Society for Disability Studies 2023 Conference
Dear Members of the Society for Disability Studies and the Broader Disability Studies Community,
The Society for Disability Studies is currently undergoing significant transformations as we navigate changes in the personnel of the board, changes in our contracted staff, changes in the editorial team of our flagship journal, growth and change in our membership, and the currents of the pandemic, economy, and global politics. It’s a lot! Our mission for the short term is to ensure that SDS is a continued source of intellectual, artistic, and community support, and that the organization has created a critical infrastructure in doing this work going forward. In the spirit of transparency, we wanted to update you all about how we are proceeding with this work. To that end, we have an announcement and a request.
This year there will be no SDS conference in spring 2023. As a result, we will also be putting our award program on hold for the year. Instead, as a board, we are taking the opportunity to solidify our governance structure and build infrastructure that will deliver what SDS members most value: a sense of community and shared purpose, while actively engaging with scholarly and activist traditions. So, rather than a conference this year, we will be offering a series of virtual programs and events. We are further interested in receiving input about what the content of those events should be and about community members’ general priorities for SDS moving forward.
To begin this process, in spring 2023, we will be hosting a series of affinity-based, focus groups with members of the SDS community to help us determine these priorities. These focus groups will be led by a member of the SDS board and held virtually. Focus groups will invite students, faculty, activists, artists, and other members of the SDS community to identify priorities for the future of SDS. One priority is working with members of the SDS community to determine what kinds of events (workshops, conferences, online fora, etc.) are most desired by SDS members; we are also committed to working beyond traditional kinds of content (e.g. academic presentations) to determine what programming would be most helpful and generative for our membership. Invitations to these focus groups will be delivered in the new year and will be distributed through several channels, including social media.
Thank you for your continuing participation in the future of SDS. We anticipate a generative year of engaging with the SDS community and the development of new opportunities for our membership!
The Society for Disability Studies Board of Directors