Session 10: Michael Iwama

About Michael

Dr Michael Iwama

Professor & Chief Program Strategist

Occupational Therapy Doctorate Division, School of Medicine

Duke University 

I am a Canadian Occupational Therapist, born and raised in Japan. My practice specialty was in ‘return to work/vocational occupational therapy’. I returned to Japan to teach OT in 1995, and
discovered the cross-cultural challenges of OT theory and practice. My work as a teacher and academician has taken me to professorial appointments in 7 universities in 4 countries. I am
passionate about DEI and interested in the nexus between culture and theory construction.


Session Title

Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; the impetus for the creation of the Kawa Model


Session Details

The Magnificent Promise of Occupational Therapy is – to enable people from all walks of life to
engage and participate in activities and processes of daily living that matter. Occupation -as the culture of contemporary (Western) occupational therapy has constructed it, and the conceptual models that support and explain it are cultural artefacts; they mirror the worldviews and shared experiences of the people that created them. How universal and inclusive is our idea of occupation? What happens when our core concepts and models cross cultural boundaries of meaning? T his is not simply an international concern, as these same patterns of oppression can be seen in our domestic practices – in our very own communities. Occupational therapy continues to advance and evolve worldwide. New conceptual models and frameworks like the Kawa Model are needed to progress OT from the Modern era to the Postmodern condition.

Session 9: John Knight

About John

John Knight

Doctoral Candidate – Service Design Practice

Department of Design, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, FINLAND


I studied at Newport College of Art in the early 1980s under Roy Ascott – who is a pioneering artist using networked technology. Then I worked in the creative industries for fourteen years before taking a year out to study Human-computer interaction. For the last twenty years I’ve split my focus between working as a practitioner and an academic in design. My academic work has culminated in doctoral studies at Aalto University in Helsinki.


Session Title

Digitally Occupied: Alienation, Autonomy and Resilience


Session Details

This session will cover the learnings from a number of years research into digital workers’ occupational experience. Findings from a four-week diary study, using online data collection and a variety of elicitation methods will be presented in detail. The data points to a need to extend Wilcock’s framework in order to account for the knowledge component, implicit to this type of work. Lastly, a number of tools and frameworks developed in the course of the overall research project to help build autonomy and resilience are presented. These tools were developed with the research cohort over a number of collaborative workshops but have never been presented or published so far.

(2022) Session 8: Allison Sullivan

About Allison

Allison Sullivan, DOT, OTR/L
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy
American International College
Springfield, MA, USA

I am an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and Faculty Lead for the Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. I teach courses in scholarship of teaching and learning in occupational therapy and occupational therapy theory, group dynamics, the development of psychosocial occupations, and the mental health process in OT. My research interests include pedagogy in occupational therapy education, cognitive disabilities, and trauma-informed care.  As an occupational therapist and educator, I have dedicated my career toward improving the lives of individuals with cognitive disabilities and health conditions that interfere with participation and quality of life across the lifespan, working in day habilitation services, school-system occupational therapy, and residential settings in a career spanning three decades.


Session Title

“How Did I Get Here? One Occupational Therapist’s Search for Meaning”


Session Details

The purpose of this session is to provide my personal perspective as a practitioner, educator, and researcher on the topics identified as the focus of this seminar series. In these roles, I have attempted to understand people as occupational beings. This quest has led me to explore and promote people’s engagement in activities, and in learning in particular, and appreciate the high degree of trauma many people have experienced or are experiencing whenever they attempt something new or challenging. This recognition has shaped my teaching and intervention practices and has me now focused on the legacy of occupational therapy in mental health, so I would like to share some resources that have resonated with me on this journey, in hopes that they may inspire others, cause discussion, and engage lively debate.


In 2006, as I was first shifting from a clinical to educational focus, I was hopeful; the community-engaged scholar is a role that has held significance for me. In the aftermath of a personally chaotic period of my life. I met Tina Champagne, and she inspired me then and has continued to be a source of motivation, persistence, and determination in my contribution to OT.

Executive Profiles

It has always been my hope that I could contribute to improving the health and well-being of the people I encounter in life. The chance to teach holds a special potential and obligation in achieving my goals. I became very interested in studying how students learn, and how to maximize significant learning. I examined the meaning of my students’ and my own engagement in activities in many very diverse contexts, and the relationship between occupation, identity, trauma, recovery and self-discovery

As this process has continued to evolve, I have been able to create community-based collaborations with local organizations in which I have become involved



And begun to reflect on my own legacy and those who helped shaped my experience as an OT practitioner, educator & researcher:



26th January, 2022, 4-5pm (GMT)

Session 3 Resources: Michael Sy & Pauline Gail Martinez

Michael Sy & Pauline Gail Martinez

  • Access the recording here on our YouTube channel!



  • Michael Sy & Pauline Gail Martinez’s script of their talk
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