Celebrate Community

Date: November 6th, 2021

Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm PDT

Location: Online via Zoom

Zoom Link: provided to all participants upon registration

Registration: REGISTER HERE


9:00 am – 9:30 am, Welcome & Introductions

9:30 amΒ  – 11:00 am, Keynote Presentation

11:00 am – 12:00 pm, Lunch

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm, Concurrent Presentations

1:30 pm – 1:45 pm, Break

1:45 pm – 3:00 pm, Community Discussions in Breakout Rooms

3:00 pm – 3:15 pm, Break

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm, Panel

4:15 pm – 5:00 pm, Closing

Mobilizing Disability as Legitimate Lived Knowledge: Implications for Socially Just Practice

Many music therapists are beginning to explore what it means to work in more socially just ways, but disability is often excluded from equity and diversity considerations. Definitions of disability as deficit or lack are dominant, and support is generally grounded in the assumption that the most useful objectives are remediation and cure. This presentation will explore how to mobilize lived disability experience as knowledge that can and must inform music therapy practice. The highly practical nature of critical disability theory will be advanced, and implications for establishing the self-determined needs and relevant supports for disabled people will be examined. There is nothing more practical than a good theory, and together we will discuss how this can actually be true!

Bio: Cynthia Bruce is a blind activist educator and researcher, a Certified Music Therapist (MTA), and an Assistant Professor of Music Therapy at Concordia University in Montreal. Before arriving at Concordia, she taught undergraduate music therapy and graduate education courses at Acadia University and worked locally, provincially, and nationally on capacity-building for equity, accessibility, and disability justice in higher education and employment. She has collaborated with all levels of government to implement accessibility legislation and ratify international disability rights agendas, and she continues to consult with communities and organizations on accessibility and disability rights. Cynthia has served as both Vice-President and Ethics Chair for the Canadian Association of Music Therapists and as President of The Atlantic Association for Music Therapy. She is a current member of the Nova Scotia Accessibility Advisory Board and serves as vice-chair of the education standards development committee.

Her current work aims to bring Critical Disability Studies and disability justice to the centre of intersectional social justice work in Music Therapy. Cynthia’s teaching and research activities amplify the under-represented voices of disabled scholars and practitioners and position the lived experience of disability as a vital source of knowledge that can support explorations of ableist normativity and its capacity to shape relationships between disabled people, their music, and the profession. Disability Studies has much to offer contemporary efforts to analyze and expose, in the context of equity and social justice initiatives, how normative ideals have restricted entry into therapeutic professions through narrow constructions of competence. Cynthia, therefore, works to situate disability as valued diversity through examinations of ableism and dis/ableism and their presence in the everyday practices and priorities of music therapy in Canada and abroad.

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For further information, please contact:

Brittany Robart, MTA
MTABC Conference Chair
[email protected]

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