Elements of a Counter Exhibition: Excavating and Countering a Canadian History and Legacy of Eugenics

Authors: Evadne Kelly, Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning, Seika Boye, Carla Rice, Dawn Owen, Sky Stonefish, Mona Stonefish

Into the Light, a recently mounted co-curated museum exhibition, exposed and countered histories and legacies of 20th century “race betterment” pedagogies taught in Ontario’s post-secondary institutions that targeted some groups of people, including Anishinaabe, Black, and other racialized populations, and disabled and poor people, with dehumanizing ideas and practices. This article advances understandings of the transformative potential of centralizing marginalized stories in accessible and creative ways to disrupt, counter, and draw critical attention to the brutal impacts of oppressive knowledge. The “counter-exhibition” prioritized stories of groups unevenly targeted by such oppression to contest and defy singular narratives circulating in institutional knowledge systems of what it means to be human. The authors draw on feminist decolonial and disability scholarship to analyze the exhibition’s curation for the ways it collectively and creatively 1) brought the past to the present through materializing history and memory in ways that challenged archival silences; and 2) engaged community collaboration using accessible, multi-sensory, multi-media storytelling to “speak the hard truths of colonialism” (Lonetree, 2012, p.6) while constructing a new methodology for curating disability and access (Cachia, 2013). The authors show how the exhibition used several elements, including counter-stories, to end legacies of colonial eugenic violence and to proliferate accounts that build solidarity across differences implicated in and impacted by uneven power (Gaztambide-Fernández, 2012).

Letting bodies be bodies: Exploring Relaxed Performance in the Canadian performance landscape

Authors: Andrea LaMarre, Carla Rice, Kayla Besse

There is an increasing movement toward accessibility in arts spaces, including recent legislative changes and commitments at individual, organizational, and systemic levels to integrating access into the arts across Canada. In this article, we explore Relaxed Performance (RP) in the context of this movement. We present the results of a reflexive thematic analysis of interviews conducted with participants who completed RP training offered by the British Council to . understand the training’s effectiveness and impact. We explore the significance of the training, and of RP in general, and in relation to disability studies and cultural and political activism. We undertake this exploration against a backdrop of interrogating who RP is for and by. The themes we describe are: Committed to Access, Training is Critical, Inviting Bodies to be Bodies, and Imagining Audiences. These themes tell a story of how RP relates to broader access work, the importance of training grounded in and led by disability/difference, the need to consider the relationships between bodies and spaces, and the tensions inherent to billing RP as “for all.” We conclude with an exploration of possible modifications, enhancements, or theoretical imaginings that could help RP to become more radically open to difference as it emerges, shifts, and changes.

Toward TechnoAccess: A narrative review of disabled and aging experiences of using technology to access the arts

Authors: Chelsea Temple Jones, Carla Rice, Margaret Lam, Eliza Chandler, Karen Jiwon Lee

This paper presents a narrative literature review that addresses the issue of how disabled and aging people access the arts through technology. Our review synthesized 56 studies about disabled and aging people’s experiences of access through technology, with a focus on methods used and accounts of user experiences/stories to inform a Canadian research and development initiative called Accessing the Arts. We urge designers and developers to consider the complex, multimodal sociotechnical relationships surrounding technology and access—or TechnoAccess—as they develop technology with disability, aging and access in mind. Although existing evidence offers ways to improve everyone’s access to the arts, recommendations are provided for research around access and technology as an inherently politicized topic that must be informed by disabled and aging people’s intersectional cultural experiences, including how they wish to use technology to access the arts.