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Disability rights activist to speak at Schneider Disability Issues Forum

National author, speaker and disability rights activist Jillian Weise will present “Permission and Provocation” at UW-Eau Claire’s ninth annual Schneider Disability Issues Forum at 5 p.m. Oct. 26 in Phillips Recital Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center. The forum is free and open to the public.

Weise also is a poet, performance artist and playwright. She is the author of the poetry collections “The Amputee’s Guide to Sex” and the award-winning “The Book of Goodbyes,” as well as the novel “The Colony.” Her writing has appeared in many publications, including the literary magazine A Public Space, The Huffington Post and The New York Times. She is an associate professor of English at Clemson University.

Weise, an amputee who has worn a prosthetic leg for over 30 years, has self-identified as a cyborg since she began wearing a leg with a computerized knee. She discusses that identification in her New York Times essays “Going Cyborg” and “The Dawn of the Tryborg.” She also produces performance art through her character Tipsy Tullivan, addressing issues of ableism in a series of satirical YouTube videos.

In her “Permission and Provocation” presentation, Weise gives wandering, inquiring individuals with disabilities permission to be whoever they are and identify however they wish. She weaves biographical details and the history of disability and writing into a thorough examination of taboo and complex topics. An excerpt from her talk reads, “You can live in uncertainty. So go on and be anything and live in mystery. I give you permission. Take it.”

The Schneider Disability Issues Forum is free and open to the public. An interpreter for the deaf and captioning will be provided. Weise’s books will be available for purchase and signing after the presentation.

Through the Schneider Disability Issues Forum, renowned authors and experts come to campus each year to address accessibility issues for people living with disabilities. The event was established by Dr. Katherine Schneider, UW-Eau Claire psychologist emerita and author, who has been blind since birth.

The Schneider Disability Issues Forum is co-sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation; the Chippewa Valley Book Festival; and UW-Eau Claire’s College of Education and Human Sciences, Services for Students with Disabilities Office, and Education Studies 385 course.

Parking is available on campus in any F or S parking stall. The Human Sciences and Services lot and the Water Street lot are closest to this event location. (See campus map for parking lot locations.) If you need accessible parking, please contact Debra Lang at 715-836-5607 or to make arrangements.