Additional DRF Seminar: Disability Politics & Activism – Experiences from Iceland w/ Embla Guðrúnar Ágústsdóttir and Freyja Haraldsdóttir

Apologies for the short notice, but all welcome to a (last minute) and additional Disability Research Forum seminar

Date: Monday 2nd March, 2-4, Room 10211


Embla Guðrúnar Ágústsdóttir and Freyja Haraldsdóttir have for the last decade been at the forefront in disability and feminist activism in Iceland. They have lectured about disabilism, ableism, stereotypes, prejudice, the educational system, sexuality, professionalism, intersectionality, cultural and structural violence and more in schools, colleges and universities in Iceland and on conferences around Europe.

They both worked at the Independent Living Centre in Iceland from 2009-2014 and pioneered work concerning personal assistance and deinstitutionalization. They also lead development of peer support and counseling for disabled people who were seeking to get personal assistance to gain independence and freedom in their lives.

In March 2014 Freyja and Embla founded Tabú, informal space for self-identified disabled women to participate in activism, share their experience and knowledge with each other and tell their stories, both in saver spaces and publicly available on the web site of Tabú (see https://tabu2014.wordpress.com/english/).

The aim of Tabú is also to open up discussions about things that on are often not allowed or shied away from in public talk about disability – things that are considered a taboo. That is done by publishing articles, giving presentations, organizing workshops and taking political action.

Tabú’s work is based on the principles of feminism, the Independent Living Movement, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, queer theory and ideas on intersectionality.

Freyja and Embla are living in Manchester until August 2015 studying at Manchester Metropolitan University as exchange students. Embla’s academic background is in Sociology and Gender Studies and Freyja’s in social pedagogy, Practical Equality Studies and Gender Studies.

In this presentation Freyja and Embla will discus their experience of activism, both the Independent Living Movement in Iceland and Tabú. They will explain why they decided to change approach in disability activism and how the transition from a male dominant space to building up a feminist platform in activism has developed. They will also shed a light on the importance of international cooperation and the opportunity of working with disabled women around the world.

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