Thickening Fat: Fat Bodies, Intersectionality, and Social Justice

Authors: May Friedman, Carla Rice, and Jen Rinaldi

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Thickening Fat: Fat Bodies, Intersectionality, and Social Justice seeks to explore the multiple, variable, and embodied experiences of fat oppression and fat activisms. Moving beyond an analysis of fat oppression as singular, this book will aim to unpack the volatility of fat—the mutability of fat embodiments as they correlate with other embodied subjectivities, and the threshold where fat begins to be reviled, celebrated, or amended. In addition, Thickening Fat explores the full range of intersectional and liminal analyses that push beyond the simple addition of two or more subjectivities, looking instead at the complex alchemy of layered and unstable markers of difference and privilege.

You can order the book at Routledge 

Reflections on Cripping the Arts in Canada

Author: Eliza Chandler

Tangled Art + Disability is a nonprofit organization in Toronto dedicated to cultivating disability art through supporting the artistic development of disability, Deaf, and Mad-identified artists (here collectively called disability artists), creating exhibition opportunities for disability artists, and working to bring about systemic change toward a more inclusive arts culture.

Since the 1970s, disability arts organizations across Canada have been working independently and collectively in an effort to bring disability arts into recognition at the levels of audience engagement, funding support by arts councils, and growth in exhibition opportunities.

Disability artists and curators have worked to gain public recognition by producing politically and creatively important artwork, by developing professional practices within and outside largely ableist and inaccessible arts training programs and facilities, and by collaborating on efforts to educate provincial and federal cultural funding bodies about what disability arts are and how to create culturally responsive funding streams to support the development and showcasing of this arts sector.

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Living dis/artfully with and in illness

Authors: P. Douglas, C. Rice, & A. Siddiqui

This article experiments with multimedia storytelling to re-vision difference outside biomedical and humanistic frames by generating new understandings of living dis/artfully with illness. We present and analyze seven short videos created by women and trans people living with illness as part of an arts-based research project that aimed to speak back to hegemonic concepts of disability that create barriers to healthcare. We call for a welcoming in of disability studies’ disruptive and re-imaginative orientations to bodily difference to unsettle medicine’s humanistic accounts. In turn, we advance medical post-humanistic approaches that call on disability studies to re-embody its theories and approaches.


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Relaxed performance: exploring accessibility in the canadian theatre landscape

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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.

Cripistemologies in the city: ‘walking- together’ as sense-making

Authors: Eliza Chandler, Megan Johnson, Becky Gold, Carla Rice, Alex Bulmer

Throughout this article, we take up works of disability artists whose practices engage with the act of walking/traversing as a method and form of sense-making. Specifically, we take up two performances by blind theatre artist Alex Bulmer—May I Take Your Arm (2018) and Blind Woman in Search of a Narrative (2018-2020) —in which walking, specifically ‘walking-together,’ is embedded as both a performative element and an integral mode of inquiry. We think about what Bulmer’s works, along with works by Carmen Papalia and Arseli Dokumaci, teach us about knowing and being known through an urban landscape, creating a “cripistemology” (McRuer & Johnson 2014) that builds on David Serlin’s (2006) notion of “disabling the flâneur.” Throughout this arts- based inquiry, we suggest that Bulmer advances a practice of “cripping the flâneur” (Campbell, 2010) as she demonstrates how we might come to know ourselves, our cities, our neighbours, and blindness through the epistemological vantage-point of blindness.

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Healthcare providers’ experiences as arts-based research participants: “I created my story about disability and difference, now what?”

Authors: Phyllis Montgomery, Sharolyn Mossey, Carla Rice, Karen McCauley, Eliza Chandler, Nadine Changfoot, Angela Underhill

Little is known about the experiences of healthcare providers as research participants in qualitative studies employing methods that encourage disclosure of their own disabilities. In this paper, we describe the experiences and implications of creating personal stories of disability and difference for healthcare provider participants in an arts-based study. The study design is a supplementary secondary analysis of a subset of data from a larger study focused on transforming negative concepts of disability and difference entitled, Mobilizing New Meanings of Disability and Difference: Using Arts- Based Approaches to Advance Healthcare Inclusion for Women with Disabilities. This supplementary study explores the experiences and perspectives of 17 healthcare provider participants who completed semi-structured interviews following creation of a multi-media story about their experience of disability or difference. Using creative non- fiction methods, two narrative streams are identified about healthcare provider experiences and the impacts of participating. The first addresses shared positive experiences about the research. The second entails more ambivalent reflections on their involvement as participants. The tension between the two experiences generates considerations to forward a mutually beneficial alliance to disrupt ableist understandings in healthcare and reveals new meanings of disability that are agential and integral to the stories and storytellers themselves.

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Introduction: Cripping the Arts in Canada

Authors: Eliza Chandler

Disability arts are political. Disability arts are vital to the disabled people’s movement for how they imagine and perpetuate both new understandings of disability, Deafhood, and madness/Mad-identity and create new worldly arrangements that can hold, centre, and even desire such understandings. Critically led by disabled, mad, and Deaf people, disability art is a burgeoning artistic practice in Canada that takes the experience of disability as a creative entry point.

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