Exploring Accessibility in the Canadian Theatre Landscape

Cover image of report with woman performing on a wheelchair

We’re so excited that the Relaxed Performance report we wrote in collaboration with British Council Canada is now out in the world!

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.

Click here for the report.

Image description: the cover image of the “Relaxed Performance: Exploring Accessibility in the Canadian Theatre Landscape” report. The background is black, and the text is white. The British Council and BIT logos are at the top. The photo is of Erin Ball, a performer with prosthetic legs, balancing on her hands on top of a wheelchair. She has tattoos on her arms, and is wearing a black body suit and looking directly at the camera.

Defying Barriers

Poster for Defying Barriers

Community members, researchers and students are invited to join the McMaster Faculty of Humanities and the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging on May 15th from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. for Defying Barriers, a workshop examining how aging and disability impact engagement with the arts, and how we can enable participation and expression through a variety of artistic media.

The workshop will feature an accessibility audit and tour of community studio space Centre[3], presentations from invited artists, Dave Bobier and Rebecca Baird, and round-table discussions to explore topics and future research directions.

You are invited to join this dynamic, free workshop!
Register here by May 10.

Please feel free to share this invitation with any interested colleagues, students and community members.

For further information, click here.

Additionally, please do follow us on Twitter: @DefyingW (https://twitter.com/DefyingW?lang=en), and Instagram: defying_barriers (https://www.instagram.com/defying_barriers) for regular updates on the workshop.

Please direct inquiries to Netri Pajankar (defyingbarriersworkshop@gmail.com)

Finding Language: A Word Scavenger Hunt by Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Image of text on page with highlighted words.

In this interactive tour, artist Vanessa Dion Fletcher will engage participants through response cards that have been meticulously embroidered with quills. The program will encourage reflection on the political, social and emotional meaning of language.

Saturday, March 23, 1-2pm
Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Avenue, Toronto, ON
PRICING: General $20; Members $15*; Students $10

Vanessa Dion Fletcher is an artist of Potawatomi and Lenape ancestry, living and working in Toronto. Her practice is aligned with the intersections of contemporary performance and community engagement as they exist beside the powerful and longstanding material cultures of quillwork and beadwork—actively engaging with identity, social exchange, political critique, and hands-on learning.

In 2017, she asked artist and teacher Brenda Lee of Nipissing First Nation to teach her the process of working with porcupine quills, from harvesting the quills from the deceased animal to cleaning, dyeing, and stitching them onto a finished object. The two artists continue to share their knowledge of their relationships to materials, the land, traditional cultures, and the female body in relation to the natural world.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Blindness Gain and the Art of Non-Visual Reading with Hannah Thompson

Presented by The Peripheral Visions Speakers Series, Tangled Art + Disability and the Bodies in Translation Project

Poster for Blindness Gain and the Art of Non-Visual Reading

Friday March 29, 6-8 pm, reception to follow
Location: Tangled Art + Disability, 401 Richmond Street
Wheelchair Access, ASL

This lecture will celebrate the critical and creative power of blindness. Through a discussion of examples from 19th century French literature and art, Professor Thompson will argue that blindness is a fruitful theoretical stance available to both blind and non-blind people, Thompson’s Critical Disability Studies approach will dismantle the traditional hierarchy of the senses and invite new ways of beholding familiar texts and images.

The Aesthetics of Audio Description Master Class:

Thursday March 28, 11 am -1 pm
Sensorium Loft, York University
Wheelchair Access, RSVP pvl@yorku.ca

This class will use insights from critical disability studies to explore how audio description might enhance the aesthetic experience of both blind and non-blind beholders. Drawing on articles published in the 2018 special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly, ‘Blindness Arts’, we will explore what non-visual ways of engaging with art and artefacts might teach the visually dependent world. When it is made available to everybody and included in the conception of an exhibition or artwork, can audio description be celebrated as a privileged example of “blindness gain” which works to challenge ocularcentric understandings of the hierarchy of the senses?

Professor Hannah Thompson

Professor Thompson has published widely on French literature and theory, the body, gender, sexuality and disability. She is the author of three books on French literature and culture including Reviewing Blindness in French Fiction (1789-2013) (Palgrave, 2017), which marks the start of Professor Thompson’s influential work on the cross-overs between French Studies and Critical Disability Studies. Professor Thompson has published two edited volumes: New Approaches to Emile Zola and Corporeal Practices: (Re)Figuring the Body in French Studies (with Julia Prest). In 2015 she co-organised the Blind Creations conference and micro-arts festival with Vanessa Warne and she is the author of the popular Blind Spot Blog.

Accessibility and Location Information Details:

Tangled Art + Disability, 401 Richmond Street
Wheelchair access. ASL interpretation. Tangled Art + Disability is in an accessible building near the Southeast corner of Richmond and Spadina. Wayfinders will be present to direct visitors to the gallery. Please help us to make this a scent-free environment (click here).

Sensorium Loft.
The Loft is on the 4th floor of the Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts, York University.

York University subway is an accessible station on the University Line. Wayfinders will be present to direct and guide participants to and from the subway (other locations by request). Wheelchair access requires an elevator key, so please contact us in advance. For further access information and to rsvp email pvl@yorku.ca.

The Peripheral Visions Speakers Series is a partnership of the Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts and Technology, VISTA: Vision Science to Application and the Peripheral Visions Lab. This event is co-sponsored by Tangled Art + Disability, Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life, the Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies, The Departments of Theatre and Cinema and Media Arts, and the Performance Studies (Canada) Speaker Series. We are grateful for support from the Canada Research Excellence Fund and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

The Peripheral Visions Speaker Series is co-curated by Mary Bunch, Laura Levin and Lauren Sergio.

 

Poster for event with information and images of Mona Stonefish and Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning

Dreams, Visions, Hallucinations: Disability and other ways of seeing with Mona Stonefish and Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning

March 6, 2019, 4-5:30 pm in the Joe G. Green Theatre.

Presented by Sensorium, VISTA and The Peripheral Visions Speaker Series.

Dolleen Tisawii’ashiiManning hosts a public conversation with Traditional Doctor and Elder Mona Stonefish on Anishinaabe dream imaging practices and their implications for critical disability studies. Manning worked with her mother and Stonefish in developing her mnidoo theory of consciousness. This interrelational understanding of perception and knowing involves a possession by these living potencies, along with an expanded understanding of vision. In this discussion, they question western conceptions of ability and disability, while also considering the debilitating impact of colonialism.

Upcoming: Crip Technoscience for Disabled Cyborgs: Access, Community, Politics

Thursday March 21st 2019, 11am -1pm
Sensorium Loft
4th Floor of Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts
York University

Kelly Fritsch engages with the emerging field of crip technoscience, exploring what it means for disability politics, community, and access. Taking up Alison Kafer’s provocation that disabled people are cyborgs because of their politics rather than their impairments, Fritsch explores the ways in which disabled community forms out of frictional and ambivalent relations to technoscience, marking out the implications of these relations for social justice practices. For accessibility and to RSVP please contactpvl@yorku.ca

Kelly Fritsch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University in unceded Algonquin territory. Her research broadly engages crip, queer, and feminist theory to explore the relations of disability, health, technology, risk, and accessibility. She is co-editor of Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle (AK Press, 2016 with Clare O’Connor and AK Thompson), and has co-edited special issues of Somatechnics (on “Sexuality in Canada” with reese simpkins, 2017), Feminist Formations (on “The Biosocial Politics of Queer/Crip Contagions” with Anne McGuire, 2018), and Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience (on “Crip Technoscience” with Aimi Hamraie, Mara Mills, and David Serlin, forthcoming March 2019). Fritsch was a 2015-2018 Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the Women & Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto.

Event sponsors: The Peripheral Visions Speakers series is sponsored by Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts and Technology, VISTA: Vision Science to Application, The Departments of Theatre and Cinema and Media Arts, the Performance Studies (Canada) Speaker Series, the Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies, the Canada Research Excellence Fund and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The series is curated by Mary Bunch, Laura Levin and Lauren Sergio. With thanks to U of T’s Equity Studies Program, the New College Innovation Fund and the Department for Social Justice Education at OISE for their continued support of the Disability Studies Speaker Series.

Kelly Fritsch: Crip Commitments: Disability, Theory, Politics

Poster for event
Poster for Crip Commitments: Disability, Theory, Politics

The New College Disability Studies Speaker Series presents Crip Commitments: Disability, Theory, Politics

A Lecture by Prof. Kelly Fritsch (Carleton)

In collaboration with York University’s Peripheral Vision Speaker Series

Engaging the frictions of crip and disability theory, Kelly Fritsch non-innocently considers the possibilities of radical social change that emerge through knowing and making disability differently.

Thursday March21st 2019, 6-8pm
OISE Library
252 Bloor St. West
(Above St. George Subway)

Accessibility:
All Welcome – Free
Wheelchair accessible
ASL
Refreshments

For more accessibility or additional information, please contact uoftdisabilitylistserve@gmail.com

Jeff Thomas: winner of 2019 Governor General’s Award

Black and white image of white corn.
Jeff Thomas, White Corn, detail from panel, 1990, pigment print, 50.8 cm x 127 cm. Collection of the artist

Bodies in Translation collaborator Jeff Thomas has won the 2019 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts!

Jeff Thomas is a self-taught photo-based artist, writer, public speaker, and curator. He has works in major collections in Canada, the United States and Europe. Jeff’s solo shows include Birdman Rising, A Necessary Fiction: My Conversation with Edward S. Curtis & George Hunter, The Dancing Grounds, and Resistance Is NOT Futile. He has also been in many group shows, including The Family Camera; Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989; Land/Slide: Possible Futures; SAKAHÀN; and UNMASKING: Arthur Renwick, Adrian Stimson, Jeff Thomas. He has received the Canada Council’s Duke and Duchess of York Award in Photography, the Karsh Award in photography, and a REVEAL Indigenous Art Award, and he has been inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. An urban-based Iroquois, Jeff was born in Buffalo, New York, and now lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

“There is no one I admire more than Jeff Thomas. His intelligence, generosity and integrity underpin and inform every aspect of his art, which he uses to make sense of and improve the world. Jeff’s work has changed how we see the world and given us intellectual tools for critical agency that we cannot afford to be without.”

— Dr. Richard Hill, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies, Emily Carr University of Art & Design

Read more on the Canada Council for the Arts website.