Keynote Speakers

Paula Tesoriero

Paula Tesoriero is New Zealand’s Disability Rights Commissioner. It is her role to protect and promote the rights of disabled New Zealanders.
She is also a Paralympian cycling gold medalist, a former lawyer,  was a general manager at Stats NZ and at the Ministry of Justice, has held a range of governance roles on various Boards and is a mum.
Paula was recently announced Chef de Mission for the NZ Paralympic team heading to Toyko in 2020.

The End of life choice Act (euthanasia) and how the disability voice has been ignored through ableism

Disabled persons have historically been impacted by ableist policies and laws, aimed at removing disability from society, whether it be through the routine testing and abortion of babies with downs syndrome and spina bifida, the institutionalisation of those deemed unable to fit within society or by denying routine medical treatments based on Disability, thereby often intentionally shortening the lives of disabled with health conditions.  This paper will address the issue of the dominance of ableism when it comes to making our own life changing decisions. When is free choice, our free choice and when is it ableism forcing choices on us by denying us access to the same health rights as non-disabled? The author will explore the modern history of euthanasia and how it has always been extended to include non-terminal conditions such as cerebral palsy with an assumption of suffering defined from an ableist definition and not the lived experienced from disabled persons.

Presenter: Dr. Huhana Hickey

LLB/BSocSci, LLM (distinction), PhD in Law and tikanga Māori.

A picture of Huhana HickeyHuhana has a long-standing interest in the human rights of people from marginal backgrounds and the consequences of discrimination and social oppression. She is a scholar of disabilities research and legal theory and is noted for the breadth of her published cross-disciplinary research.  One of Huhana’s goals is to increase the knowledge of indigenous peoples with disabilities along with increasing their profile and inclusion in all levels of society.

Huhana is a formal director on the HCNZ board, on the Human Rights review Tribunal, board member on Odyssey House drug rehabilitation board, a DISAC member, on the Manukau Health park advisory team, advisor to different ministerial policy projects, was an advisor to the welfare expert advisory group, has her own consultancy (Pukenga Consultancy), is President of the Māori Women’s Welfare league Te Hokinga Mai branch for Disabled  Māori  women.  Former chair of the Medicinal Cannabis Awareness NZ Trust.  A partner, Mum, Nana and keen singer, writer and poet.

“Disposable Humanity: Film as Memorial, Memorialization as Film” 

This keynote talk/film screening explores a longstanding debate about “direct links” between the mass murder of 300,000+ disabled people in Nazi psychiatric institutions (code name: Aktion T4) and the slaughter of 5.6 million Jewish people in the Holocaust. In exploring these genocidal parallels, Disposable Humanity argues that the Holocaust could not have happened, when it happened, or in the way it happened, without the T4 murders as prelude. There is no way to disentangle the two mass murders; in fact, understanding the medical gas chamber murders of disabled people transforms our understanding of the Holocaust. The avoidance of the intertwined fates of these two groups led directly to the conscious delay of memorialization of T4 victims and deferral of reparations. Thus, the documentary film serves as a memorial to absented lives in history, and captures memorialization as an ongoing, active process that exposes contemporary attitudes toward disability.

Presenter(s): David T. Mitchell

Picture of David MitchellDavid T. Mitchell is a scholar, editor, history and film exhibition curator, and filmmaker in the field of disability studies. His books include the monographs Narrative Prosthesis: Discourses of Disability (2000), Cultural Locations of Disability (2005), The Biopolitics of Disability: Neoliberalism, Ablenationalism, and Peripheral Embodiment (2015), and the collections The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses of Disability (1997), A History of Disability in Primary Sources, volume 5 of The Encyclopedia of Disability, and The Matter of Disability (2019). He curated The Chicago Disability History Exhibit (Vietnam Veterans Memorial Museum, 2006) and assembled the programs for the Screening Disability Film Festival (Chicago, 2006), as well as the DisArt Independent Film Festival (Grand Rapids, MI, 2015). His four award-winning films include Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back (1995), A World without Bodies (2002), Self Preservation: The Art of Riva Lehrer (1995), and Disability Takes on the Arts (1996). He is currently working on a new book and feature-length documentary film on disability and the Holocaust, tentatively titled Disposable Humanity.

Sharon L Snyder

Sharon L. Snyder’s career includes a range of work as an author, artist, activist, and filmmaker. Her books include Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (2000), Cultural Locations of Disability (2006), and The Biopolitics of Disability: Neoliberalism, Ablenationalism, and Peripheral Embodiment (2015). She has also edited three collections: The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses of Disability (1997), A History of Disability in Primary Sources, volume 5 of The Encyclopedia of Disability, and The Matter of Disability (2019), as well as authored more than thirty- five journal articles and chapters. She has curated a museum exhibit on disability history at the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial Museum, curated disability film and arts programming for festivals and conferences, and created four award-winning documentary films: Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back (1995), A World without Bodies (2002), Self Preservation: The Art of Riva Lehrer (2005), and Disability Takes on the Arts (2006).

Cameron S. Mitchell 

Cameron S. MitchellCameron S. Mitchell grew up in the small snow-covered town of Marquette, Michigan. From an early age he found himself traveling the world with his parents who made documentary films as a part of their studies. Cameron pursued a double major in Film and Visual Anthropology at Temple University, and made his first and second short documentaries “Mehul the Music Teacher” and “Branded” during his time there. He also directed a short biographical documentary of Sharon Pinkenson for the Greater Philadelphia Film Office while enrolled at Temple. Not one for wasting time, Cameron immediately started his own production company “CSM Productions” in 2013, the year he graduated. The first commercial he directed for Toyota became Addy Award nominated and spawned a 6+ year relationship with Comcast Spotlight, Toyota, and Philabundance documenting the local efforts of those companies to end food insecurity in the Philadelphia area.

While directing, Cameron continues to freelance as a cinematographer and steadicam operator. He has DP’d five feature films to date including The Listing which was presented at the Marché Du Filme at the Cannes Film festival in 2018 and won best feature at the Horror News Net Film Festival. During his career as a director and film freelancer, Cameron has worked with the likes of Ron Howard (“Made in America”, 2013), Aaron Sorkin (“Molly’s Game”, 2017), M. Night Shyamalan (“Split”, 2017), Domenica Scorsese (“Almost Paris”, 2017), Matthew Weiner (“The Romanoffs”, 2018), to name a few. He has lit and shot a share of the Philadelphia Eagles for ESPN Sportscenter among other sports teams.

Cameron makes an active effort to contribute new content to the film industry that represents minority viewpoints, including his most recent narrative short “The Co-Op” (Winner, Bergen International Film Festival) and feature length documentary “Disposable Humanity” (In Production). Both films endeavor to alter the representations of disabled people. Finally, some of his most recent work includes directing the music video “Heartbeat” (2019, featured on Rolling Stone India), camera operating for the Netflix special “A Little Bit Pregnant” featuring Danielle Brooks (“Orange is the New Black), and steadicam operating for the Hallmark Christmas film “Rediscovering Christmas” (2019, featuring Jessica Lowndes and BJ Britt).