Gender, Disability, and Social Change International Conference

Friday 24 – Saturday 25 November 2023, Sofia, Bulgaria


We are excited to invite you to the “Gender, Disability, and Social Change” international conference – a dynamic platform that aims to explore how transformation in gender and disability is actively shaped. In an era marked by groundbreaking social change, we find ourselves amidst a wave of transformative movements. From the resurgent fight for gender equality and LGBTQI+ rights to the ongoing disability movement, society is evolving at a pace unseen before. The push for inclusivity, representation, and empowerment is echoing through various spheres of life.

In recent times, we have witnessed remarkable strides in advancing women’s rights, empowering sexual communities, and championing the disability movement. On the other hand, we have been witnessing a backlash coming from right wing actors that oppose and often ridicule these changes and aim to overturn and shut down different policies, movements and inspiring practices and examples. This conference aims to explore, and explain these evolving landscapes.

The conference is organized by the MILIEU project team and the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

The main strains of the conference are:

  1. Arts and Expression:

Explore how the arts, including visual arts, literature, theater, and music, can be powerful tools for challenging stereotypes and fostering inclusion. Celebrate the contributions of artists with disabilities and those of diverse gender identities in shaping our culture.

  1. Pop Culture and Media:

Analyze the influence of pop culture, film, television, streaming platforms and social media in reshaping perceptions of gender and disability. Discuss the role of media in promoting or hindering social change and inclusivity.

  1. Social Policies and Legislation:

Evaluate existing social policies and legislation that impact individuals with disabilities and those from marginalized gender groups. Explore opportunities for policy reform to better support these communities.

  1. Best Practices and Case Studies:

Showcase successful initiatives and best practices in advancing gender and disability rights. Highlight case studies of organizations and individuals making a significant impact.

  1. Social Movements and Grassroots Activism:

Hear from activists and advocates at the forefront of gender and disability movements. Discuss the challenges, successes, and future directions of these transformative movements.

  1. Backlash and populism:

Explore various forms of backlash and organized mobilization against movements, policies, practices, arts and pop-culture that advocate for social change and empowerment of marginalized communities. Investigate political and religious opportunism and populism.

Practical info: 

The official language of the event is English. The conference will be carried out in person in Sofia, Bulgaria with a possibility for online participation and you will be asked to indicate your preference upon registration. The organizers will provide lunch and coffee breaks on both days of the conference. There is no participation fee for the conference. However, the participants will have to cover travel and accommodation expenses themselves.

Accommodation grants: 

Ph.D. students and early-stage researchers (up to 4 years from the beginning of their scientific or academic career, inlcuding their Ph.D studies – to be proved with a relevant document upon registration) may be provided with 10 partial grants for accommodation (single rooms) for the nights of the 22nd and the 23rd of November. The grants are for people participating in the conference in personUnfortunately the organizers cannot cover any travel expenses.


Find out more information and book your place here:

This event will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria

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