Disability & Disability Studies: Encountering Artistic Embodiment Anew

Visually, sensually, physically, dramatically; all the arts occur through the bodies that we have, the bodies that we are. This provokes a question – How best to relate to the intertwining of art and our bodies?  From a disability studies perspective it is not only that one-day disabled artists may appear more prominently, nor is it that arts-as-therapy sufficiently addresses disability. Beginning from the self-evident assertion that the arts are visual, sensual, physical, dramatic, and responsive to normative ways of thinking, feeling and moving, suggests that disability’s inevitable presence requires us to re-encounter embodiment anew. In what ways can people’s creative practices be read as already engaging the always present possibility of disability? Drawing upon examples from the visual arts as well as my own experiences of dyslexia, this talk aims to open explorations of disability’s meaningful presence in creative practice. The key to this opening is engagement; specifically, an engagement with embodied constraints which yields the necessary vitality to encounter creative practices anew.

Tanya Titchkosky
(c) Peg McCarthy Portraits

Dr. Tanya Titchkosky is Professor in Social Justice Education at OISE at the University of Toronto. Her books include Disability, Self, and Society (2003), as well as Reading and Writing Disability Differently (2007) and The Question of Access: Disability, Space, Meaning (2011). Tanya’s work suggests that whatever else disability is, it is tied up with the human imagination steeped in mostly unexamined conceptions of “normalcy.” Grappling with the act of interpretation with the help of Black, Queer, and Indigenous Studies, Tanya reveals the restricted imaginaries surrounding our lives in and with disability. With co-editors, she has a new reader coming out in 2022 titled DisAppearing: Encounters in Disability Studies.