Estée Klar is a PhD Candidate in Critical Disability Studies at York University. She holds an M.A. also in Critical Disability Studies from York and a Fine Arts Degree from the University of Toronto.
She is the co-founder of The A Collective and the founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (2006-2018). She was also the original blogger of The Joy of Autism (2004-2008) which is archived on this website with her next blog esteeklar.com. She is also a curator of art.
Estée uses a relational-movement approach to understanding supportive typing, which initially incited this deeper exploration of neurodiversity in relation. She educates others toward supportive movement practices. These practices are studied also at The A Collective in Toronto where other neurodiverse/ neurodivergent youth participate with each other in their own social relationships. Her research is supported by SSHRC: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
Adam Wolfond is a senior high school student and co-founder of The A Collective. He is non-speaking, using an iPad, text to speech application to communicate. He is a contributor to academic journals and a regular public speaker at universities and conferences. He is releasing two books of poetry in the summer and fall, 2019. He is a collaborator on Klar’s dissertation: Neurodiversity in Relation: an artistic intraethnography.
Jessamyn (she/her, settler) is an educator, researcher, occasional podcaster, and forever learner. As assistant director of the A-Collective, Jessamyn works collaboratively with members to imagine new projects, and figure out how to make them happen. Jessamyn is captivated by the inherent relationality of teaching and learning; in her teaching practice she makes room for learning that is joyful, messy, sometimes difficult, and often generative. As a graduate student at OISE/University of Toronto, Jessamyn received the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for her work on ethical solidarities and anti-oppressive pedagogy. In her spare time Jessamyn enjoys weightlifting, going to weird art events, and visiting Mexico City.
Mariana completed her undergraduate degree at Concordia University with a double major in Psychology and Human Relations. She currently tutors and mentors youth as well as designs and facilitates workshops for a variety of social initiatives. Her passion for social justice led her to new interdisciplinary approaches in addressing social issues. Mariana is grateful to work alongside a great team at The A Collective to further explore support work anchored in disability justice.
Chris Martin’s fourth book of poetry, Things to Do in Hell, will be published by Coffee House Press in 2020. He is also the author of The Falling Down Dance (Coffee House, 2015), winner of the 2016 Midwest Independent Booksellers Choice Award; Becoming Weather (Coffee House, 2011); and American Music (Copper Canyon, 2007) chosen by C. D. Wright for the Hayden Carruth Award. He is the recipient of grants from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. In 2015 he co-founded Unrestricted Interest, an organization dedicated to helping neurodivergent learners transform their lives through writing. He also co-edits Unrestricted Editions, dedicated to transforming poetry and song though the voices of differently minded writers. He lives in Minneapolis, where he professes at Hamline University and Carleton College, partners with the poet Mary Austin Speaker, and parents two young boys.
Jean Allynn (she/her) is a queer, sober, immigrant, and brown Pin@y with a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care from Ryerson University. She is currently the Program Coordinator for The A Collective’s Social Group, which highlights youth collaboration, exploration of interests, and building relationships. Jean has been focused on challenging ‘inclusivity’ with and for neurodiverse youth while striving to increase accessibility in different spaces. Her other work involves providing peer support to 2SLGBTQIA+ BIPOC youth, exploring their relationship to substances, and prioritizing relational and anti-oppressive approaches in connecting with others. She can also be found adding titles to her ‘Books by People of Colour’ list, propagating succulents, and eating Pilipino food (probably bread).
Ellen Bleiwas' sculptural investigations take particular interest in space, the body, slowness, and sensory perception. She has recently exhibited at Angell Gallery (Toronto), Idea Exchange (Cambridge), and Kunstraum Tapir (Berlin). Bleiwas holds an MFA from York University (2017), and a Master of Architecture from McGill University (2010). She has received support for her work from the Toronto Arts Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and from 401 Richmond as the 2017-18 recipient of the Career Launcher Prize. Ellen works with the A Collective Learning Community as an art instructor/co-creator/facilitator.
Photo credit: Cole Breiland
Eva Kolcze is a Toronto-based artist who creates films and installations that investigate themes of landscape, architecture and the body. Her work has screened at venues and festivals including the National Gallery of Canada, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), MOCA Toronto, the Gardiner Museum, Nuit Blanche, Cinémathèque québécoise, Birch Contemporary and the Images Festival. She currently teaches filmmaking at Humber College and is co-director of Film for Artists: Site and Cycle, an analog filmmaking residency. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University and a Master of Fine Arts from York University.