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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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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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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Disability Art and Re-Worlding Possibilities

Authors: Eliza Chandler

Fredric Jameson writes, “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” In conversation with Jameson, Rod Michalko offers, “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than a different one,” referring to the way that a life with disability is too-often understood as the end of a life, a life not worth living. It is easier to imagine the end of our life, and the end of the world, than a life with difference and the creation of a different sort of world. In the midst of such ableism, disabled people have always demonstrated that a life with difference—and a different sort of world—is possible.

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