This week, we're thinking about what change looks like when we change our mindset.
A comic by Crippen, with a frowning person pointing at a sign reading "Normality training: How to stop upsetting people by looking disabled." A person carrying a crutch and another wearing dark glasses and carrying a white cane respond to the frowning person by saying: "Be normal – but what makes you think we’d want to lower our standards."
It's UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities! Here's a funny cartoon from Dave Lupton aka Crippen.

Connector Weekly

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

Change happens when mindsets change.

That's the first line of an access resource guide we’re working on and I'm worried it’s the kind of opener that will make the less idealistic reader roll their eyes.

Thanks to the (probably outdated) social model of disability, a recent collision of mindsets at a dog park made me aware, with breathtaking clarity, that mine most certainly has changed.

I’ll spare you the details but basically, it went like this:

Man-I’ve-never-met-before: “What’s your diagnosis?”

Me: “What?”

Man-I’ve-never-met-before: “Is it Nagers or Miller? What’s your diagnosis?”

Me: “What?!”  At this point, I realize what he means but I’m hoping he’ll take the hint and let it go.

Man-I’ve-never-met-before: “I’m a craniofacial plastic surgeon and I can see something is going on with how you sound and the asymmetry." A sweeping hand gesture to his face. "We’re doing great things here, you should get in touch with me.”

Me: (Is this really happening?) “Thanks, but I think I’m okay actually”

It seemed in his mind, I was this random woman with a facial difference hoping, praying to bump into a surgeon who could rescue her from an abnormal and hence despairing existence. Meanwhile, in my mind, I was sorting out what to do with the chicken thighs in my fridge while trying to locate the poo my dogs had just taken at opposite ends of the park.

Change happens when mindsets change. 10 years ago, I would have believed “Man-I’ve-never-met-before” had the solution to all my problems. I had forgotten there was a time when I thought that if I could erase my difference, if I could be normal, then in the world Man-I’ve-never-met-before lived in, I could fit in and find love even.

Stunned from the exchange, I walked away, my dogs pulling me into a run. I took note of what I was feeling and in the absence of shame, I smiled at the change in me.


On the subject of mindsets, here are two things I wanted to share:

If you're thinking about how you can build a culture of access at your organization, think how you might build and rebuild trust with communities that have been left out. I stumbled on this great TED talk by Frances Frei who talks about empathy in our spaces and empowering others to bring their authentic selves. 

Hannah McGregor is magic. In this bonus episode of Secret Feminist Agenda, Hannah shares through gorgeous storytelling her shifting relationship to work, fatness, racism, and settler colonialism. If you don’t have time to listen, I’ll leave you with this excerpt:

“I thought, what a way to die, the body deciding not to turn food into self, the self becoming “beautiful” for there being less of her.”  from Autobiography of Fatness by Diana Hamilton

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Creative Users Projects News

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In the interest of NOT working ourselves to death (thank you Hannah McGregor!), we’re exploring tools to help make sharing information about your events and opportunities easier and clearer. Do you want to get the word out about an accessible event or opportunity? Use our friendly form to send us your information!

Highlights from the Community

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Online Script Reading for Seatbelt by Natasha Urkow
This evening, join Listen to Dis’ Community Arts Organization to celebrate the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities with a free casual script read of Seatbelt by Listen to Dis’ artist Natasha Urkow over Zoom. Seatbelt is a dramatic cautionary tale written in autobiographical form from the true-life journey of a young woman who sustains a spinal cord injury from a violent car crash. Entering the world of “other”, it emphasizes the social and psychological anxieties that the transformation creates for her and her family. ASL interpretation will be provided.
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Practicing the Social
Practicing the Social: Entanglements of Art and Justice is a free online arts-based gathering that will merge an artistic and scholarly program in engaging and accessible ways. This gathering will showcase artistic and scholarly practices, performances, and works that engage in non- or anti-normative art and cultural production (fat art, aging art); decolonizing and Indigenizing themes/processes; gender and sexuality; difference and identity; Indigenous, Black, queer, trans, and crip pasts, presents and futures; Black feminism and intersectionality; crip and queer culture, access, and activism; and more. Hosted by Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice at the University of Guelph with Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life from January 20th to January 22nd. ASL and Audio Description interpretation and live captioning will be available for all keynotes, panel presentations, and live performances.
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December RoundUp
Join Disability Without Poverty on December 9th for their next RoundUp, which will celebrate two multitalented artists and a disability inclusive dance school. They’ll be welcoming writer and performer Brenda Baker, storyteller and musical artist Raisa Stone, and dance and performing arts Powell School of Dance Inc. ASL, LSQ, English/French closed captioning, as well as simultaneous French translation will be provided.
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May I Take Your Arm?
In celebration of Beyond Walls, Theatre Passe Muraille's recent theatre re-opening, which featured ReDefine Arts (RDA) artists, RDA has re-opened the May I Take Your Arm? website. May I Take Your Arm? is a blind-led artistic collaboration by Alex Bulmer, Anna Camilleri, Tristan R. Whiston, Becky Gold, Katie Yealland & Wy Joung Kou. Alex Bulmer takes the arm of people in her new neighbourhood, and 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. This iteration of May I Take Your Arm? has been re-imagined into a 7-part multidisciplinary follow-at-home experience. A purpose built website acts as a navigation map for audiences to experience the work in their own homes, in their own time and pace.
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acts of faith
By popular demand, Factory Theatre is excited to rebroadcast last year’s digital production of acts of faith so that audiences who missed out (or who just want to see it again!) can have another chance, through December 4th, to catch this whirlwind play written exclusively for digital presentation. From the African Copperbelt to the back woods of Muskoka, acts of faith tells a story about the power of belief, the disillusionment of youth and the eternal struggle between good and evil. ASL interpretation and closed captioning available at all performances.
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Open Access: Setting a New Cultural Standard for Accessibility
On December 17th, Other Sights for Artists' Projects hosts a workshop led by Carmen Papalia, where participants approach accessibility as an ongoing creative process that is guided by community needs. From the time disabled people were invited into museums, their access was imagined for them by non-disabled decision-makers, a trend that not only continues today but has shaped the access that disabled artists, curators and, cultural workers have within the visual and performing arts. This workshop is intended as a point of departure, a context where participants can determine what accessibility means when approached as an ongoing creative process that is guided by community needs. Auto-captioning, live-captioning, ASL and graphic recording will be provided during this event.
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Q2Q-2: Refusing the Queer Monolith
What does it mean to actively question what binds us as a queer theatre community and instead support multiple and often overlapping queer communities? How do we create environments that support division without being divisive? Through a series of digital longtables, roundtables, and performances, Q2Q-2: Refusing the Queer Monolith aims to foster discussions and collaboration across the many Queer performance communities. The conference is free and open to all, but advance registration is required. All panels and workshops will be ASL interpreted. Virtu-Queer: A Digital Queer Cabaret will be captioned. An Evening with Vivek Shraya will be ASL interpreted.
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Queer Frontiers: "Reading Into Slantwise The Other Hand" Workshop
London Ontario Media Arts Association (LOMAA) welcomes Daniella Sanader, Fan Wu, and Serena Lee for the eighth and final invited artist event in their Queer Frontiers series. Sanader, Wu, and Lee will host an online workshop on Saturday December 11. This event won’t be available for viewing beyond its original presentation date, so don’t miss out! ASL interpretation and Zoom captions will be available.
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Deaf, what? Docuseries
The fall season of Deaf, what? is out, and you can check out the first two episodes of this round, as well as past episodes, on the Deaf, what? YouTube channel. The first episode features artist and photographer Alice Lo, and the second episode features Sage Lovell, the founder of Deaf, what? Episodes are in ASL, with captions and audio.
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Call to Artists: Online Exhibitions
Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba has an open call to artists for their online exhibitions, held monthly to showcase the work of Canadian artists with disabilities. Their goal is to increase awareness of the amazing artworks being created by artists with disabilities, and to decrease barriers to participation in the arts for both makers and audiences. Emerging and established artists of all disciplines are welcome to submit work for consideration. The deadline is ongoing; submissions will be reviewed on December 15th and February 18th.
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Artists in Residence 2022
Building on the success of their inaugural 2020 Artists in Residence programs (AiR), Luminato is welcoming applicants for the 2022 program. Five Greater Toronto, Southern Ontario artists from varying disciplines, each with at least 10 years of professional practice, will be chosen for this 7-month paid residency, running from January through July 2022. AiR offers time and resources for artists to work on one large scale project, forge new relationships with like-minded artists across various mediums, and develop programming and curatorial skills. Successful applicants will also be involved in various Luminato initiatives throughout the residency and especially during the festival, including opportunities to lead workshops and other public facing events. Accessibility features for the work will be developed with the artists and the Luminato Access team. Apply by December 5th!
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A Canadian premiere based on true events, Daisy tells the story of the Madison Avenue advertising team that set out to create the first modern political attack ad for the 1964 presidential campaign of Lyndon Johnson. Infamously known as the “Daisy ad,” it ran once and was immediately banned, but its impact is still felt. War was the objective. Peace was the bait. Everyone got duped. Hosted by the Great Canadian Theatre Company through December 17th, with an ASL interpreted performance on December 8th and relaxed performances on December 7th and December 12th.
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VocalEye: Almost Live
VocalEye holds their Almost Live Zoom events on Wednesday evenings, hosted by Amy Amantea. Don't miss Almost Live: acts of faith on December 8th, and Almost Live: Project Fire Flower on December 15th. Almost Live Zoom events are designed to be accessible for audience members who are blind and partially sighted. Sighted supporters and guests with other disabilities are welcome to attend. Events are free but registration is required for new attendees.
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UnCovered: The Music of Dolly Parton
The Musical Stage Company’s 15th annual signature concert spotlights hit songs from the Queen of Country, onstage at Koerner Hall. Join in from the safety of your own home through December 11th (with a special holiday viewing on December 30th) for this evening of world-class talent, filmed in one of Toronto’s most breathtaking venues, offering you an up-close and personal view that is unlike how you have ever seen UnCovered before. ASL interpreted performances will be offered December 8th to December 11th. To access the ASL interpretation as part of your UnCovered Digital Experience, you must book an ASL interpreted ticket. All ASL-interpreted tickets are Pay-What-You-Wish.
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Made In Exile Listening Party
Theatre Passe Muraille is excited to present three new audio dramas from Made in Exile, now available for free online. Made in Exile is a grassroots community arts based initiative that started in 2015 for and by Tibetan youth navigating exilehood. Written by emerging Tibetan women playwrights, the audio dramas speaks to Tibetan experiences and identities in the past, present, and future. The audio dramas are all performed in English and available on the Theatre Passe Muraille website. Tibetan translations of the plays and English transcripts of the plays will be made available to audiences who require them. You can also join on December 8th an online listening party of the audio dramas followed by a Q&A with the playwrights.
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Agreement Making for Creative Practice with Alex Elliott and Ali Robson
For over a year Alex and Ali have been having conversations about the agreements that we make when we engage in creative work in a studio together and how those agreements can contribute to safer and braver creative spaces. This workshop will share their considerations and engage participants in dialogue about writing letters of agreement and contracts. Participants will be invited to read/write/share their own ideas and experiences with agreement making. The workshop will be geared towards independent artists, collectives and groups. Hosted by Young Lungs Dance Exchange on December 10th, this free workshop includes ASL interpretation.
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At This Hour
Zuppa Theatre, in association with The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, The Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and Signs of the Maritimes Deaf Theatre Troupe presents At This Hour, a docu-drama investigation into the causes of the Halifax Explosion, running from December 2nd to December 12th at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. At This Hour is a documentary theatre lecture about the Halifax Explosion created with and for the Blind/Partially Sighted and Deaf communities, and will feature a hearing cast and Deaf cast performing the show simultaneously. There will be a relaxed performance on December 9th.
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Art Encounters Program
The Toronto Outdoor Art Fair provides support and mentorship to a select group of artists to offset the barriers and pressure of participating in the Fair. Artists who require accessibility and financial support are eligible to apply for additional assistance through their Art Encounters program - Deaf artists and/or artists who identify as having a disability, Indigenous artists and newcomer artists (less than 3 years in Canada) can apply. The deadline to apply without a late fee is February 28th.
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Call for Artists: CreateSpace Public Art Forum
Are you, or an artist you know, interested in gaining experience, building networks and professional skills needed to launch or expand a public art practice? STEPS Public Art is launching CreateSpace Public Art Forum, a digital forum that will virtually convene 50 participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities and between the ages of 18-25. This forum will foster connections, build understanding across geographies and cultures, as well as provide emerging equity-seeking artists with the skills, relationships and support needed to develop public art practices. Talks/workshops will be available in both video (YouTube) and audio (Podcast) versions with ASL translations. Program components will be offered primarily in English, with translation and ASL services available as needed to support participation of a diverse community of artists. Apply by December 12th!
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BEING Studio news
The BEING Studio Snow Day Shop is back, with sales supporting artists directly and helping to keep BEING running as a disability-led space in the community. You can shop online or attend their in-person Snow Day Pop-up shop on December 4th! Also, check out the first episode of Season 2 of the BEING Studio podcast, SPEAK, now available on the BEING Home website.
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Career Catalyst: Project Grants for New Generation Artists
The Ontario Arts Council is committed to supporting the next generation of artists, whose ideas and innovations are the future of the arts. They recognize that many young artists today face barriers to gaining experience as professional artists and securing support for their work in competitive and established arts environments. The Career Catalyst program funds New Generation artists (ages 18-30) in the province who are at a crucial career stage to further their practice during a period of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program’s priorities are to support artists who, in addition to being New Generation artists, are artists of colour, Deaf artists and artists with disabilities. Francophone artists, Indigenous artists and artists living in regions outside Toronto. Applications are due December 16th.
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Call for Participants: Queer Futurisms
The Toronto Queer Film Festival (TQFF) is seeking proposals for its annual Symposium around the theme of Queer Futurisms. Queer Futurisms seeks to explore the future possibilities of 2Spirit/Queer/Trans existence and those who dream these possibilities for all of us through their art – be it through: speculative fiction, sci-fi, automythography, documentary, biography, etc. TQFF seeks your perspectives and experiences on how we, as individuals, and through communal efforts, can shape the future. Proposals are due December 15th.
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HOMO: A Queer Cabaret 2021
After a COVID hiatus, this audience favourite is back for a two-night run this winter on December 10th and December 11th! Now called simply, HOMO, Intrepid Theatre’s winter cabaret of queer art is always a sell-out. Prepare for a night of cabaret, camp and surprises. HOMO is a unique night of art, performance, experimentation, frivolity and uncharted territory. This campy cabaret features a diverse line-up of queer artists, experimenters, and boundary pushers in raucous cabaret acts, fabulous performance pieces, and brand new work created just for HOMO. The December 10th performance will be ASL interpreted.

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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