March 24, Starting a Conversation with Madelaine Lekei – Digitally Bound: Following the Threads of Digital Communities

March 24,

Noon to 1 pm



How do we bring community engaged methods to digital spaces? How can we approach community when participants are digitally and geographically dispersed? What does it look and feel like to work with vulnerability in a pandemic? In this conversation, I take these questions as starting points to share my experience of threading community engagement through digital ethnographic research. Situating access as a method, I will share reflections about how community engagement offers an opportunity for digital research methods to be designed in a manner that is responsive to participants and communities. I suggest that, as a method, participant-led access is a deeply collaborative and political act because it creates the conditions for diverse bodies and minds to be present, whole, and well within a given space and time. At the heart of this dreaming and reflecting is a desire for accessibility and disability justice to be modalities that disrupt systems and spaces that too often ignore, devalue, and erase nonnormative bodies and minds within research.


Madelaine is an interdisciplinary graduate student at UBC, Okanagan. Through ethnography, Madelaine studies the intersections of visual, material, and digital culture with an emphasis in sensory knowledges and community-engaged methods. Her current research addresses gaps in digital accessibility by seeking to understand how individuals and organizations are collaborating to encourage more equitable access for/with people with disabilities. While Madelaine is currently non-disabled, she navigates the world with complex trauma and multiple forms of chronic pain that influence her daily physical, mental, and emotional capacities. As a queer and feminist scholar, this embodied lived experience is central in her research, writing, and living. In her free time, you can often find Madelaine with her partner and their many multispecies collaborators including their cat Sage and dog Harry.