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Friday, August 26, 2016

An Interview with Upcoming RDS Author, Forum on Aging: Gregor Wolbring

Gregor Wolbring is known for his contribution to the disability studies field focusing on media, science and technology. He is an Associate Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine, Dept. of Community Health Sciences, Stream of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies in Canada. Wolbring will be published in the next Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal Volume 12, Issue 3. Along with author Bushra Abdullah, Wolbring’s “Coverage of aging well of individuals aging with a disability in Canadian newspapers: A content analysis” article seeks to ascertain how disability and disabled people were framed in Canadian newspapers.
Learn more about Wolbring, common misconceptions and the future of aging:
Q. How did you become involved with disability studies?
A. I am working on advocacy issues related to disabled people since I am a child given that I am a wheelchair user. And given my academic career in science and technology (biochemist) I eventually focused a lot on emerging science and technology issues including as it relates to disabled people in my advocacy. And it was then a logical extension to apply for a disability studies academic position to do this work full time
Q. What projects are you working on at the present? What are your plans for future projects?
A. and (students) Future projects depend on interest of students. I mostly have undergraduates as my research students and I try to have the students work on issues they find relevant (within the boundaries of my appointment).
Q. What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject, that isn't so?
A. I think that people often think that the problem is solved (such as access to water and sanitation) which is not the case.
Q. What is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your subject, that they need to know?
A. For a variety of topics I work on people do not even realize the problems yet as they relate to disabled people; for example potential negative impact of robots on the employment situation of disabled people, I recently published.
Q. What do you think is the future of Aging?
A. As to aging it will be interesting to see whether the area of extreme life extension will come to pass, and what that might mean for disabled people (something I also published on). Another question is how one stays occupied as one ages, being bored is a totally underappreciated problem with aging
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring researchers focusing on media and disability?
A. Our research group published many paper on how newspapers cover topics and the newspapers were falling short every single time. I am not sure that will change. It seems it might become worse given that people are less and less willing to learn about the nuances. One can do a lot of research around media and disability however there is no easy fix without the society wanting to learn again about the grey shades and society moving away from wanting only to learn about soundbites.
Q. How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Q. Do you have a funny or motivational story you want to share about your experience with your research?
A. My students, the WolbPack, are my inspiration.