Disability Arts & Activism Archive

ID: Image is streaks of white and golden light over swirling, branching lines. Text says, “The Disability Arts & Activism Archive: A digital archive of disability organizing and arts in BC”

We’ve had some exciting things underway at Kickstart, and are thrilled to be able to share with you a little bit about what has been happening! It is our great pleasure to introduce you to the “Disability Arts & Activism Archive” project, and the project lead Q – Learn more about Q below! 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Disability Arts & Activism Archive (DAAA) will trace much-needed disability* movement and arts history across what is colonially called British Columbia. Reflecting on broader movements across “North America” and even globally, how can we better honour work that has been done by marginalized disabled people in an ongoing and accessible** way?

The DAAA will begin with a series of interviews with disabled artists and organizers recounting their experiences and desires: What have they organized for? What have they created in response to? What parts of disability arts and organizing offer us necessary wisdom for the present moment? 

Following these interviews, disabled artists of various disciplines will be engaged for a multi-media interpretation process, which will be unique to each interview and interpreter. An example for inspiration may be crip intimacy & digital detritus, a multi-media interview between Q and Robin Eames for Sydney’s Digital Writers’ Festival 2019 that is linked in this line of text

All of this will culminate in a website on which these interviews and their interpretations are housed alongside an interactive timeline detailing dates in which art was made or communities mobilized. 

The DAAA will hopefully continue to grow and be added to in future further iterations of this first foray. Disability arts and histories have immeasurable value to both our own lives and to the fabric of our society. Whether we are included or excluded from that society, we continue to exist vibrantly, wholly, in the context of the world around us. A lack of documentation is an attempt at erasure—one that will hopefully be less successful with our collective efforts. 

*disability here defined as – Madness, mental illness, chronic illness, chronic pain, neurodivergence, limb and facial difference, physical disability, sensory disability, d/Deaf/hard of hearing; with the understanding that claiming Disabled is complicated for many for community, cultural, or individual reasons. 

**accessible here meaning both where the knowledge is held and how it is presented, ie accessible in time-space and in format-presentation.

Open Call For disabled/Mad/crip/ill Artists!

The DAAA is looking for disabled/Mad/crip/ill artists in what is colonially known as (cka) “BC” to create artwork in response to interviews about disability arts and organizing. Whether you’re a painter, digital artist, or musician; a textile artist, poet, or installation artist; whether you work in one medium or incorporate many: If it can be documented to display on a publicly accessible website, we’re interested!

For this stage of the DAAA, we’re looking for 7 artists in cka “BC” working in any medium, who will each receive an honorarium of $1,000 CAD upon completion of their artwork. This artwork will be expected to be completed within six weeks, beginning late November with a deadline at the end of December.

As explained in Kickstart’s June introduction, the DAAA has been conducting interviews with disabled/Mad/crip/ill people with experience in disability arts and organizing in cka “BC”. Disabled/Mad/crip/ill artists (you!) of various disciplines will each be paired with an interview to respond to its contents by creating an artwork of any medium that reflects your thoughts and experiences with the interview. These interviews and their interpretations will be published on the DAAA’s archive website alongside an interactive timeline of dates from the interviews in which art was made or communities have come together.

While creating this artwork, you can request a conversation with the person whose interview you’re interpreting. This request will be dependent on the interviewee’s consent.

SELECTION PROCESS:

Understanding that a lot of projects about disability are overwhelmingly white, middle class, cisgender, and straight, the DAAA will prioritize applications from marginalized disabled/Mad/crip/ill individuals reflecting a broad experience of disability, including and particularly Black, Indigenous, and racialized people; 2 Spirit and Indigequeer people; queer, trans, and LGBTQIA+ people; and people whose lived expertise is rarely prioritized or included (e.g. people who have experienced incarceration, poverty, im/migration, houselessness, drug use, etc). For maximum transparency, selection criteria is explored and explained a little more in the application form.

ACCESS SUPPORT FOR PARTICIPANTS:

Language translation/interpretation (including ASL) and captioning is available as needed. Active listeners (people who can provide emotional support in case you are creating art in response to or recalling your own traumatic or difficult events, or otherwise need them) are available upon request at any stage of your participation. Any further access support you need will be gladly received and all efforts to ensure your meaningful inclusion and participation will be made.

TO APPLY:

You can apply through this Google form: Artist Application Form.

If you have any questions or concerns about the DAAA, or wish to apply by email instead of Google form, please contact us at Disability.Arts.Activism.Archive@gmail.com. Email applications can be made in the form of text, video, or voice recordings.

Deadline for artist applications is Friday, October 7th, 2022.

If this deadline is a barrier, please email us to discuss a workable solution.

Meet Q!

Q [they/it] 
Image Description: Q, a white person with short dirty blonde hair, wearing a black toque, big circular sunglasses, a small dangly mushroom earring, red knit sweater, beige wool vest, and loose blue jeans. On its vest are several pins: one is a 3D-printed shelf mushroom, another says “Dangerous Dyke,” and the third has illustrated fungi and says “Weird But Wonderful”. It’s standing among ferns and bracken, one hand resting on a dead branch, smiling at someone out of frame. 
photo credit: Q’s anonymous partner (does not wish to be named)

Q is a disability justice educator, accessibility & culture consultant, and grassroots death doula on the land of the Pilalt and Ts’elxwéyeqw tribes of the Stó꞉lō Nation. 

​It has worked as an educator and consultant with organizations such as Verses Festival of Words and Vancouver Poetry House, Women Against Violence Against Women, and Pivot Legal Society. It has also spoken at conferences such as the Edmonton Men’s Health Collective and Converge Con, and written for publications such as Briarpatch, ANMLY, and Pride Magazine on queer disabled culture and artist-activist movements.

With an understanding of queercrip culture and community grown from its love of mycology and especially mycelium, Q brings its joy for connection and shared learning to every project and engagement. It also brings a lot of cat and dog fur collected on its clothes from its furry family, and at least one fiber arts project.

Stay tuned to our website, newsletter & social media for more project updates!


About Kickstart Disability Arts

Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture is a Vancouver based arts non-profit that supports and promotes artists who identify as living with disabilities.

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