Tanis Doe Award

Tanis Doe Award for Canadian Disability Study and Culture

The CDSA-ACEI Tanis Doe Award for Canadian Disability Study and Culture was first awarded in 2009, and is named for the activist and professor, Tanis Doe, who passed away in 2004. This award honours an individual who dares to “speak the unspeakable” in advancing the study and culture of disability, and who has enriched through research, teaching, or activism, the lives of Canadians with disabilities. CDSA-ACEI is grateful for the support and permission of Tanis’s family to honour her achievements in Disability Studies with this award.

About Tanis Doe

Tanis Doe did innovative work on participatory action research, disability, abuse, women, employment, assistive technology, and advocacy. She was a professor of social work and disability studies at the University of Victoria, and also taught at Royal Roads University, Ryerson University, and the University of Washington. She was a 2003 Fulbright Scholar in Bioethics at the University of Washington. She conducted research for innumerable organizations in both Canada and the United States, and consulted with organizations around the world.

As a Métis (Ojibway/French Canadian) Deaf woman with other disabilities who was active in disability, queer, and feminist movements internationally, Tanis Doe was widely respected as a disability rights advocate and as an educator that provided leadership training and personal mentorship to untold numbers of scholars and advocates across the Western Hemisphere.

In Tanis’s words, “Some of us have become visible citizens of that other place, using our bodies as our passports. People with disabilities are frightening to the non-disabled because our citizenship is made clear. In and with our bodies, we testify to both the existence and proximity of that Otherland.”


2016 Award Recipients

Shelley Tremain holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from York University, where she wrote a doctoral dissertation on disability and Anglo-American theories of justice. Shelley has taught at University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Sydney, Wilfrid Laurier, and The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. She has published widely on philosophy of disability, ableism in feminist philosophy, Foucault, racism, accessibility, genetic technologies, and bioethics and is the editor of Foucault and the Government of Disability (The University of Michigan Press, 2005; 2015). Her monograph Foucault and A Feminist Philosophy of Disability is forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press. In 1997-98, Shelley was the Ed Roberts Postdoctoral Fellow at UC-Berkeley and the World Institute on Disability in Oakland, CA. From 1998-2002, she was a Research Associate and Principal Investigator at The Roeher Institute in Toronto, Canada’s national policy research institute to promote the human rights of disabled people.

Shelley has written and produced community-radio programming on disabled women, curated a multidisciplinary exhibition of visual art, spoken word, and writing by disabled lesbians and two-spirited women for A Space Gallery in Toronto, was featured in the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA) exhibit “Pride & Prejudice: Three Decades of LGBT Community Organizing,” and has been inducted into the National Portrait Collection of the CLGA. Recently, Shelley worked as the Disability and Accessibility Advisor at St. Joseph Immigrant Women’s Centre (IWC) in Hamilton. Shelley blogs at Discrimination and Disadvantage, where she posts “Dialogues on Disability,” the very popular series of interviews that she conducts with disabled philosophers.

In their nomination letter, Jay Dolmage and Kelly Fritsch write, Dr. Shelley Tremain has undoubtedly marked the field of disability studies and feminist philosophy of disability in multiple exciting and important ways. She opened up some of the first philosophically grounded critiques of the social model, ultimately “speaking the unspeakable,” and dramatically reshaping disability studies in Canada and abroad. […] An activist for improved access for disabled philosophers in the academy, and additionally working outside of the academy to improve the lives of disabled people in/ her communities, Dr. Shelley Tremain embodies the ethos of the Tanis Doe Award.”


Laurence Parent is a PhD candidate in Humanities at Concordia University. She holds an MA in Critical Disability Studies from York University and a BA in Political Science from Université du Québec à Montréal. She lives in Montréal and is passionate about disability activism, disability history and mobility. In addition to having co-founded Quebec accessible, she has been active in various disability organizations in the past decade. She is currently one of the coordinators of the Critical Disability Studies Working Group based at Concordia University. Laurence’s doctoral research examines what is means to wheel and walk from a disability perspective. She conducted wheeling interviews with disabled people living in Montreal and in New York City. Laurence engages with the use of mobile media technologies enabling the creation of new methods for the critical study of ableism. She uses small and portable cameras, such as her smart phone and GoPro cameras, to make short films about her everyday experiences. Her first documentary film Je me souviens: Excluded from the Montréal subway since 1966 has won the Emerging Artist award at the 2010 International Disability Film Festival in Berkeley.

Laurence’s academic and artwork has featured in numerous conferences and exhibitions in Canada, the United States and England. She has also given guest lectures in all four Montreal universities. As a Francophone working in a field that is still predominantly Anglophone, Laurence has been shocked to realize how little literature in critical disability studies is available to Francophones. She is committed to the advance of critical disability studies within Francophone academic spheres as well as within the Francophone disability community.

In her nomination letter, Catherine Duchastel writes, Laurence’s political activism and artistic research are making it possible for other disabled people in Quebec to find their voices and see themselves represented in media and culture. For Francophone disabled scholars, researchers and activists, Laurence’s presence in critical disability studies and activism inspires us (in the best sense of that word) and makes it possible for us to imagine ourselves as part of the changing landscape of disability rights in Canada, not just as the French-speaking representatives of a Canadian movement that will not affect us in Quebec, but also for ourselves and other disabled people in Quebec.”


Past Award Recipients

2015: Patricia Seth and Marie Slark, non-affiliated
2014: Tanya Titchkosky, University of Toronto
2013: Marcia Rioux, York University
2012: Roy Hanes, Carleton University
2011: Jerome Bickenbach, Queens University
2010: Heidi Janz, University of Alberta
2009: Diane Driedger, University of Manitoba/Independent Living Canada

Francophone Tanis Doe Award

2015: Patrick Fougeyrollas, l’Université Laval



To be nominated the nominee must be either a Canadian or a Permanent Resident who works in Canada. Any individual can submit a nomination, but an individual may only submit one nomination in any award-cycle year. Self-nominations not accepted.

Letters of Nomination should be 1 to 3 pages in length and include:

  1. Name, affiliation, phone number, complete mailing address, and email address of the nominee.
  2. Name and contact information for the person making the nomination.
  3. The research, teaching, art, service or advocacy achievement or achievements of the nominee that merit consideration for this award.
  4. A brief biographical sketch of the nominee.

Please send your nominations to cdsa.acei@gmail.com. The deadline for nominations is 4:00pm EST on February 15, 2016.

The winner of the 2016 Tanis Doe Award will be acknowledged at the 2016 CDSA-ACEI conference and will receive:

  • $200 cash
  • 2016 CDSA-ACEI Conference registration fee (applicable only if the recipient attends the conference) and an invitation to present at the conference
  • Membership in CDSA-ACEI for 2016-2017
  • Invitation to submit a paper to peer-review for the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies for possible publication in the journal
  • Invitation to write an article for the CDSA-ACEI Newsletter