Emily Gillespie

Emily Gillespie (she/they) is a queer, mad and autistic author; a multi-disciplinary artist, a disability activist, an accessibility consultant and a professional daydreamer. Her work explores themes of memory, identity and mental health journeys. Emily enjoys working in community spaces while examining individual and collective experiences. She views storytelling as a tool for exploring emotional journeys and exploring social justice themes.  They have been a facilitator since 2018 and love running creative writing workshops with LGBTQ+ and disability non-profits. They are currently a mentor with the Neighborhood Arts Network, and enjoy supporting artists and art workers.  Emily enjoys being part of the AccessArt team that is working to make public art in Toronto accessible.  

Emily has a BA in English and Gender, Equality and Social Justice from Nipissing University in 2013, and completed their MA in Critical Disability Studies in 2014 from York University. They earned a certificate in Creative Writing in 2021 from Concordia University.  Dancing with Ghosts (Leaping Lion Books, 2017) is her first novel. Her poetry and short-stories can be found in several journals and anthologies. She is currently drafting her second novel about the limitations of the emergency mental health system.  She has been the recipient of three grants for her current work in progress including TAC and OAC funding. They have also sat on a grant jury and work assisting people in applying for grants.  Emily is part of a performance art group that is funded to travel the GTA during the summer of 2021, with a touring accessible performance art caravan. 

Emily is passionate about social and disability justice and has worked and volunteered with the disability community for over ten years. They currently sit on the board for ARCH Disability Law Centre. In addition, they are passionate about working to make the arts, art spaces, and art facilitation more accessible.  She has also helped to organize accessibility at protests, including the annual Take Back the Night march.  Emily is excited about the increased digital accessibility during Covid and is hoping that accessibility is prioritized as we emerge from Covid. They are currently a research assistant studying how to make the education system more inclusive to Autistic folks and they bring this passion for inclusive education to their work in the arts. 

In their spare time, Emily can be found sipping coffee, swimming, walking in nature and daydreaming about a more inclusive world.  Emily also enjoys chilling with their unicorn stuffies and eating ice cream sundaes. Their long-term goal is to travel the world making art. 

Skip to content