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Intro to disability arts and culture

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Eliza Chandler

on 4 January 2017

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Transcript of Intro to disability arts and culture

Historical Representations of Disability
“The history of disabled people in the Western world is in part the history of being on display, of being visually conspicuous while politically and socially erased” (2002, p. 56).
“Just as bodies have been stolen, they can also be reclaimed”
-- Eli Clare, 2004

Gawking, gaping, staring seeped into my bones, became the marrow […] The gawkers never get in right…” – Eli Clare, 2003
Disability Rights Movement
- 1970s
- corresponding with other rights-based
- corresponding with deinstituionalization
- accessibility as a matter of human rights

"Disabled people do not seek merely to participate in Canadian culture--we want to create it, shape it, stretch it beyond its tidy edges." Catherine Frazee
"Not all of Disability Art is explicitly about the disability experience. But all of it, I would suggest, springs from disability experience, and to be fully appreciated, must be seen and heard with all of its historic and biographical resonances.… in our encounters with the Art of Disability, we are called upon to know the heart of the matter, to hold up the mirror, hear the overtones."
Catherine Frazee
What is [disability] culture?
Tangled Arts: Disability Arts and Culture
Rose Jacobson and Geoff McMurchy define disability arts as “a vibrant and richly varied field in which artists with disabilities create work that expresses their identities as disabled people” (2010, 1).

“A tangle is not a knot – it can be undone or remain happily tangled. Tangles are messy and imperfect, but they are also complex, intricate, organic, even deliberate. Tangles represent what this organization does: we bring together all kinds of people and practices."
“Disability is not monolithic: Ableism plays out very differently for wheelchair users, deaf people or people who have psychiatric and cognitive disabilities. None of these are mutually exclusive, and are all complicated by race, class, gender, immigration, sexuality, welfare status, incarceration, age, and geographic location.”
Disability Art
“We don’t simply want to join the ranks of the privileged; we want to dismantle those ranks and systems that maintain them.” – Mia Mingus
“We are disabled people who are people of colour; women, gender-queer and transgender; poor and working class; youth; immigrates; lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer; and more.” – Mia Mingus
Disability justice centers sick and disabled people of color, queer and trans disabled folks of color and everyone who is marginalized in mainstream disability organizing. More than that, it asserts that ableism helps make racism, christian supremacy, sexism and queer and trans phobia possible and that all those systems of oppression are locked up tight." Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Vanessa Dion Fletcher
Christine Sun Kim
Masti Khor
Sandi Yi
Mat Fraser
Tangled's philosophy of creating and programing disability arts
Sustaining Disability Arts in
Thunder Bay
Questions for Discussion

1) In thinking about how to cultivate disability arts in Thunder Bay, what aspects of Eliza's presentation resonated with you?

2) What already exists in Thunder Bay that reflects disability arts? (Think of things that can be built on, instead of reinventing the wheel..)

3) Who do you see the disability arts community be made up of in Thunder Bay? Who is missing?

4) How can you create more access in your events? How can your programming attract different kinds of disabled people?

5) Thoughts on including representation across the region, individuals and organizations? Strategize on how to do this.

6) What supports do you need, funding and otherwise?
Disability justice challenges us to open up our understanding of who is
disabled beyond what we may stereotypically imagine as disability.

Disability also challenges us to open up our understanding of access
beyond just ramps and elevators, which are important! We have to
acknowledge that different people have different experiences of disability and therefore encounter different barriers (eg trans inclusive bathrooms, financial inaccessibility, etc.)
Disability Arts changes the way we create art, changes the way we experience art, and changes how we understand disability.
Ontario Arts Council:
Theatre Creators Reserve: http://tangledarts.org/theatre-creators-reserve-grant/
Exhibition Assistance:
Deaf and Disability Project Funding:
Media Arts Grants:
Artists in the Schools:
Visiting Artists

Canada Council for the Arts
Cultivate (individual, organization, cultural connectors)
Professional Development

Heritage Canada:
Professional Arts Festival

Cultural Spaces

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