Hi again, this week it’s blue velvet attire and gatekeepers as we connect with the word “access”.
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2021 Hot Docs Festival (April 29th - May 9th)
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Connector Weekly

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

The gatekeepers are losing their hold.

I don’t think I’m old but I’m old enough to be able to say that.

I won’t deny the gatekeepers are still there, but my sense is that they’re not as powerful as they were in say 1997, when I first crossed the floor of a lecture hall at OCAD to take a seat at one of the many fold up tables arranged neatly in rows. I was having my portfolio of paintings assessed by one of their (yes, white male) faculty members - the harbinger of admission or rejection.

That day came to my mind a decade later when I found myself in line at an exclusive club in Lisbon - incognito in a blue velvet dress. The bouncer stopped me at the door and took one long minute to look me over head to toe before allowing me through.

That feeling that comes from being allowed “in'', from being attractive enough, able enough, cool enough, woke enough, skillful or talented enough to be “admissible” is powerful and I’ve spent a lot of my time chasing or running away from that feeling.

It’s dawned on me, this culture of who does and doesn’t get “in” is unravelling thanks to Deaf and disabled artists who have been steadily forming our own spaces, our own voices and determining for ourselves what it means to be “in”.  The experimentation of new digital cultural practices as a result of the pandemic is only speeding up this unravelling process.

Sometimes I think the word “access” is so overused, that thing happens when you stare at a word for so long it starts to lose its meaning.  It’s this legacy of activism in the arts and a shifting culture, where I find that the word takes shape again.

We want to hear from you! How does the word “access” take shape for you? And, how has it changed this last year? What cultural practices have you seen change that you hope to stick around in a post-COVID world?

We’re working on a digital collage with Bodies in Translation to share your reflections! Your contribution can be in the form of a story, poem, artwork, image/video or audio or even just a quick thought in an email!

Send us your reflection by replying to this email or contribute anonymously online. PS. EVERYONE (you, yes, you) can contribute!

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this email, please share it with your friends. If you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can read previous issues and subscribe here.


Creative Users News

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Coming soon!!
We've been at the drawing board with students at U of T's iSchool and Network Connector members working on a digital prototype to explore what kinds of features can better support connections in the Deaf and disability arts community. Next week we hope to be able to share with you what we've been working on so keep tuned!

Network Connector has 96 members and is growing. You can learn more or add your profile here!

Highlights from the Community

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Featured Event: 2021 Hot Docs Festival
April 29 to May 9

The 2021 Hot Docs Festival will be available for audiences across Canada to stream! Don't miss the opening night screening of A.rtificial I.mmortality, along with a live-streamed Q&A featuring the film's director Ann Shin and special guests—both real and virtual—to discuss this year’s opening night film. A number of films will screen with closed captions. Q&As for these films will also be presented with either closed captioning or live captioning (CART). Films with full subtitles are also available. All industry sessions will be presented with either closed captioning or live captioning (CART).
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Living Online Through the Pandemic: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life
On April 18th, Emergent Futures CoLab members Carla Rice, Eliza Chandler, Rana El Kadi, Margaret Lam, and Chelsea Jones will be co-presenting papers on a panel entitled Living Online Through the Pandemic: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life at the Society for Disability Studies conference. This panel takes up intersectional experiences of access through technology, discussing disability community members’ struggles and emerging activist possibilities identified by some for the COVID-19 era and beyond.
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Postcards from my Balcony
Travelling, sneezing, writing and tweezing - Postcards from my Balcony is a short film that follows blind writer Alex Bulmer as she returns from the UK to Canada while a pandemic erupts. She writes postcards under quarantine - little big thoughts sent out to the world. Join Common Boots Theatre on April 22nd to watch Postcards from my Balcony, written and performed by Alex Bulmer and directed by Leah Cherniak. Live music by Deanna H. Choi and John Millard and conversation to follow.
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Call for Applications: Access Coordinator
BC residents! Upintheair Theatre is looking for an access coordinator with experience in community outreach and strong access competencies for their upcoming rEvolver Festival. This role will support rEvolver artists, staff, consultants and guests with information regarding the access needs of artists and audiences. There is no specific deadline to apply; the position is open until filled.
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Interdependent Magic: Disability Performance in Canada
Interdependent Magic: Disability Performance in Canada is a collection of plays and interviews by, for, and about Disabled theatre artists that invite readers into the magical worlds of Disability arts culture. The book, edited by Jessica Watkin, features four plays by Alex Bulmer, Boys in Chairs Collective, Syrus Marcus Ware and Chris Dodd, as well as interviews with artists Justin Manyfingers and Niall McNeill. Available for pre-order.
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Earth Day with Propeller Dance
Celebrate Earth Day on April 25th with Propeller Dance! Explore how we all experience and embrace natural spaces through dance and our technical selves. The event includes a presentation of Propeller Dance repertoire, including the 2017 site-specific work, The Wild Life, and a video by UK-based Stopgap Dance Company. There will also be a presentation with accessibility activist and nature photographer Catherine Gardner, and a discussion with Propeller Dance artists on the struggle and the adventure of creating The Wild Life. Audio description is included for the prerecorded elements, and ASL interpretation and closed captioning for the live elements.
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Blind Imaginings: A Celebration of New Writing!
Common Boots Theatre and BALANCE for Blind Adults invite you to a celebration of creative writing by members of the blind community. This gathering is a chance to come together, celebrate creativity, and enjoy good conversation. Bring your headphones for the best listening experience. The event will begin with a relaxed meet and greet, followed by readings, a screening, and a talk around with the artists. With guest host Amy Amantea, featuring new writing by Anthony Coulter, Cat Peever and Karoline Bourdeau, plus an audio-described screening of a new short film written and performed by Alex Bulmer.
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Queer Frontiers Presents Jess MacCormack
London Ontario Media Arts Association (LOMAA) welcomes multidisciplinary artist Jess MacCormack for the second event in their Queer Frontiers series! Jess MacCormack’s work will be presented across various social media platforms April 19th through April 25th, and LOMAA will host a virtual discussion between Jess MacCormack and Rebecca Casalino on April 25th. The video screening is closed captioned. ASL interpretation will be provided for the artist talk.
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Advancing: Cultural Accessibility During the Pandemic and Beyond
Living during a pandemic has transformed the way we present cultural programming – revealing both limitations and limitless opportunities. On April 22nd and April 29th, join the Museum, Arts and Culture Access Consortium and Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium for a two part program to explore how cultural organizations have inventively adapted to incorporate accessibility into their work during the past year. Real-time captioning and ASL interpretation will be provided.
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Opportunity: Art Training Program Coordinator
Workman Arts runs an interdisciplinary art training program for artists who identify as having lived experience of mental health and/or addiction issues. They are currently accepting applications for an Art Training Program Coordinator to implement an art training scaling project to priority neighbourhoods across the GTA in partnership with 6 local art service organizations. This position will also assist Workman Arts’ Education Manager with ongoing initiatives. The deadline to apply is April 29th.
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Disrupting Unconscious Bias
On April 22nd, Arts BC presents Disrupting Unconscious Bias with Cicely Blain, an intermediate-level workshop which will provide participants with an engaging and interactive opportunity to investigate and unpack their own personal and organizational biases. This workshop also provides educational information on the science behind cognitive bias and how it informs the decisions we make every day. ASL interpretation will be provided.
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Call for Writers: Explore Possible
Manitoba Possible is seeking writers with disabilities and/or lived experience of facing barriers for paid articles for their Explore Possible project. Explore Possible is a thought leadership initiative bringing stories of lived experiences to Manitobans and the world.
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For the Love of Nature and Self-Expression
SPiLL PROpagation presents their 2021 Art Residency, with the theme of For the Love of Nature and Self-Expression. Sign up by April 20th to receive a free special arts care package, put together for you with different materials from SPiLL’s art supplies (shipping available in Canada only). When you have received your package, get creative! Begin to create on your own or join in for a live online Creative Session. More information about SPiLL Arts is also available in ASL and LSQ.
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Unfolding Shrines
Unfolding Shrines is an augmented reality exhibition featuring the work of Jason Wilsher-Mills, Sophie Helf, Rebekah Ubuntu, and Uma Breakdown and was created in collaboration with Hot Knife Digital Media. You can experience the show via a free app, available on the App Store and Google Play, or on the Shape Arts website. The full film is available with captions and BSL interpretation, and there is an audiobook version available.
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QueerCab: Transitory Present
The present exists and is gone in the same instant. This iteration of QueerCab, presented by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, features micro-works and digital snapshots that engage with transition, fleeting moments, and ephemeral connections. Available both online and in person via QR codes from April 30th to May 7th. Featuring works by artists Erica Barta + Jen Bieber, Reece McCrone, Kim Farris-Manning, Jasmine Noseworthy Persaud, Christina Hajjar, Rye, Imran Faizyab Jatoi, Alessia Signorino, Em Lubbers and Maneesa Veeraveyil.
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Workshop: Introduction to Livestreaming & Taking Your Show Online
Creating digital theatre has become the main way for artists to create work and reach audiences over the last year, but turning your show into a digital masterpiece, or setting up for a livestream, is not easy. On April 22nd, Intrepid Theatre presents an introductory workshop with Pedro M. Siqueira, who shares his knowledge and experience in livestreaming and taking your show from stage (or living room) to screen. Real-time live captions (CART) will be provided.

Accessing the Arts Listings

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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.
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Logos: Canada Council for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council and Government of Canada
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