We’re extremely happy to present these interviews, conducted with participants of our international symposium VIBE: Challenging Ableism and Audism Through the Arts, held in Montreal at Concordia University from Nov 30 – Dec 2, 2018. The interviews were conducted by Annick Davignon, who asked interviewees to respond to the following set of questions (developed by the VIBE team):
- Can you summarize your presentation/workshop/performance and its goals?
- How might discriminatory attitudes toward Deaf and disabled people be transformed through your work?
- How can Deaf and disabled art and culture offer aesthetic approaches that challenge ableist and audist ideas?
- How do you think that your research or practice benefit the Deaf/disabled community?
- What is one aspect of a totally accessible future you would like to see?
- Is there anything that you would like to add?
Note that interviews were semi-structured and interviewees were not asked to respond systematically to every one of these questions.
The interviews have been edited by Magdalena Olzsanowski.
Cheryl Green, MFA, MS is a multi-media digital artist, captioner, audio describer, and 2017 AIR New Voices Scholar. She brings her own lived experience with multiple invisible cognitive and physical disabilities to creating media that explores stories and politics from disability communities. She has been especially involved in issues of brain trauma and cognitive impairment. Cheryl is an audio producer for the Disability Visibility Podcast and a Member-Owner at New Day Films. Her audio and written blog, transcribed podcast, and documentary films are at whoamitostopit.com.
Dr. Carrie Sandahl is head of the Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities, which is devoted to research on and creation of disability art. This program also serves as the administrative home for Chicago's Bodies of Work, an organization that supports the development of disability arts and culture. She is the author and editor of groundbreaking work in disability and performance including Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance, edited with Philip Auslander. Sandahl is frequently invited to present her research and creative work on disability art and culture at universities across the United States. Sandahl also regularly presents her research at the Society for Disability Studies and the Association for Theater in Higher Education, both professional organizations in which she has been an active member for more than fifteen years.
Eliza Chandler is an Assistant Professor in the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University. She is the co-director of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded Partnership Grant project, Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life. Chandler is also the principle investigator of the SSHRC-funded Connection Grant project, Cripping the Arts in Canada. From 2014-2016, she was the Artistic Director and co-founder of Tangled Art Gallery, a gallery that showcases disability arts and advances accessible curatorial practices.
Faye Ginsburg is founder and co-director of the Center for Disability Studies at New York University where she is also the founder/ Director of the Center for Media, Culture and History as well as the David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology. Her writing and programming focus on the work of cultural activists and projects of social transformation, from her early research/writing on the US Abortion debates (Contested Lives) to her longstanding writing on/programming with Indigenous media-makers to her forthcoming book (with Rayna Rapp), Disability Worlds: Personhood, Everyday Life and "the New Normal" in the 21st Century.
Kelsie Acton is a Phd Candidate at the University of Alberta, researching timing in integrated dance. She is also the Co-Artistic Director of CRIPSiE, Edmonton's integrated dance company. Her research is supported by a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship and her art has been supported by the Canada Council and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. She is certified in Dance Ability, the internationally recognized system for teaching inclusive dance improvisation.
Alison Kafer is a professor of feminist studies at Southwestern University, where she also teaches in the environmental studies and race & ethnicity studies programs. She is the author of the book Feminist, Queer, Crip (Indiana, 2013) and of essays in a number of journals and anthologies, including Disability Studies Quarterly, Feminist Disability Studies, the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Sex and Disability. She is currently working on the question of what comes after crip and disability by engaging concepts of haunting, skin, trauma, and crip cultural production.
At the intersection of theatre, performance and media arts, the practice of Émilie Monnet centres on questions of identity, memory, history and transformation. Her works privilege collaborative processes of creation, and are typically presented as interdisciplinary theatre or immersive performance experiences. In 2011, she founded ONISHKA with the aim of creating shows born from unique collaborations between artists of different cultures and disciplines. As a playwright and director, she is the artist in residence at Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui until 2021. This Time Will Be Different, her most recent installation performance co-created together with choreographer Lara Kramer, will be presented at FTA this coming June (2019). Since 2016, she produces Indigenous Contemporary Scene (ICS), a nomadic platform for the presentation of live arts and creative exchanges between Indigenous artists and communities. ICS’s upcoming edition will take place in Edinburgh, Scotland, next August. Émilie’s heritage is Anishnaabe and French and and she lives in Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyaang / Montréal.
Ash McAskill is an ally and academic in the disability arts and theatre community, and a slow theatre practitioner. Ash has worked with disabled artists across Canada to mobilize against the current ableism that exists in the performing arts. Her dissertation entitled, “The Atypique Approach: Disability Aesthetics and Theatre-Making in Montréal, Québec and Vancouver, British Columbia” explored how neurodiverse artists are changing understandings of disability and theatre practises in Canada. Currently Ash is living between Guelph, Ontario and Montréal, Québec for a 2-year postdoc funded by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec at the University of Guelph’s ReVision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice. Her project, “Slow Journeys,” explores slowness as a method to challenge ableism and ageism caused by turbo-capitalism. The central question to her project if speed is the problem, then in what ways is the modulation of this speed or acts of “slowness” a possible solution. Slow Journeys examines whether slowness can be generative for creating a meaningful rhythm in which many human communities can feel welcome.
Menka Nagrani is a multidisciplinary artist who weaves together dance, theatre and music. She has a Master’s degree in theatre and a bachelor’s degree in dance and cultural studies from University of Quebec in Montreal and also studied singing and classical piano. She founded Les Productions des pieds des mains in 2004 and has since created numerous socially engaged dance-theatre productions and short films that stage atypical artists. Menka Nagrani is a multidisciplinary artist who weaves together dance, theatre and music. She has a Master’s degree in theatre and a bachelor’s degree in dance and cultural studies from University of Quebec in Montreal and also studied singing and classical piano. She founded Les Productions des pieds des mains in 2004 and has since created numerous socially engaged dance-theatre productions and short films that stage atypical artists.