Organizing Committee

Get to know the people behind the symposium.

Elizabeth Currans is associate professor and department head (interim) of Women’s and Gender Studies at EMU. Her book Marching Dykes, Liberated Sluts, and Concerned Mothers: Women Transform Public Space (University of Illinois Press, 2017) explores how participants in public demonstrations organized and attended primarily by women claim and remake public spaces. Recent publications appear in Liminalities, RiDE, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, Feminist Formations,Social Justice, and Frontiers.

Elena SV Flys is an Assistant Professor at Eastern Michigan University in Arts Administration. Her dissertation focused in Theatre Accessibility. Her most recent accessibility designs were for Much Ado About Nothing at EMU, Alabama Love Stories at Auburn University and Lo Fingido Verdadero for the International Festival of Golden Age Period Theatre of Almagro. Recent publications are “ADA and Communication Accessibility in Theatre” was published in CultureWork in May of 2018. 

Theresa (Terra) Merrill, PhD, MT-BC, FAMI  is professor and director of music therapy and affiliate professor of critical disability studies at Eastern Michigan University. Terra has been a board-certified music therapist for 33 years and has worked in therapeutic and community wellness agencies in arts-based expressive modalities. Long a critical voice of unexamined narratives in the discipline of music therapy (2006, 2013, 2018), her newest work explores unexamined narratives on disability and will be presented in South Africa in July 2020.

Anita Rich is a professor of interpretation/performance studies in the School of Communication, Media & Theatre Arts.  In addition to teaching at Eastern Michigan University, she draws on her training in interactive theatre methodologies as the director of their 6 Figures Playback Theatre Company and in her work with inmates in the EMU/WCC Theatre Group at Michigan’s Woodland Center Correctional Facility.

Heather Silander, Ed.D., CTRS is an assistant professor of therapeutic recreation at Eastern Michigan University. Prior to becoming a professor, Heather practiced for 13 years as a recreational therapist where she developed, implemented and evaluated community based therapeutic recreation programs for individuals with disabilities, conducted community outreach and collaboration with social service agencies to create opportunities to serve client's needs.

Laura Pawuk, MM, MT-BC, is an assistant professor of music therapy at Eastern Michigan University. Prior to joining EMU, for nearly twenty years she served the mental health needs of individuals with psychiatric diagnoses, cancer, stroke, memory loss, cystic fibrosis, cochlear implants and those in hospice care and grieving the loss of a loved one.  Her research interests include: welcoming concerts, interdisciplinary collaboration and music activities for improving mental health of individuals with chronic pain.