Hi you, these days I’m thinking about what closeness looks like in a post-COVID world.
Alex Bulmer's hand holding onto someone's arm
May I Take Your Arm? (June 14 – June 26)
Theatre Passe Muraille / Red Dress Productions

Connector Weekly

In This Edition
Highlights from the Community
Accessing the Arts Listings

I remember the first time a boy moved the hair away from the side of my head and kissed the ruffled fold of skin where my right ear should be. It was terrifying, electrifying, and one of the most intimate moments of my life.

Recently, I dug up Mia Mingus’s essay on access intimacy because I wanted to share this excerpt with you:

“I have never had words for access intimacy before. For years, I would feel it or crave it, but not know how to describe it. It has always been just out of reach; just beyond my grasp.  I have mistaken it for emotional or political intimacy, sexual attraction or romantic desire.  I have mistakenly assumed that it would be there based on one’s identity or experience.  I have grappled with how to describe the closeness I would feel with people who my disabled body just felt a little bit safer and at ease with.”

Last week, Tangled Art + Disability hosted a focus group to explore what it means to build intimacy in a digital space. People joined from far and wide. It was one of the largest online gatherings I’ve attended since the start of the pandemic and we were all there to talk about intimacy.

The question posed, (in my own words) was, how do we replace the physical space and intimacy of the gallery with digital and still create that intimacy that we all desire in our community?

The conversation that unfolded in my breakout group revealed that the question itself is not so much a problem to solve but rather an opportunity to explore.

For years, disabled people have been using digital to access the arts however, as a result of the pandemic, the way that we meet, spark relationships, and experience intimacy online is evolving, opening doors and being tested everywhere.

My perception of space and community no longer resides solely within the confines of the grid that is Toronto or the handful of arts spaces where, in a different time, I could rely on seeing a familiar face.

Though this last year has been lonely, it has made me more aware, more energized and more inspired by the boundarylessness of our community. Knowing this when I go to bed at night and when I wake up in the morning, is a knowing and a feeling of closeness.

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


Highlights from the Community

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Featured Event: May I Take Your Arm?
Theatre Passe Muraille & Red Dress Productions
June 14th - June 26th

Blind artist Alex Bulmer takes the arm of people in her new neighbourhood. Together, they walk, listen, and share life stories — an architecture of place emerges. Experience their journeys through these multi-sensory moving-portraits that consider the past, illuminate the present, and evoke possible futures. Originally created as a live, interactive, performance installation, May I Take Your Arm? has been re-imagined into a 7-part multidisciplinary follow-at-home experience. There is an optional, tactile portion to this production: a limited edition series of Pay-What-You-Can-Afford handmade pocket accordion books by artist Anna Camilleri. The show can be experienced with or without the book.
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Weave the Way with Dawn Jani Birley
On June 6th, New(to)Town Collective presents Weave the Way, part of their online Training Jams series. What does it mean to think out of the box and why it is so important? The idea of the workshop is to take a look into the interrogation and expression of how stories are being told in the theatre. Dawn Jani Birley is a professional Deaf actor who was born to a third-generation Deaf family in Saskatchewan and identifies herself as culturally and linguistically Deaf. ASL interpretation will be provided.
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On Stage & On Page: Disability Justice in Film, Theatre, & Cultural Work
On June 3rd, join Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network for On Stage & On Page: Disability Justice in Film, Theatre, & Cultural Work, a discussion with Day al-Mohamed and Deanna Parvin Yadollahi on disability, film, theatre, performance, art and culture. ASL interpretation and CART captioning will be provided.
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Call for Submissions: Dis/Play
ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto has announced Dis/Play, a new project led by Ophira Calof which shines a light on disabled folks telling their own stories, woven into a multimedia display that will be projected onto building walls in the streets of Toronto later this year as part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022. Dis/Play is seeking general content (photographs, selfies, videos, digital artwork, or scans of visual art) and submissions for spotlit storytellers. This is a paid opportunity. If you’re interested in getting involved, please email
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Eastern Front Theatre Accessibility Project: Skills Exchange & Community Capture Sessions
The team behind the Eastern Front Theatre Accessibility Project is looking to speak to artists who have faced barriers to being welcomed in the Nova Scotia performing arts scene because of who they are. June 4th through June 10th, they're hosting free Skills Exchange sessions led by local underrepresented artists, followed by Community Capture sessions to start the conversation about what roadblocks to access exist and to imagine how to move forward together as a collective of artists. Part of the Stages Theatre Festival. Sessions will be held on Zoom. ASL Interpretation and CART will be provided.
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The Remote Access Archive
The Critical Design Lab is creating an online archive of the ways disabled people have used remote access before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Remote Access Archive will gather stories, documents, and other information about how disabled people have used technology to interact remotely. If you are disabled, Deaf, Mad, Sick, crip, or another related description you can submit stories, documents or other information. Stories and documents from Black, Indigenous, brown, people of color, queer and trans disabled people, poor and working class disabled people, and other people who are often kept out of disability communities, will be prioritized. Submissions are due July 31st.
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My Monsters Hold Me Soft
My Monsters Hold Me Soft is a free 9-session workshop for queer disabled youths ages 20–25 who have been directly affected by abuse and/or other forms of trauma. As a trauma informed and anti-oppressive workshop, this is a safe, intimate, and creative circle for those who wish to work together to heal from trauma. The workshops feature artists, art therapists, and art expressive therapists as facilitators, a counsellor, and guest speakers within the queer and disabled community. Spots are limited and the selection process will be first-come, first-served with BIPOC priority. Workshops begin May 31st.
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Workshop: Writing Descriptive Introductions
Tomorrow, VocalEye presents Writing Descriptive Introductions, a workshop to help make your events more accessible for people who are blind and partially sighted with a pre-show descriptive introduction. This workshop will explore how to gather pre-show information, what to include in descriptive introductions and how they can best serve audiences. Suitable for audio describers of all levels, AD users and those interested in learning more about arts access. The event will be recorded if you are unable to attend live.
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National AccessAbility Week 2021 - Art as Protest
The way that we think about protest is fundamentally inaccessible to people with disabilities, but how can justice be attained unless our movements include disabled voices?  For this year’s National AccessAbility Week, DAWN Canada will be exploring how art can be a more accessible form of protest beyond the parameters of a march. From May 31st to June 4th, DAWN will invite over ten women, trans, and non-binary artists with disabilities to share their work on the theme of art for social justice, including poets El Jones, Eli Tareq Lynch, and Powetik, performance artists Maxime Pomerleau and Ravyn Wngz and filmmaker Laurence Parent. Presented in English, French, ASL and LSQ with CART captioning in English and French.
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Being Seen
The Black Screen Office has launched a consultation to develop directives for creating authentic and inclusive content with underrepresented groups in partnership with Telefilm Canada. Being Seen focuses on the representation of Black, people of colour, LGBTQ2+ and Persons with Disabilities in the screen-based sectors. Consultations are ongoing with members of those communities who work in the screen-based sector and the general public. All participants who are not otherwise paid by their employer will be paid an honorarium of $50. Join an upcoming consultation for people with disabilities in English on June 4th and in French on June 2nd. Learn more about Being Seen and register for a consultation session online.
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First Friday Lecture: Trauma, Embodiment, Art by Laura Magnusson
Art can elucidate felt experiences of trauma in visual, embodied ways that are not possible through spoken and written language alone. How do artists make use of their own bodies to make visible internal, often invisible, lived realities of violence and survival? On June 4th, Mentoring Artists for Women's Art presents a talk with queer interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker Laura Magnusson, which will consider a range of interdisciplinary work from women and non-binary artists. ASL interpretation will be provided.
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the way out is the way in: an anthology of disabled poets
The League of Canadian Poets presents the way out is the way in: an anthology of disabled poets, edited by Stuart Ian McKay. This chapbook by disabled poets acknowledges and celebrates the dignity, passion, joy and difficulties poets living with disabilities encounter and overcome every day. It connects them not only to one another, but to a world that too often excludes them. Poets with disabilities, however that is defined, are invited to submit work that celebrates the struggles, the victories, the joys and mysteries of the disabled experience. The deadline to submit is May 31st.
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THIRD ACTion Film Festival
A cultural shift has started and we are but one more pebble in the landslide that is age-positive living in life's third act. The term “third act” has been around for more than a decade and Jane Fonda popularized it with her 2011 TED Talk. From June 11th to June 13th, THIRD ACTion Film Festival's focus is to celebrate ageing and the accomplishments of older adults to help speed along an age-positive culture shift and empower everyone to envision their best third act. All films are either subtitled or closed captioned. ASL interpretation will be provided for film introductions and ReCast Q&A sessions.
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Call for Submissions: Open Screen
Developed in partnership with Shape Arts, Open Screen is arebyte’s yearly open call for digital artists to be part of of arebyte on Screen, an expanded and innovative online platform for digital animations, videos, web-based interactive experiences and curatorial interventions. arebyte welcomes artists who are working with technology to their advantage, or overcoming barriers, criticising matters of inclusivity within technology, and everything in between. A panel of judges will select two proposals that will each receive a £850 artist fee to be developed by the shortlisted artists, with curatorial support from arebyte. International artists are welcome to apply. The deadline for submissions is June 13th.
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If you missed this year's Cripplepalooza, presented by Sick + Twisted Theatre earlier this month, you can catch the May 16th show on YouTube! Available with captions, audio description and ASL interpretation.
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Unscripted: Cultivating Languages of Access and Storytelling
If you missed any of the live Unscripted panels last month, co-produced by Red Dress Productions and Theatre Passe Muraille, they are now available for viewing on YouTube. All three videos include ASL interpretation and closed captions.

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!

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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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