PLEASE NOTE: Submission Deadline has closed.

Theme: Disability as Spectacle

Disability is experiencing a new wave of visibility in popular culture from autobiographies and parent memoirs on disability to characters with disabilities in film and television to new inclusive initiatives in the areas of art and dance.  The examples are numerous: Dancing with the Stars recently featured a veteran amputee, a major motion picture, Kingsman, featured a disabled woman as a central figure, double amputee and fashion supermodel, Aimee Mullins, continues to grace the pages of popular fashion magazines like Elle, Vogue, and Bazaar, and of course the inclusion of disabled athletes, like South African Olympic swimmer Natalie du Toit and NFL player Derrick Coleman, in amateur and professional sports have brought further attention to the achievements and life experiences of people with disabilities.

This new visibility raises important questions about how disability is depicted in mass media and which disabilities are excluded or rendered invisible in this new cultural landscape.  Does our current moment’s heightened awareness of disability produce benefits or disadvantages in other social, political, or economic spheres?  The film and television industry’s central role in disability’s changing status makes Los Angeles the ideal location to reflect upon disability as spectacle.

Click here to download and forward the Call for Proposals as a PDF file.

Conference Timeline

  • July 15, 2016: DEADLINE for Abstracts
  • September 1, 2016: Conference participants notified of proposal status
  • November 1, 2016: Conference registration opens
  •  November 15, 2016: All conference presenters must be registered
  • April 13-14, 2017: Conference in Los Angeles


All submissions are peer-reviewed. All session formats are 75 minutes in length, including all introductions, presentations, discussion, and closure.


All Abstracts must include 3-5 keywords for the proposal. Proposals may be submitted for presentations in any of the following formats:

Complete Panels:
Groups of 3-4 presenters (each with 15-20 minutes) and a designated organizer/contact person and moderator (need not be the same person) are encouraged to submit proposals around a central topic, theme, or approach. Panel proposals require a 150-word proposal describing the panel AND a 150-word abstract for each paper/presentation. List all paper/presentation co-authors, identify the presenting author(s), and provide credentials for the moderator.

Individual Presentation:
Individual presentations will be placed alongside two or three other panelists with a similar topic and a moderator chosen by the Program Committee. In general, we assume 15-20-minute presentations (if you are requesting more time, please specify and explain why). Presenters are required to submit a 150-word abstract for individual papers/presentations. List all co-authors, if any, and designate the presenting author(s).

A 75-minute engaging, participatory workshop addressing an overarching theme. Submissions should include a 150-word proposal that addresses methodology and anticipated learning outcomes. Proposals must describe the format of the workshop. How will you use the time? Please describe the credentials and role of each workshop participant, designate a contact person/moderator, and provide complete contact information for each planner/presenter.

Performance, Film or Art Event/Exhibit:
A creative/artistic performance by individuals and/or groups (75 minutes). Submissions must include a 150-word proposal and sample of the proposed work (demo DVD, YouTube or other Internet link, or other appropriate format). Send via email to or postal mail to UCLA Disability Studies Program, A265 Murphy Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095. Please include role of each artist/participant and designate a contact person and moderator. Include all accessibility and AV/tech needs.

Special Notes for Performances: Performers should be aware that the conference does not have the ability to provide theatrical and/or stage settings. While every effort will be made to provide appropriate performance spaces, proposing performers are advised that special lighting, audiovisual equipment, and staging requests cannot be accommodated.

Special Notes for Films: Ideally, film submissions do not exceed 60 minutes in length in order to allow for commentary and discussion. All film entries accepted for presentation at the Conference must be provided to the Conference Committee on DVD no less than 30 days prior to the start of the Conference in open-captioned format, and the film’s sponsor should be prepared to provide audio description as needed. As UCLA cannot pay distribution rights for film screenings, the film’s sponsor is fully responsible for securing any necessary permissions from trade and copyright holders for public screening. Sponsors of accepted films must register for and attend the conference, host the screening, bring documentation of rights clearance to the conference and make it available during the film screening. UCLA may request the right to schedule more than one screening at the conference. The UCLA program committee may request more samples and cannot return materials that are submitted for consideration.


  • Avoid all scented products while at the conference.
  • Bring the materials you need on a jump drive. Internet access may not be available in your presentation room.
  • Bring a few print copies for audience members who would like to follow along with you.
  • Offer large-print copies (17-pt. or larger) of your full presentation and handouts at your session (feel free to add a disclaimer: “Please do not distribute without the expressed permission of the author” and include your name and contact information).
  • Be prepared to project your full presentation should captioning fail.
  • Avoid reading your paper.
  • Present at a comfortable pace that makes possible accurate CART transcription and ASL interpretation.
  • Avoid using jargon
  • Allow time for eye contact and spelling proper names and terminology.
  • Provide audio description of visual images, charts and video/DVDs, and/or open or closed captioning of films and video clips.
  • If you incorporate PowerPoint slides into your presentation:
  • Use a high contrast color scheme (i.e. white background, black font or the reverse)
  • Use a templated slide format
  • Use a sans-serif font, such as Arial, and maintain a large font size
  • Provide minimal text on each slide (only a few points)
  • Incorporate audio description of all images, graphs, charts on your slides

Each conference room will be equipped with closed-captioning and ASL interpreters.
AUDIO / VISUAL INFORMATION: Presentation rooms for the Conference will be equipped with: TBD