Access after COVID-19: How disability culture can transform life and work

Authors: Carla Rice, Eliza Chandler, Elisabeth Harrison, Lacey Croft

When COVID-19 first struck in Canada, media reports described a surge of deaths in long-term care homes, retirement homes and congregate residences. Headlines announced the particular dangers of COVID-19 to older people, disabled people, fat people and people with “comorbidities” or “pre-existing conditions.” Authorities sometimes mentioned the underfunding of the care sector, poor wages, unjust staffing policies and inadequate infection control practices as factors contributing to the upsurge in COVID-19 deaths. Most headlines evidenced ableist thinking in their suggestions that the underlying cause of the tragedy rested in the bodies of populations living in these settings—those they described as uniquely or naturally “vulnerable” to dying from COVID-19.

Rice, C., Chandler, E., Harrison, E., Croft, L. (2021). Access after COVID-19: How disability culture can transform life and work. Monitor: Progressive News, Views and Ideas, 28(4), pp. 28-30.

Mobilizing Interference as Methodology and Metaphor in Disability Arts Inquiry

Authors: Carla Rice, K. Alysse Bailey, Katie Cook

This article interrogates the limits and possibilities of interference as methodology and metaphor in video-based research aiming to disrupt ableist understandings of disability that create barriers to health care. We explore the overlapping terrain of diffractive and interference methodologies, teasing apart the metaphorical-material uses and implications of interference for video-makers in our project. Using the digital/multimedia stories created and an interview as research artifacts, we illuminate how interference manifested in disabled makers’ lives, how interference operated through the research apparatus, and how the videos continue to hold agency through their durability in the virtual realm. Drawing on feminist post-philosophies of matter (Barad) and use (Ahmed), we argue that the videos disrupt the gaze that fetishizes disabled bodies, thereby interfering with cultural-clinical processes that abnormalize disability. The research apparatus interfered with makers’ subjectivities yet also brought people together to generate something new—a community that creates culture and contests its positioning as marginal.

Rice, C., Bailey, K. A., & Cook, K. (2021). Mobilizing Interference as Methodology and Metaphor in Disability Arts Inquiry. Qualitative Inquiry.

Stitching Language: Sounding Voice in the Art Practice of Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Author: Stephanie Springgay

This paper engages with the artistic practice and work of Vanessa Dion Fletcher (Potawatomi and Lenapé) from my perspective as a non-Indigenous academic and curator. Dion Fletcher and I have worked together over the past several years through discussions about her work, studio visits, and various events. In her art practice, Dion Fletcher uses porcupine quills and menstrual blood to inquire into a range of issues and concepts including Indigenous language revitalization, feminist Indigenous corporeality, Land as pedagogy, decolonization, and neurodiversity. In particular her work confronts the ways that Indigeneity, the queer and gendered body, and disability are rendered expendable. In this paper I engage with Dylan Robinson’s “sovereign sense”: a transcorporeal mode of perception that is affective, land-based, and formed through relations between human and non-humans. Dion Fletcher’s work makes palpable this sense of sovereignty through its unruly and mutating feltness. Further, her work makes visible feminist Indigenous artistic acts of resurgence alongside the frictions at the intersections of settler colonialism and disability. Following Karyn Recollet, I contend that Dion Fletcher’s work activates an Indigenous affective experience of futurity and creative intimacy that in turn imagines disability and Indigeneity as sites through which new pedagogical relations can be formed.