As more unsettling truths about our history surface, I’m thinking about why difference is so powerful.
Still from Very Presentby Conor McNally
Still from Very Present, directed by Conor McNally
From the National Indigenous History Month Screening Series by JAYU in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada

Connector Weekly

In This Edition
Creative Users Projects News
Highlights from the Community
Accessing the Arts Listings

In light of the recent discovery of remains of 215 children at Kamloops Indian Residential School, I’ve been looking at archival images online, zooming in on children’s faces to see their eyes and trying to reach past the hopelessness and numbing feeling that comes from living in an age when the most troubling parts of humanity are at our fingertips every minute of the day.

Under the weight of responsibility and the need to do something, an unsettling question keeps coming up: what can I say that hasn’t already been said?

Looking into their eyes, I thought about growing up with a disability and feeling what must be a fraction of what they once felt being forced to see themselves as an offense.

I understand what it's like to be enveloped by an institution whose primary mission is to assimilate, eradicate and make me presentable to society. However, as a white child with white parents, I’ve never had to worry if I’d ever see my family or home again nor have I ever had to fear for my life.

Many of us are well aware that we are part of a system that’s built on the colonial premise that to be different is to be categorically “unfit”, inferior and less deserving of life.

We see it play out in the police brutality of Black and Indigenous people, and in the lack of justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. We see it in advanced gene therapy that suggests parents can one day start designing what kind of children they want to have. We see it play out in a global pandemic - the way we neglect our elderly, or prioritize vaccinating certain neighborhoods over others regardless of what the data is telling us. I heard it play out recently in a conversation with my father who confessed to still being disappointed that his child was born deaf.

If we are aware we play a part in this system, we know we can play a part in changing it. Despite all the effort that goes towards fighting it, difference is not an offense but an instrument of power.

Next week, with Anishinaabe Elder Mona Stonefish (Bear Clan) and Sky Stonefish (Anishinaabe, Bear Clan) at the helm, Creative Users will be embarking on a journey with scholars, artists and curators of Into the Light: Eugenics and Education in Southern Ontario using difference-centred design to talk about this difficult history and exploring what it means to learn it and what it means to teach it.

My hope is that through art, we can play a small part in bringing this history to light and untangle the experience of “knowing” and learning so that more of us can see that, no matter where you come from, we each have the power to do something.

Thank you for reading. If you’d like to support, please consider: To access support and crisis referral services: Warmest,

Creative Users Projects News

ASL icon
Network Connector prototype presented by Deaf Spectrum
Thanks to the folks at Deaf Spectrum, our prototype for Network Connector is now available in ASL! If you haven't seen it, watch it here and send us your reactions. Again, there’s no right or wrong answer, and you don't have to worry about hurting our feelings. Send us your reaction directly by replying to this email or anonymously using this form.

Highlights from the Community

Icon of a marquee with stars
Featured Event: Decolonise Your Ears New Play Festival, Red Betty Theatre (June 24-26)
The inaugural Decolonise Your Ears New Play Festival by Red Betty Theatre is a three-day virtual festival running June 24th to June 26th. Decolonising theatre means expressing culturally specific ideas, mythologies, music, dance; IBPOC bodies occupying space in celebration of their unique identities, and subverting rigid hierarchies that inevitably harm ‘lesser’ company members, in favour of a more equitable approach. ASL interpretation will be provided.
Icon of four teardrops
National Indigenous History Month
June is National Indigenous History Month, intended to recognize and celebrate the history, heritage and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. JAYU, in partnership with the National Film Board, presents their National Indigenous History Month Screening Series, a selection of recent documentary shorts curated to help amplify Indigenous voices and celebrate Indigenous culture. Films are captioned.
Icon of confetti and stars
June is Pride Month!
Happy Pride! Among the many things to check out this month, Pride Toronto presents programming throughout June, including an ASL Youth showcase on June 20th and the Indigenous People’s Day Showcase on June 21st. Closed captioning will be available for some events, and ASL interpretation can be requested for events where it is not already provided.

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre's Queer Pride programming includes two events curated by Deaf BIPOC artists Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon and Courage Bacchus. Check out The Gap – Deaf Queer Women: Where Is Their Space?, a panel discussion on June 22nd centering Deaf theatre artists, and Splitting the Lens, an improv workshop on June 23rd. Also, sign up for a Buddies in Bad Times Pride Pen Pal by June 8th!

Regina's Queen City Pride starts today through June 13th, with ASL interpretation and captioning for selected events.

The Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival runs through June 6th; many films screen with captions or subtitles and you can stream them all with their Reel Access pass.

The Queer Women of Color Film Festival runs June 11th to June 13th, with subtitled/captioned films and ASL interpretation and CART for filmmaker Q&As.

And, check out this list by Alex Masse at posAbilities of queer and disabled artists and activists to know about, including a playlist of queer and disabled musicians.
Icon of four teardrops
Nogojiwanong Indigenous Fringe Festival
The first ever Indigenous Fringe Festival - the Nogojiwanong Indigenous Fringe Festival (NIFF) - runs from June 21st though June 27th. The Nogojiwanong Indigenous Fringe Festival will be very different from other Fringe Festivals, as an Indigenous-led project based in a holistic approach to creating a community of support for Indigenous artists rooted in culture and building for a sustainable future. For this reason, the Festival will include the Knowledge Sharing Project - an extensive commitment to the development and transmittal of cultural knowledge and creative practice.
Icon of a video with play button
Red on Red
What happens when four Indigenous women come together in a dance studio? Exploring social justice through arts practice, a collective of Indigenous artists co-created a shared vision healing violence through dance, performance and storytelling. Red on Red combines movement and text, and embodies the in-between space of life and death and advocates for the ones gone and lost. Presented by Intrepid Theatre Company, Red on Red will be available to view on demand between June 20th and June 26th. Closed captioned.
ASL icon
Deaf, what?
Check out the newly-launched Deaf, what? website, which began as a multimedia exhibit by Toronto-based artist Sage Lovell in collaboration with photographer Alice Lo to highlight the experiences and contributions of activists, change-makers and everyday people who identify within the Deaf spectrum – as having some degree of deafness. You can watch their series of digital original videos and see some of the portraits on the Deaf, what? website!
Icon of a video with play button
Tangled Art Talks: Vanessa Dion Fletcher
Catch this artist talk video on June 18th with Vanessa Dion Fletcher, a Lenape and Potawatomi neurodiverse artist, part of the Tangled Art Talks series in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario. The series presents videos by six artists from Tangled’s community that showcase their artistic practices in response to artwork in the AGO Collection.
ASL icon
Today at 6pm ADT, Deaf Spectrum and Sign with Amar will be facilitating an introductory 2SLGBTQIA+ ASL Workshop through the Youth Project over Zoom. This interactive workshop will be an hour long, with an additional 15 minutes for questions.  Two ASL interpreters will be in attendance, and Rev live captions will be provided.
Icon of a cloud and arrow
Call for Submissions: AGM LOVE LAB Learning and Mentorship Program for LGBTQ+ Emerging Artists
LOVE LAB is a queer photo/film tech-residency to engage community in an intersectional conversation to train LGBTQ+ emerging artists within the 905 area. Emerging artists will learn skills guided by a team of experienced mentors and innovative workspace and technology partners through educational art-making activities. The deadline to apply is June 11th.
Icon of a laptop
Anti-Oppression Training for Theatre Arts Workers
June 26th and July 3rd, Shakespeare in the Ruff presents Anti-Oppression Training for Theatre Arts Workers, led by theatre artist and educator Makram Ayache. This two day training is designed for theatre artists, educators, and leaders interested in deepening their understanding of Anti-Racism and 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion. ASL interpretation will be provided.
Icon of four teardrops
The Nextfest Arts Company is made up of hundreds of young and emerging artists from a wide variety of disciplines, banding together to present Edmonton’s annual multi-disciplinary arts festival: Nextfest. Nextfest is a common ground for the next generation of creators and producers - the future is theirs! This year, prepare yourself for an evening of film, dance, theatre, and other multidisciplinary escapades all live on NextfestTV, through June 13th. All performances will be open captioned.
Icon of two speech bubbles
Creating an Accessible Performing Arts Sector
On June 7th, Realwheels Theatre is pulling back the curtain on what it means to have a disability through the power of theatre. Learn more about how they advocate for social change, both on and off Canadian stages, by creating and producing performances that deepen the understanding of what it means to live with a disability.
Icon of a movie camera
Call for Submissions: imagineNATIVE 2021
Submissions for the 2021 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival are open until June 11th! The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the world’s largest Indigenous festival showcasing film, video, audio, and digital + interactive media made by Indigenous screen-content creators. This year's festival will be held in October.
Icon of two speech bubbles
A Brief History of Disability and Art with Amanda Cachia
Learn how disability and visual art intersect across history and inform our contemporary understanding of disability artistry. On June 7th, Arts Access hosts Amanda Cachia, who will share a presentation with visuals and leave time for questions and conversation. Audio description of visuals will be provided.
Icon of an open book
Essay: Moving to a Bigger Stage
Chris Dodd writes for Theatre Alberta as part of their Who Are We Now? Essays From A New World series, an initiative bringing editorial perspectives from a variety of Albertan artists about the rapidly changing world we live and work in. Read more about COVID experiences from the perspective of a Deaf artist, online accessibility and exploring a new “normal” to connect with audiences both live and digitally.
Icon of a movie camera
Calls for Artists: Next Stage
Applications are now open for Toronto Fringe's 2022 Next Stage Theatre Festival! The 2022 festival will present a hybrid series of in-person and digital productions and will take place in January. The selection jury commits to reserving at least 50% of production spots for artists who are Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Colour. Applications are due June 14th.
Icon of a laptop
Intro Photo Workshop – Eye Beyond the Camera with Gabriela Garcia-Luna
On June 17th, Listen to Dis' Community Arts Organization will be hosting an online photography workshop with Saskatoon-based artist Gabriela Garcia-Luna, as part of our Visiting Artist Series. If you have an analog, digital, or smartphone camera, this free online workshop can help you get more out of it. ASL interpretation will be provided.
Icon of a movie with play button
Access Festival 2021
The ACCESS Festival is a free community arts and social awareness festival that marks BC Access Awareness Day in early June, focusing exclusively on issues of access and equity for people with visible and invisible disabilities and equity for BIPOC and other equity seeking individuals and communities. The festival runs through tomorrow, when you can catch an encore presentation of Wheel Voices: Tune In by Realwheels Theatre, with audio description by VocalEye. If you missed any so far, check out the festival programming on YouTube!
Icon of an open book
Crippled by Paul David Power
Available for pre-order from Breakwater Books, Crippled is a story about love, death, life and redemption. Paul Power’s play, Crippled, has garnered awards and glowing reviews for his portrayal of his experiences as a person living with a disability. Now in a published form, his story of challenge, loss, and redemption presents universal themes and emotions told through a voice that is not often heard in the mainstream.
Reel Asian Festival Call For Submissions
Submissions are open for the 2021 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, which hosts Canada’s largest pan-Asian film festival and showcases 50 to 80 films each year from Canada and around the world. This year's festival will be held in November. Submissions are due by June 14th.
Icon of a laptop
New Media: A Tool For Placemaking
On June 10th, New Media: A Tool For Placemaking engages Indigenous new media artists Meagan Byrne and Bracken Hanuse-Corlett in a discussion facilitated by Franchesca Hebert-Spence, on exploring new media as a tool for placemaking in public art. Examining ideas of space and cultural belonging in relation to new technologies, these panelists will discuss the ongoing advancements, challenges and opportunities posed by public artworks rooted in virtual media. Presented by STEPS Public Art and the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition. Closed captioning will be available.
Icon of a video with play button
Ottawa Fringe 2021
This year's digital Ottawa Fringe takes place from June 17th to June 27th. Closed captioning, transcripts with show details and audio pre-show notes describing the show, the characters and some visual descriptions of the characters and set will be provided.
Icon of a laptop
Indian Summer Festival 2021
Indian Summer Festival is an annual arts festival produced by Indian Summer Arts Society, presenting acclaimed international and local artists, connecting Vancouver to itself and the world. Beginning June 17th, Indian Summer Festival offers audiences multi-arts experiences curated through a South Asian lens and centering the exciting work of culturally diverse artists. All digital events will be professionally captioned and will be transcribed in advance when possible. A dedicated space for blind and partially sighted guests to access a selection of the program will be available.

Accessing the Arts Listings

Icon of a form with a pencil
Icon of a calendar with a star
Icon of a hand and smartphone
Icon of a magnifying glass
Connector is a newsletter highlighting accessible arts in Canada. In each edition, we connect artists and audiences with different organizations in regions across the country to get the word out about programming that has been curated with different bodies in mind. Our goal is to foreground Canada’s accessible arts culture by getting information out!

Please feel free to share this newsletter with a friend.

If you have an event you'd like to include on our events listing or in a future newsletter, please visit our online submission form!

You can update your subscription preferences at any time. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information and updates!
We acknowledge that inclusion in the arts relies upon listening, communication, and being responsive. We also acknowledge that lived experiences of exclusion, discrimination and oppression are real and unique to each individual. For these reasons, and because we do not organize the events we list, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of information provided, nor can we guarantee the quality of accessibility at events. Our goal is to make accessibility in the arts easy to find, and to provide you with as much information as possible, so that you, the user, can make informed choices based on your needs. Our hope is that, in doing this, we can put inclusion at the forefront of Canada’s arts sector.
Creative Users Projects: Twitter
Creative Users Projects: Facebook
Accessing the Arts
Thank you to our funders:
Logos: Canada Council for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council and Government of Canada
Copyright © 2021 Creative Users Projects, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp