What to Do With Privilege: Moving From Allyship to Co-liberatorship

Published on July 20, 2023

In Episode 38 of The HQ podcast, we have the honour of engaging with Stephanie Nixon, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s University. Throughout our conversation, Stephanie expertly guides us through the complexities of privilege and allyship shedding light on their significance and their relevance to healthcare before inviting us to consider why this may not be the right desired outcome. Instead – spoiler alert – she introduces the concept of “co-liberatorship” and why this may be a better way through systemic power dynamics.

One of the highlights of our discussion is the introduction of the Coin Model of Privilege (see link in show notes). This powerful model helps us understand how social structures can simultaneously produce unearned advantages and disadvantages. Stephanie’s illustration of the Coin Model provides invaluable insight into the dynamics of privilege, and how it can be used to guide the actions of people in positions of privilege for resisting the unjust structures that create health inequities.

Join us for this eye-opening episode as we explore privilege and how we can become better allies and co-liberators in creating a more equitable and inclusive healthcare system for all.


About Stephanie Nixon

Stephanie Nixon, PhD is Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Prior to taking on this role in July 2022, she was a professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto for 15 years. Stephanie has been a physiotherapist and activist scholar for 25 years. She completed her PhD in Public Health and Bioethics in 2006 at the University of Toronto, and a post-doc at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa in 2008. Stephanie is a straight, white, middle class, able-bodied, cisgender, settler woman who tries to understand the pervasive effects of privilege. In particular, she explores how systems of oppression shape health and community care, research and education, and the role of people in positions of unearned advantage in disrupting these harmful patterns.

Stephanie developed the Coin Model of Privilege and Critical Allyship as a way to translate core ideas about anti-oppression and anti-racism to people in positions of unearned advantage.


Helpful Links

Stephanie Nixon | LinkedIn: Click Here

Stephanie Nixon | Twitter: Click Here

Stephanie Nixon | Queen’s University Faculty Page: Click Here

Coin Model of Privilege & Critical Allyship | Article: Click Here

Coin Model Resources | Google Doc: Click Here


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