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30.01.2012 in Top Stories Bookmark and Share

Disability advocate to stage a 'stairbombing'

Jeff Preston, co-creator of webcomic Cripz, advocates fighting for disability rights in creative ways and will explain how in a talk Feb. 7 at York.Jeff Preston in a snowbank

Jeff Preston in a snowbank, in a photo on his website getmobilized.ca

In “Battle Lines Drawn: Resisting Ableism Through Creative Intervention”, Preston will explain how to use cultural warfare – online publishing and publicity stunts such as stairbombing and chair mobbing – to put the lie to common myths and stereotypes about disability, with humour.

Following his talk, his hosts, Access York’s Disability Education & Awareness Subcommittee, are taking his advice and staging a stairbombing on Keele campus. They will block off a major stairwell using caution tape and place a sign stating: “Caution: These stairs are out of service. Inconvenient, eh? This is only one example of what persons with disabilities experience everyday."

Preston made headlines when he drove his electric wheelchair from London to Ottawa to raise An image from the webcomic Cripz awareness about inaccessible transportation. In 2010, Preston and Clara Madrenas created Cripz, an online comic strip about two high school boys in wheelchairs that aims to entertain through humour while satirizing myths about disability.

An image from the webcomic Cripz

The disability advocate gives talks in which he argues that mainstream media, from “Daredevil” to “Glee”, rarely speak to the lived experience of disabled persons. Such TV shows are based more on the skewed perspectives of nondisabled creators, who draw heavily on stereotypes infused with pity and paternalism when portraying disabled characters.

Hear Preston speak in Winters College dining hall, 001 Winter's College, Feb. 7 from noon to 2pm. To attend, RSVP by Feb. 3 to kaley@yorku.ca.

This event was organized by Access York with assistance from the Centre for Human Rights, VP Students, and the Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability.

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