Call For Proposals: Cripping the Arts in Canada

Until very recently, disability, crip, D/deaf, and Mad arts (d/c/D/M arts) have been included in the art world in such a way that normalizes us as outsides rather than meaningfully propels our art sector. Categorizations of our art as ‘outsider art’ or ‘art brut’ have delegitimized our artistic voices and depoliticized our art (Gorman, 2007); inaccessible environments, equipment, technology, and programming have excluded us from artistic development and cultural participation; systemic ableism and institutionalized poverty have prevented us from accessing the funding needed to sustain our artistic practice. In the midst of such an inhospitable environment, we have maintained our art histories, practices, and communities. D/c/D/M arts have now captured the attention of the art world and, in many significant ways, is reshaping the arts ecology and advancing disability rights and disability justice (Berne, 2009; Mingus, 2011) in Canada. Designated funding structures now exist, arts training programs and arts and cultural centres are becoming more accessible, and arts and cultural centres are acknowledging that they must incorporate accessibility into their programing to remain legislatively compliant and culturally relevant.

This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies aims to build on the excitement d/c/D/M arts is currently generating in Canada by capturing how d/c/D/M artists, curators, arts administrators, and activists are resisting being normalized within and by the art world and are instead cripping the arts, that is developing new ways of creating art and sustaining art practices, changing the kinds of art we encounter, and innovating new ways of engaging with art. By cripping the arts rather than incorporating ourselves into existing structures that may not recognize, support, our acknowledge us, we are engendering disability justice activist Mia Mingus’s assertion that, “we do not simply joining the ranks of the ranks of the privileged; we want to dismantle those ranks and the systems that maintain them” (2011). We are also animating Catherine Frazee’s astute observation that, “Disabled people don't seek merely to participate in Canadian culture, we want to create it, shape, stretch it beyond its tidy edges” (2001).

This issue will publish, but is not limited to, proceedings from Tangled Art + Disability’s Cripping the Arts in Canada symposium.

For this issue, we are seeking submissions that animate, engage with, grapple with, and contend with how d/c/D/M artists are cripping the arts in Canada. Submissions that engage d/c/D/M outside of Canada are also welcome.

We are seeking submissions in the following forms:

  • Academic writing/theoretical reflections
  • Art/artistic reflections
  • Creative writing
  • Blogs/vlogs/digital writing and art forms, including short videos, audio, and ASL/LSQ vlogs
  • Podcasts/oral reflections

Possible questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What are the told and untold histories of disability, crip, Deaf, Mad art in Canada? How do we document these histories? How do we mobilize these histories?
  • How does d/c/D/M arts contribute to the achievement of right and justice? How does d/c/D/M arts disrupt a human rights framework?
  • Which communities have been excluded from the d/c/D/M arts movement? How are the arts developing and being supported in these communities?
  • Are d/c/D/M inherently political?
  • Are disability, crip, Deaf, and Mad useful distinctions to make?
  • How is technology changing the way we create, curate, and experience art?
  • How is accessibility changing the way we create, curate, and experience art?
  • What policies and structural are needed to support d/c/D/M arts?
  • What are d/c/D/M aesthetics? How are they contributing to and changing our understanding of aesthetics? How do we curate d/c/D/M aesthetics?
  • How do Neurodiverse artists contribute to d/c/D/M aesthetics?
  • How has your art practice changed or been affected by the development of d/c/D/M arts? How has your curatorial practice changed or been affected by the development of d/c/D/M arts? How has your activist practice changed or been affected by the development of d/c/D/M arts? How has your teaching and/or research changed or been affected by the development of d/c/D/M arts?
  • Is d/c/D/M arts changing the arts ecology in Canada? Is d/c/D/M arts establishing a new standard of artistic excellence? If so, how are non- d/c/D/M cultural institutions responding to and being shaped by these changes?
  • How can artists, arts organizations, and arts councils work together to change the policy that prohibits people who use support programs such as the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) from earning extra (living) wages, e.g.: artist fees, selling artwork, and arts funding?
  • What does d/c/D/M arts mean to you?
  • What does d/c/D/M need to keep growing (or not)?

You are invited to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ your responses to any of these questions.

We are accepting submissions in English, French, ASL, and LSQ. All submissions that are not text-based must be made accessible (eg: videos and vlogs must be captioned, artwork must include audio description which can be embedded as alt-text, etc.). Please contact the editor if you have any questions about this.

The Canadian Journal of Disability Studies welcomes interdisciplinary submissions ranging from but not limited to critical race theory, disability studies, Mad studies, Deaf studies, gender studies, history, art history, philosophy, social work, sociology, and visual and literary arts. We invite authors who self-identify as academics, artists, activists, and cultural producers.

Written submissions must be no longer than 6000 words (excluding references, notes, and tables) and reflections and creative writing may be significantly shorter. Work submitted must be original, not under consideration or published elsewhere in print or electronic media. Submissions must include a cover page with authors’ names, titles, institutional affiliations (if applicable), and full contact information, but authors’ names cannot otherwise appear anywhere in the manuscript. Authors must also provide a 250-word abstract and 4-10 keywords. Please read further for CJDS submission guidelines: http://cjds.uwaterloo.ca/index.php/cjds/about/submissions.

Artistic submissions may include poetry, creative writing, photography, video, mixed media, as well as digital renderings of works on paper or sculpture. Artwork must take a form that can be submitted and viewed/heard electronically. For visual imagery, digital files may be sent as jpgs in an e-mail attachment. Emailed image files must be no larger than 640 x 480 ppi (72 dpi) and must be numbered and named to correspond with a text-based list describing images.

Submissions are due December 1, 2016. Please submit electronically in Microsoft Word format (or, if sending images, according to the specifications outlined above) as an email attachment to the special issue’s guest editor Eliza Chandler: eliza.chandler@ryerson.ca.