Disability and Virtual Worlds: New Frontiers of Appropriation

Virtual AbilitySaturday October 26th will see three well-known figures from Second Life sit as a panel at the Association of Internet Research (AoIR) conference, which takes place in Denver, Colorado between October 23rd and October 26th.

Together. they will be presenting Disability and Virtual Worlds: New Frontiers of Appropriation, and the event will take place simultaneously in real life and Second Life on Saturday 26th October, commencing at 09:30 SLT. Following their initial presentation, all three panellists will be answering questions from both their real life and virtual audiences.

The three researchers are:

BoellstorffTom Boellstorff (Tom Bukowski in SL), a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. His interests have included the anthropology of sexuality, the anthropology of globalization, the anthropology of virtual worlds, Southeast Asian studies, the anthropology of HIV/AIDS, and linguistic anthropology.

The winner of the 2009 Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Ecology of Culture, Media Ecology Association, his has authored several books, including Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human, (Princeton University Press, 2008), the result of two years fieldwork in Second Life, living among and observing its residents in exactly the same way anthropologists traditionally have done to learn about cultures and social groups in the so-called real world. He has also co-authored Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (Princeton University Press, 2012) a concise, comprehensive, and practical guide for students, teachers, designers, and scholars interested in using ethnographic methods to study online virtual worlds, including both game and non-game environments.

davisDonna Davis (Tredi Felisimo) is a strategic communications professor at the University of Oregon who specialises in mass media & society, public relations, strategic communication, virtual environments and digital ethnography.

Her research focuses on Second Life culture and the influence it has on our physical lives, which is currently centred on individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Within Second Life she founded and runs Frantastica, which is located alongside the Creations (for Parkinson’s) Park region, and is dedicated to the research and support of individuals touched by Parkinson’s Disease.

KruegerAlice Krueger (Gentle Heron) is the president and co-founder of Virtual Ability Inc, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation based in Denver, Colorado, which is dedicated to empowering people with a wide range of disabilities  by providing a supporting environment for them to enter and thrive in on-line virtual worlds like Second Life.

Virtual Ability operate a number of regions within Second Life, centred on Virtual Ability Island, and offer a range of programmes for those with disabilities who enter Second Life, as well as providing in-world residential opportunities, events, activities, and talks and presentations on a range of subjects which are geld throughout the year and are open to all.    

Those wishing to attend the panel in-world can do so at the Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island. Voice + text transcription will be available.

The Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island -
The Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island – setting for the in-world presentation by Tom Boellstorff, Donna Davis and Alice Krueger on Disability and Virtual Worlds: New Frontiers of Appropriation, Saturday October 26th, 09:30 SLT

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