art in translation: a digital catalogue series

Art in Translation serves to document and publish projects, exhibitions, artistic projects and research initiatives co-produced by Bodies in Translation and collaborating artists, scholars, and community members.

Using a digital platform, Art in Translation aims to provide artistic content in a range of accessible formats, including giving our readers the option to customize their viewing experience using a user interface tool designed by the Inclusive Design Research Centre at the Ontario College of Art and Design University.

Visit catalogue here:

2020 curator in residence

Meet Max Ferguson! Max is Tangled Art + Disability’s 2020 Curator-in-Residence. The Tangled Art + Disability Curator Residency is an opportunity for Mad, Deaf and/or Disability-identified curators to think critically about and develop accessible, crip curatorial practices through a disability cultural lens and crip aesthetics. This residency is co-developed and supported in partnership with Bodies in Translation.

Max (Sarah) Ferguson has been a practicing artist since 1996 and received his BFA from the University of Regina in 2001. He graduated with an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Visual Art and Women’s and Gender Studies) in 2017 and is currently pursuing his PhD in Art and Women’s and Gender Studies at York University. His artistic explorations involve disability studies, gender, non-neurotypical and trans-queer sexualities, activism, the body, surrealism, anti-colonial approaches to artmaking, and psychoanalysis. Max has worked with a variety of media, ranging from computer-based works and readymades, to paintstick, graphite, and digital collage. His practice blends high and low art approaches, and draws from a mixture of art and academic theory, pop culture, and other influences. Currently, his work revolves around hybridized notions of photography, sculpture, music, sound, installation and performance, and involves psychoanalysis, the body, activism, queer/trans theory, assumed whiteness, internalized racism and Indigeneity, and issues of madness and non neurotypical ways of being. He is also a published poet and writer, holds a degree in journalism, and has worked as a political, legal, military and arts writer in four different provinces over the past decade.

You can check out some of his work here (take care for sensitive images of bodies), and read about his work at FLOURISHING, here.

A drawing of text and images combined into a large grouping of doodles.

vital practices in the arts

Vital Practices in the Arts is a resource guide for documenting, producing, and sharing arts and knowledge in ways that are accessible, collaborative, and disruptive. 

How to use

The guide is provided as a live google document that reflects the ongoing, evolving and emerging activities we see practiced in communities everyday. The document is tagged and screen reader friendly. You can download the document to use for professional and personal purposes.

How to contribute

The practices in this guide expand on how we can all do this work, individually and collectively. We now hand it over to you, its users, and welcome your contributions in helping to build, improve, and expand this living resource.

We envision Vital Practices as a living resource that moves and shape-shifts as you contribute to it. Our aim is for the list of authors to grow, just as we aim for vital practices to grow in and with arts and culture.  

You can contribute in audio, visual, textual, or other forms that are meaningful to how you communicate in the world. For example, you may document your accessibility processes and practices, or offer feedback on what you learned from this document, or what you feel is missing. We acknowledge that this resource is a work in progress and understand it as we do accessibility, as open to continual changes and additions.   

For any questions or expressions of interest, please contact Lindsay Fisher, Artistic Producer at Bodies in Translation:

Link to Vital Practices in the Arts here.


This guide is produced by Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life (BIT) with collaborating partners Tangled Art + Disability and Creative Users Projects. Our understanding of accessibility is iterative, intersectional, and led by the disability community. We seek to move accessibility beyond a logistic concern to a disability justice framework.

The first edition of this publication was written by: Eliza Chandler (Assistant Professor, School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University), Carla Rice (Professor and Director, Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice, University of Guelph), Lindsay Fisher (Artistic Producer, Bodies in Translation and Founder and Director Creative Users Projects), Tracy Tidgwell (Research Project Manager, Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice, University of Guelph), Andrea LaMarre (Lecturer, Critical Health Psychology, School of Psychology, Massey University), Nadine Changfoot (Associate Professor, Political Studies, Trent University), and Susan Dion (Associate Professor, Indigenous Education, Faculty of Education, York University).  

Full citation: Eliza Chandler, Carla Rice, Lindsay Fisher, Tracy Tidgwell, Andrea LaMarre, Nadine Changfoot, and Susan Dion, Vital Practices in the Arts, (Guelph, ON: Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice, University of Guelph, 2020). 

Relaxed performance: exploring accessibility in the canadian theatre landscape

Download handbook

Download full report

Relaxed Performance (RP) is an accessibility practice which “invites bodies to be bodies” in theatre spaces, including in their movement and vocalizations. RP also involves technical modifications, which were introduced in RP training sessions across Canada over the past several years.

The report was written by Andrea LaMarre, Carla Rice, and Kayla Besse.

One of the findings from our research, and the second phase of this project, involves bringing Relaxed Performance teachings to university curriculums. These teachings imagine what RP might look like when expanded beyond traditional theatre environments, into fashion studies, and choral music. Since September 2019, RP facilitators have been working with students in York University’s theatre department, and Ryerson University’s fashion studies department. Beginning in November 2019, RP facilitators will be working with University of Guelph vocal music students and choir members.

Pretty, Porky, and Pissed Off

Pretty, Porky, and Pissed Off (PPPO) is a digital archive of Fat art and activism in Ontario. BIT has partnered with Dr. Allyson Mitchell, Associate Professor in and Graduate Program Director of the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, as well as Dr. Alison Crosby, Associate Professor in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, and Director of the Centre for Feminist Research at York University, on the exciting work of digitizing the art and activism of Pretty, Porky, and Pissed Off. PPPO was a feminist performance art and activist collective based in Toronto, ON from 1996-2005. Check out our Instagram page for some sneak peaks, and stay tuned for more info!

Two people performing outside in front of a shipping container for small group of people.

kNow Access: A digital collage

Welcome to the Bodies in Translation year-end digital collages, which compiles the art, activisms, and reflections of artists and researchers throughout the project. Using visuals, text, and audio, these collages reveal the interwoven ideas, and admired works explored by our valued collaborators and artists.

Each year, we invite artists and members of our community to respond to the question: How has your idea of access or inclusion changed in the last year?



Disability & fashion

This project develops new activist methodologies and pedagogies in fashion design and education by centring the disabled wearer. In a special topics course on disability and fashion in the School of Fashion at Ryerson University with Dr. Ben Barry, fashion students will co-design an outfit with a disabled wearer by working through a collaborative design process that is grounded in disability justice.

Students will first be introduced to the frameworks of design activism, disability justice, disability aesthetics, design thinking and co-design. Students will use mobile body scanning technology and 3D modeling software to create a 3D digital model of the wearer’s body. They will create, modify and finalize the outfit in exchange with a disabled wearer. The final work will be photographed, and these photographs alongside the final outfits will be exhibited to disrupt serotypes and misrepresentations about disability and fashion, as well as to explore the relationship between fashion and design activism and social and political justice.

To document the project for research analysis and mobilization, both students and wearers will be interviewed before and after the project about their reasons for participating, experiences and co-designed outfit. They will also be asked to keep an audio or written journal of their thoughts and feelings during the process.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Vanessa Dion Fletcher is a Lenape and Potawatomi neurodiverse Artist. She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance,  she has exhibited across Canada and the US, at Art Mur Montreal, Eastern Edge Gallery Newfoundland, The Queer Arts Festival Vancouver, Satellite Art show Miami. Her work is in the Indigenous Art Centre, Joan Flasch Artist Book collection, Vtape, Seneca College, and the Archives of American Art. In 2019 Vanessa is supported by the City of Toronto Indigenous partnerships fund to be Artist in residence at OCAD University.

Own Your Cervix solo exhibition
Tangled Art + Disability 2017

Art form
Visual Arts
Sound Art
Performance Art



A photograph of three mixed media human-like figures on a blue backdrop. The figures are carved wood with a variety of found objects added, including doll parts, plastic tubing, and animal bones.

Persimmon Blackbridge

For the past 45 years, Persimmon Blackbridge has worked as a sculptor, writer, curator and performer, as well as being an editor, cleaning lady and very bad waitress.

She has consistently made art on themes of disability since the late 1970s, as well as art, writing and performance on institutionalization, censorship, queer identity, generational alcoholism, feminism and war. Her latest exhibit, Constructed Identities, has been shown across Ontario and is scheduled for Vancouver in 2020.

Winner of the VIVA award for visual arts in 1991, a 1995 Lambda Award in Washington DC, the 1997 Ferro Grumley Fiction Prize in New York City, the 1998 Van City Book Award, and an Emily Carr Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000, Blackbridge’s work been shown across Canada and the U.S., as well as in Europe, Australia and Hong Kong.

Constructed Identities solo exhibition
Various galleries 2015-20

From the Inside/Out
Collaboration with the Self Advocacy Foundation
Various galleries 1998-2003

Various galleries 1993-4
Book version 1995

Drawing the line
Collaboration with Kiss & Tell
Various galleries 1988-93
Book version 1991

Still Sane
Collaboration with Sheila Gilhooly
Women in Focus Gallery 1984
Book version 1991

The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture, and Media, December, 2018
Crip aesthetics in the work of Persimmon Blackbridge

Canada Council for the Arts
Constructed Identities

National Post Article, June 21, 2016
Tangled, Toronto’s first accessible art gallery for disabled artists, is bringing the outsiders in

Inclusion BC
From the Inside OUT!

Frieze, September 1994

Art form
Performance Art


British Columbia

Michel Dumont

Michel Dumont is a queer Métis two spirited artist who enjoys breathing new life into discarded vintage tile by making mosaic pieces. Working with shattered tile mirrors his daily life of dealing with a shattered back, which drives him to make something beautiful out of it. Making outfits for local and national drag communities allows him to work around his multiple chemical sensitivity using non toxic materials. He is a self-taught artist, and occasional teacher, whose mediums include fiber arts, ceramics and unconventional materials for wearable art. He creates art daily to deal with the effects of decades of PTSD. As a son of an Indian day school survivor, he tries to honour his culture in his work.

Recent History
Outliers on Tour