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Graduate Student Research Assistant (GRA): Episodic Disability & Arts Intervention in the Ontario Workplace

We are seeking a PhD or an advanced MA student to join our team part-time to support our research on the SSHRC funded Insight Grant, From InVisibility to Inclusion: Developing and Evaluating Policies and Practices to Facilitate the Inclusion of Workers with Episodic Disabilities in Ontario Workplaces. This project is co-directed by Dr. Carla Rice and Dr. Donna Lero through Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences at the University of Guelph. Students from outside the University of Guelph are welcome to apply.

BACKGROUND: There is growing awareness of the need for public policies and workplace practices that recognize and accommodate the unpredictable, fluctuating needs of individuals with episodic disabilities (EDs) that affect their ability to work productively. Some persons with EDs have found employers who have developed a workplace culture that supports their full inclusion as valued equals. Others experience scrutiny and stigmatization in the workplace, under-employment and frequent periods of unemployment. Still others find themselves unable to find work, in limbo with respect to income support programs that exclude them from shortterm sickness and long-term disability benefits. This research project is a unique, interdisciplinary, intersectoral endeavour that focuses on the praxis of promoting systemic change in policies, organizations, and attitudes to advance the inclusion of people with EDs in Ontario workplaces.

JOB SUMMARY: The primary responsibility of the GRA will be to support the co-directors, the Project Manager, and the From InVisibility to Inclusion (I2I) research team in carrying out the following grant objectives:

(1) To examine and assess existing information about demographic characteristics (prevalence, employment patterns) of persons with EDs, and about the laws, policies, and programs that currently shape responses to persons with EDs in Ontario workplaces;

(2) To generate knowledge based on insights from employees, employers, and other stakeholders about barriers and challenges faced by people with EDs and about programs and successful practices for accommodating people with EDs;

(3) To develop, evaluate and implement various research tools including innovative arts-based digital stories as a resource for positively influencing employers' and co-workers' attitudes and perceptions and facilitating organizational changes to more effectively accommodate employees with EDs; and

(4) To develop practice guidelines and a comprehensive research, policy, and practice agenda to promote productive employment and income security for persons with EDs. This position will include working closely with the Senior Project Manager, Tracy Tidgwell, at Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice and I2I co-directors, Drs. Carla Rice and Donna Lero and in data collection, tracking, management, and storage; supporting the development and submission of ethics applications; supporting the design of and event logistics for digital storytelling workshops; and liaising with the research team to coordinate meetings, track communication flow, take notes, and support knowledge mobilization, including developing content for social media related to research activities and outputs.

QUALIFICATIONS: We are interested in a PhD or an advanced MA student from a social science discipline who is comfortable working in a community-based, interdisciplinary environment with a demonstrated commitment to critical analysis of disability, gender, social class, sexuality, aging, race/ethnicity, Indigeneity, and body size. Strong written and oral communication skills are necessities. Publication in academic journals and a demonstrated ability to collaborate in research teams would be strong assets. The ability to work independently and within a team environment is essential. This position will be physically located in both Guelph and Toronto and involves working remotely as well.

This is a one-year position for 10 hours/week at $25/hour beginning in January 2018. Interested applicants should submit a CV and a cover letter that outlines research interests, accomplishments, and contact information for two references to Tracy Tidgwell at ttidgwell@uoguelph.ca by December 1, 2017. Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice encourages applications from disabled, Mad, fat, aging/aged, Indigenous, BPOC and LGBTQI people and all people who are marginalized in the workplace. We are committed to hiring the best qualified individuals based upon relevant factors such as work quality, attitude, and experience to provide opportunity for all our employees.

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"Let's redefine disability and difference: Digital storytelling helps to change perceptions." Story by Andrew Vowles. The Portico. Fall 2014. PDF file available here. 

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Photo credit: Martin Schwalbe

Photo credit: Martin Schwalbe

Photo credit: Martin Schwalbe

Photo credit: Martin Schwalbe