June 9, 2021, by lzzeb

The Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, from a new perspective

A blog by Stephanie Coen

This Spring marked my participation in the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) for the first time in a role other than solely as a participant – this year I joined as Secretary-Treasurer of the Disability Specialty Group (DSG). The mission of the DSG is to “address issues of differing abilities, and support and advocate for persons with disabilities and chronic illnesses to enable the broader AAG community and public to become a more inclusive society.” This work is both personally and professionally important to me as someone with lived experience of mental illness and who researches health inequities. This role comes with a set of responsibilities and goals that give new meaning to how I engage with these meetings. The conference is when we hold our DSG Annual Business Meeting, which is a time to engage all DSG members about the work the DSG has done over the past year and also to gather crucial community input and feedback. In my role as Secretary-Treasurer, I reported on our budget and our new board member elections, as well as took minutes of the meeting. A highlight of the session was some dialogue we had with community members about how we might increase our membership and reach over the next year. Of note, AAG President Prof Amy Lobben, long-time member of the DSG who has made accessibility a cornerstone of her presidential platform, contributed to the discussion. The DSG also sponsored several conference sessions, and I was very pleased to be able to attend our session “Disability Geographies: Spatialities and Oppressions” as a member of the Board. I’m just at the start of this role (2-year term), and am indebted to our Chair Dr Diana Beljaars for showing me the ropes! I look forward to continuing to advance equity, diversity and inclusion at our AAG meetings and in our discipline more widely, leveraging this opportunity to the fullest extent. Thanks to the School of Geography for funding to support my participation in this capacity.  

Follow the DSG on Twitter: @DSG_AAG 

Please see AAG President Amy Lobben’s recent column on accessibility: http://news.aag.org/2021/05/may-2021-president-column/  

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