“Disability History: Tales, Trails, Trials"

A Conversation with Laurie Blockbookcover

Thursday, August 26, 2021, at 7:00 PM ET

Approx. 60 minutes

This online event is free, but registration is required. You will be sent an email with a link and instructions on how to join the event upon registration.

Join us for a conversation with Laurie Block, a two-time AAS Creative Artist Fellow and creator/founder of the online Disability History Museum. A voracious gatherer and synthesizer of visual information and evidence, Block began her career studying visual culture as part of her work as a film and still image researcher for nonfiction films. She shifted her ‘subject’ attention to the history of the body, especially the relationship between able and disabled ones, as she and her husband, John Crowley, became the parents of twins, one with and one without a disability. Those months and years shaped her subsequent professional life, and since her children’s birth more than thirty years ago, she has worked as an award-winning documentary film, audio, and web producer.

As a member of the first generation of parents to know about a child’s lifelong disabilities through prenatal diagnosis, Block explores questions about how Americans change their thinking about what makes a body able or disabled, and with what consequences. She is most interested in how biological knowledge and cultural beliefs, social policy, and everyday practices intersect with the experiences of people with disabilities.

Laurie Block’s production work in disability history includes the four-hour NPR radio series Beyond Affliction: The Disability History Project—winner of the 1999 Robert Kennedy Radio Journalism Award and produced with Jay Allison—and her award-winning film, FIT: Episodes in The History of The Body. She is a consulting producer for a project about Helen Keller to be broadcast on PBS’s American Masters. Block was a founding board member of the Disability History Association. She also served as an adviser to the Vermont-based Community Genetics and Ethics Project and is currently working on a fledging effort called the Disability History/Archives Consortium, or DH/AC. Block was an AAS Reader’s Digest—Lila-Wallace Fund Creative and Performing Artist and Writers Fellow in 1995 and a William Randolph Hearst Creative Artist Fellow in 2007.

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