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Intersectionality as a methodology and practice panel

Hosted January 29th, 2021 by Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes (WGSRF).

The reach of intersectionality continues to grow and resonate in a variety of fields, raising theoretical methodological and practical issues. In short, how does one “do” intersectionality in ways that honour its history and social justice aims? Knapp (2005) calls intersectionality a “fast travelling” theory with shifting meanings and applications. For Knapp, intersectionality has been reified “into a formula merely to be mentioned, being largely stripped of the baggage of concretion, of context and history.” This formula does not necessarily lead to transformative politics, but “keeps the mantra going: mention differences – and continue doing what you’ve always done.” This panel shares papers from a range of research contexts, including research in long-term care, research in knowledge translation (a field that brings empirical health research evidence to health care practice), and mad, d/Deaf and disability art. The papers uncover issues and opportunities about how intersectionality can be used to transform research praxis and knowledge-creation, and also points where it becomes diluted into supporting business as usual.

List of Papers Presented:

Intersectionality as a Method for Understanding Critical Relations for Quality in Long-Term Care Research

‘Doing’ or ‘Using’ Intersectionality? Opportunities and Challenges in Incorporating Intersectionality into Empirical Health Research and Practice

Rethinking Intersectionality in Complex Body Becomings of New Materialities: What Artistic Creative Accounts Offer Us


Katie Aubrecht, St Francis Xavier University

Carla Rice, University of Guelph

Eliza Chandler, Ryerson University

Nadine Changfoot, Trent University

Danielle Kasperavicius, Unity Health Toronto

Christine Kelly, University of Manitoba

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Crip Times: A Podcast Series

Disabled people have long been experts at staying at home, and getting creative with new ways to stay in community with one another. At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, many of us were wondering how we could maintain the sense of intimacy and connection that we get from gathering in crip arts spaces. Out of this desire, Crip Times was born: a new interview podcast series produced and hosted by Yousef Kadoura, Kayla Besse, and Kristina McMullin. Crip Times is a project of Bodies in Translation and Tangled Art + Disability and hosted on Andrew Gurza’s Wheels on the Ground podcast network. 

Click here to Listen to Crip Times on Spotify

Click here to Listen to Crip Times on Apple Podcasts

Ryan O'connell

Crip Times Episode 10: The Ryan O’Connell Episode

“I will be obsessed with anything queerness and disability ’til the day I die. Like, I am just getting started. I will tell as many stories as I want about that. I will be given the space to do it”

It’s the season finale of Crip Times! Buckle up for lots of LOLs and too many puns. This week, Kayla, Kristina, and Drew are joined by Ryan O’Connell, creator, writer, and star of Netflix’s Special. He’s done other stuff too but ughhh, who cares?

We talk about cerebral palsy, the power of authentic disability representation, pushing the envelope of gay and disabled sexuality on screen, pandemic challenges specific to disabled people, and the ‘well-meaning’ ableism that can show up when we’re just trying to live our lives.

We move into a conversation about storytelling as activism, and the challenges of learning and growing in your disability politics in a very public way. How do you tell authentic stories, without catering to an abled audience? How do we deal with internalized ableism, and the feeling of ‘needing to do more’? How do we push back against societal messaging that one marginalized story is enough?

For a full transcript of this episode, as well as helpful links and key quotes, click here.

Artwork by Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Translation roundtable

The Roundtable on Translation explores artists’ reflections on how accessibility impacts experiences of art and art making. Co-presented in September 2020 by ArtsEverywhere and Bodies in Translation, and co-curated by Elwood Jimmy and Tracy Tidgwell, the Translation Roundtable features a provocation by Eliza Chandler and artistic interventions by Alex Bulmer, Taeyoon Choi, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Elwood Jimmy, Carmen Papalia, Jenelle Rouse, Gloria Swain, and Sky Stonefish. 

Excerpt from the Introduction to the Translation Roundtable by Eliza Chandler

Disability art, a burgeoning artistic practice in Canada / this north part of Turtle Island, takes the experience of disability as a creative entry point. Drawing on the insights of disability scholar and activist Catherine Frazee (2008), not all disability art explicitly represents disability, but all of it springs from the experience, politics, and culture of disability. To fully appreciate and engage disability art requires us to directly take up and appreciate disability cultures, identities, politics, and practices…

Continue reading Eliza Chandler’s provocation and find the artists responses to it on the Translation Roundtable page on the Arts Everywhere platform.

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Disability and livelihoods

With employment rates among people with disabilities at less than 50 percent, and a resulting reliance on government transfers, we ask: how do people with disabilities in Canada survive, let alone thrive? People with disabilities continue to respond imaginatively by finding alternatives to paid work to sustain themselves and their families. This disjuncture between policy and lived experiences suggests an important and under-explored research area.

The Disability and Livelihoods partnership will 1) examine how livelihoods interact with diverse experiences of disability in Canada and 2) begin to develop a strong, practical, and conceptual livelihoods approach to work and families research. Partnership: This partnership brings together key national and local organizations (DisAbled Women’s Network of Canada, Canadian Council for Rehabilitation and Work, Lakeside Hope House Guelph, People and Information Network, and Accessibility Advisory Committee of Guelph), with the University of Guelph’s Centre for Families, Work and Well-being, Re-Vision: Centre for Arts and Social Justice, the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute, and researchers, to contribute to three pilot projects: volunteering, arts and artistry, young women and pre-employment supports, and a broader livelihoods framework.

The partnership focuses on three areas of livelihoods which build on the strengths of our partners, recognizing that these will help identify important questions and intentionally gather what we learn into a broader framework for understanding and using a livelihoods approach. The governance structure enables partner organizations to contribute to the leadership and intellectual direction of the partnership in addition to contributing to the pilot project most aligned with their work.

Sustainable Livelihoods: Livelihoods describe means to secure the necessities of life — through paid work, caregiving, volunteering, market gardens, fishing, artistry, among others. Livelihoods are not only the capabilities, assets, and activities required to maintain life, but also the ability to sustain these in the context of stress and shocks, over time and for future generations, and contribute benefits at the local and global levels over the short and long term.

A sustainable livelihoods framework has been developed in relation to the global South, and increasingly used in Canada to assist front-line service organizations to understand and address poverty.

Guiding Questions and Goals:

The partnership will answer questions that fill the gap between policy and lived experiences and create a sustainable livelihood framework to inform future social policy and organizational decisions.

These questions include:

How do definitions of disability shape one’s livelihoods?

How do other social locations (e.g. gender, race, immigration status, language) interact with disability to shape experiences of livelihoods?

To what extent does managing impairments affect experiences and livelihoods choices?

What are the relationships between income support and other forms of livelihoods?

Do one’s livelihoods allow them to thrive, not only survive?

How do different forms of livelihood work together to enable getting the necessities of life?

How do they work together to allow for flourishing?

How do livelihoods shape and change our understandings of culture?

How do Canadian society and economy rely on diverse livelihoods in the lives of people with disabilities (e.g. unpaid volunteering to implement accessibility legislation, unpaid caregiving by people with disabilities)?

In what ways does this reliance on unpaid livelihoods reinforce ableism in Canadian society?

How does practicing diverse livelihoods contribute to new ways of thinking about, imagining and living disability.

-PI Deborah Steinstra. 

The Secret Feminist Agenda logo.

Secret Feminist agenda

Episode 4.22 of Secret Feminist Agenda: “Disability Art is the Last Avant-Garde,” with Sean Lee! From host Hannah McGregor: “This week I sat down virtually with Sean Lee, Director of Programming at Tangled Arts + Disability, to talk about radically accessible curation, the transformative possibilities of disability as disruption, and the exciting work of Tangled Arts and Bodies in Translation.”

Available wherever you get your podcasts. Full transcript and links to resources mentioned in the episode here.

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.

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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

Report Highlights: Exploring Accessibility in the Canadian Theatre Landscape (2020) is a booklet that presents findings from the May 2019 Report on Relaxed Performance (RP) research on RP training across Canada, co-sponsored by the British Council and Bodies in Translation.

Summarizing the first research on Relaxed Performance in Canada, the Report Highlights booklet engages interview, survey, and environmental scan findings to understand representations of RP and explore experiences and impacts of RP training across the country. The booklet relates the findings to disability arts and legislation such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, or AODA, and Bill C-81: The Accessible Canada Act. 

The results weave together a beautiful web of evidence synthesizing four broad domains: 1) experiences of and recommendations for training, 2) research and theory, 3) community building, and 4) policy.

Use the booklet to deepen your understanding and practice of access in theatre, or to learn more about creative ways that people are moving toward greater accessibility in the arts.

The Report Highlights: Exploring Accessibility in the Canadian Theatre Landscape booklet features large text, easy-to-read language, images, icons for visual communication, and alt text for easier access, and is available in English, French, and Spanish.                        

Download the booklet in English
Download the booklet in French

RP report

Download the full 2019 report here


Relaxed Performance: Exploring Access is a series of 3 videos in which arts practitioners from the UK and Canada explore the principles and practices of Relaxed Performance in the arts.

Access each video in ASL, LSQ, English Closed Captions (CC), French Open Captions (OC), and with extended audio description (AD).

What is a Relaxed Performance? 
Qu’est ce qu’une représentation décontractée?

How do we incorporate Relaxed Performance in digital media?
Comment intégrer la représentation décontractée aux médias numériques?

What are the broader effects of Relaxed Performance on society?
Quels sont les effets plus étendus de la representation décontractée sur la société?

This video, in ASL, explores the question, what is a Relaxed Performance? Follow the links above to access each video in ASL, LSQ, English Closed Captions (CC), French Open Captions (OC), and with extended audio description (AD).

The Exploring Access videos are part of our larger Relaxed Performance offering which includes resources and materials for arts practitioners, arts organizations, scholars, and the public. Find these resources on the Access Activators website.

Co-produced by British Council, Tangled Art + Disability, and Bodies in Translation with the support of Canada Council for the Arts and The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

THE Pretty Porky and Pissed Off ARCHIVE

Pretty Porky and Pissed Off (PPPO) was a queer feminist performance art and activist collective based in Toronto, Ontario from 1996 – 2005. Their seminal fat liberationist art and activism brought intersectional fat politics and humour to the streets and stage.

Bodies in Translation (BIT) is thrilled to partner with Allyson Mitchell, one of Pretty Porky and Pissed Off’s founding members and Associate Professor in and Graduate Program Director of the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University, in collaboration with all members of PPPO – Mariko Tamaki, Ruby Rowan, Lisa Ayuso, Gillian Bell, Joanne Huffa, Abi Slone, Tracy Tidgwell, and Zoe Whittall – on the exciting work of digitizing the analog collection of the art and activism of PPPO. PPPO’s archive is a grounding contribution to the archive of fat art and activism in Ontario.