Former Graduate Student

How do you know Emilia?

Portrait of Billie Anderson

Emilia graciously agreed to be my supervisor for my MRP during my time in the graduate Critical Disability Studies program at York University in late 2019. The program is only one year, and I didn’t immediately click with anyone in my department, but I knew that I was in good hands after my first meeting with Emilia. After we met, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and I completed the rest of my degree from home. I produced a project titled “It’s all bad: Defining new categories of disability representation in top box office North American films.” The pandemic meant that a lot of my peers needed an extra semester or two to complete their time at York, but Emilia’s support didn’t waiver and I managed to finish and graduate on time.

Having a supportive and caring advisory team is a difficult thing for incoming academics, and working with Emilia meant that I felt heard and comfortable entering an established and isolating field. Working with Emilia meant that I had high standards in creating my advisory team for my Ph.D., knowing what kind of support and knowledge was possible. I’m grateful for my short time working with her, and I owe a lot of my academic success to her support.

– Billie Anderson

What have you been working on lately?

Since my time at York, I have pursued my Ph.D. in Media Studies at Western University. Because of Emilia, I was able to recognize that I could foster my pursuit of Disability Studies intersectionally in a wider field than disability studies that could offer more theoretical support where I needed it. Since my graduation in 2020, I have fully immersed myself in the work I did with Emilia. I have completed my coursework as of December 2021, and am on track to be ABD in the fall of 2022.

Beyond my work at Western, I have published two articles on disability representation in film. The first was in collaboration with FilmCred, titled “Mad Max: Fury Road and Disability,” and the second through The Conversation following the CODA Oscar win in 2022 titled “Despite its Oscar win, CODA is still a film that depicts deafness as a burden.”

I have also worked as a research assistant on two major disability-focused projects. The first was a ten-year follow-up to her article “Multi-national Review of English Disability Studies Degrees and Courses.” This project surveyed all English language disability studies programs globally to track how the field is growing in institutions. The second project was through an NGO called Little People of Ontario with a focus on growing the organization mid- and post-pandemic.

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