Keynote Speakers

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Dr Karen Whalley Hammell

Building globally relevant occupational therapy from the strength of our diversity

Dr Karen Whalley Hammell is Honorary Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She is an internationally renowned author of books, chapters and numerous papers concerning disability, spinal cord injury, and occupational therapy theories, research and client-centred practices. Throughout her work, Karen seeks to foster critical thinking, challenge taken-for-granted assumptions and advocate culturally relevant and inclusive occupational therapy theories. Convinced of the important connections between occupational participation and human wellbeing, Karen's work affirms the inherent right of all people to engage in occupations that contribute positively to their wellbeing. Accordingly, she advances occupational therapy practices that address, not solely people's abilities, but their capabilities - their opportunities to do what they have the abilities to do. In 2016, Dr Hammell received the Muriel Driver Memorial Lectureship Award, the highest honour bestowed by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists.

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Dr Elelwani Ramugondo

Healing work: Intersections for decoloniality

Dr Elelwani Ramugondo is Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She worked as a clinician in rural South Africa and in the United States of America during the 1990s. She was Head of Occupational Therapy at UCT from 2010 to 2013. Following the fall of the Rhodes Statue at UCT she served for a year as Special Advisor on Transformation to the Vice Chancellor. She continues to serve at institutional level as Chair of the Academic Freedom Committee and co-Chair of the Curriculum Change Working Group. Her scholarship on intergenerational play led to the conceptualisation of occupational consciousness, informed by liberation philosophy, and coloniality as an aspect of western-led modernity. This has laid groundwork for several doctoral studies adopting a decolonial approach to scholarship. Ramugondo has published several peer-reviewed articles and chapters in books. She is currently co-editing a book on southern perspectives of occupational therapy concepts