Authors: Chelsea Jones, Nadine Changfoot, Kirsty Johnston
This paper revisits the dynamic discussion about journalism’s role in representing and amplifying disability arts at the 2019 Cripping the Arts Symposium. Chronicling the dialogue of the “Representation” panel which included artists, arts and culture critics, journalists, and scholars, it reveals how arts and culture coverage contributes to the cultivation of disability, D/deaf, and mad art. Given that the relationship between journalism and disability communities continues to be fractured in Canada, speakers were invited to reflect on journalism and disability arts in relation to their own engagement with media as subjects, authors, and critics of disability arts reviews. The methods for presentation were cripped in multiple ways to provide the fullest access possible. The panel concluded with examples of ableist fault lines in representation practices where the disabled figure is an absent “ghost” in journalistic representation, warnings against journalistic reliance on traditional and objective narratives, and a call for artists to claim and write their own stories. Ultimately, disabled, D/deaf, and mad artists need both control over artistic endeavours and output and influence over representation. This article reconnects journalism and disability communities, ultimately demonstrating that representation is a critical, co-constitutive process that can become more aesthetically and politically oriented toward social justice in its focus on disability, D/deaf, and mad arts.
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