This week, it was both the end and the beginning of something great.
A digital portrait in black and grey of Aaron Collier; half of his face is a close up of an eye
FOLDA - Festival of Live Digital Art (through June 13th)
Frequencies by Heist

Connector Weekly

In This Edition
Highlights from the Community
Accessing the Arts Listings

Five years ago, I got a message on my phone inviting me to join a group of scholars as they embark on a 7-year research project working with artists in the sphere of activism. 

When I got the notice, I was sitting with other audience members on the floor of a brightly lit stage in Glasgow watching Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis rolling over each other’s bodies like copulating worms.

When I opened the email in the lobby, my first thought was: I’m not really an activist or at least, not the kind anyone would wanna write home about. The closest thing to activism I thought I’d ever done was go to the grocery store with my hair pulled back in a bun. 

Once I got back to Toronto, I opened the one hundred page project brief that was sent to me and read this on the first page:

“In this project, ‘activist art’ refers to: disability art, Deaf art, Mad art, aging and e/Elder art, fat art, and Indigenous art. We, the researchers, artists, curators, practitioners, and community members on this grant, explore the relationship between cultivating activist art and achieving social and political justice. We believe that activist art holds the power to represent these aggrieved communities who are routinely represented as non-vital, a representation that often produces violent and even deadly effects– differently; as artistic, creative, agentive, political, community-connected, and full of vitality.”

By this definition, I recognized myself as an activist, passive maybe, shy, and full of questions, but an activist nonetheless and before I turned the page, I knew I was in.

I read about the 70 artists, researchers and collaborators who would be involved and a week later, I drove to Guelph to meet the team who would become the managing committee: Tracy Tidgwell, artist and member of Fat Rose, Nadine Changfoot, Professor and brain behind Aging Vitalities, and Ingrid Mundell, Managing Director of ReVision: Centre for Art and Social Justice. With Anishinaabe Elder Mona Stonefish and lead co-investigators Dr. Eliza Chandler and Dr. Carla Rice at the helm of this ambitious project, I knew that we would do some great things together.

The people and vision behind this research has inspired much of the values and strategic development of our work at CUP so, it is with a heavy heart this week that I’m leaving the team so that I can more fully concentrate on Creative Users.

Working with this team has been an enormous privilege and because of it, I’ve learned to appreciate the large spectrum of activism that, through art, is channeled in both provocative and nuanced ways.

Even though my role at Bodies in Translation has ended, I know our work as strategic partners is just about to begin and for that reason, I can't wait.

Check out Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life here.

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Highlights from the Community

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Featured Event: FOLDA - Festival of Live Digital Art Through June 13th
FOLDA by Spiderwebshow Performance runs through Sunday. Digital culture and its impact on other art forms moves quickly; the festival exists to support artists creating theatre in a digital age. From year to year FOLDA presents dynamic and changing answers to the question: Who are the professional artists creating live digital performance today and what are they up to? This weekend,  join hosts Christine Malec and Ashley King for audio described watch parties for Frequencies and Zoo Motel. Audio description provided by Kat Germain.
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Beyond Compliance: Sook-Yin Lee in conversation with Carmen Papalia and jes sachse
Part of Beyond Compliance, an event series that aims to set a new cultural standard for accessibility by centring the practices of disabled, D/deaf, Hard of Hearing, Mad, neurodivergent, sick and chronically ill artists, curators, cultural workers and their co-conspirators. Tomorrow, join Sook-Yin Lee in conversation with Carmen Papalia and jes sachse on reconciling histories of violence in the art world. Hosts will prioritize the participation of disabled, D/deaf, Hard of Hearing, mad, neurodivergent, sick and chronically ill attendees who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour. ASL interpretation and automatic captioning will be provided.
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Engagement on the Disability Inclusion Action Plan
The Government of Canada is consulting Canadians on how to improve the lives of Canadians with disabilities, and your feedback will support the development of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan. The Disability Inclusion Action Plan will focus on reducing poverty among Canadians with disabilities, getting more persons with disabilities into good quality jobs, helping meet the Accessible Canada Act goal of a barrier-free Canada by 2040, making it easier for persons with disabilities to access federal programs and services and fostering a culture of inclusion. The survey closes on August 31st.
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Following Creative Paths: Re-centering Northern Artistic Life
Join ArtsUNITE on June 17th for a free virtual panel discussion and film screening, discussing the lives and work of artists from Prince George, BC. This event will explore how arts & culture can thrive in small(er) communities without urban systems and support. Using Prince George, BC as a case study/launching point, this virtual panel and Creative Paths screening will bring together artists who stayed in Prince George and artists who chose to relocate to larger urban centers. ASL interpretation and closed captioning will be provided.
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Describing Dance in Musicals
On June 19th, VocalEye presents Describing Dance in Musicals, a 2-hour workshop open to describers of all levels, users of description, access providers and those interested in learning more about audio description and arts access. Learn the principles of describing dance in musicals for audience members who are blind and partially sighted. A recording will be made available for those unable to attend live.
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Multi-Lens Existence: Chaotic Expressions Solo Performance & Exhibition
From July 11th - July 18th, dance artist Jenelle Rouse and photographer Alice Lo present Chaotic Expressions at the Little Mango Tree Yoga and Holistic Health in Springfield, Ontario. Alice's photo exhibition and mini in-store shop will be displayed in a studio room shortly after Jenelle's solo performance in a different room. All proceeds collected will go towards the Multi-Lens Existence's future non-traditional art (dance) workshops for American Sign Language individuals. Attendees are expected to wear masks indoors and practice physical distancing. ASL-English interpretation will be provided.
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We Love Like Barnacles Encore Performance
June 25th and June 26th, Sins Invalid brings you an encore performance of We Love Like Barnacles: Crip Lives In Climate Chaos. Holding space for love, mourning, and community healing in pandemic times, Sins Invalid brings forth a performance that centers our communities in the throes of climate chaos and our agonized planet. From the storms battering our shores to the raging fires threatening our homes, the social, political, and economic disparities faced by disabled queer and trans people of color put our communities at the frontlines of ecological disaster. Performance will be captioned in English and Spanish, audio described, with ASL and Spanish interpretation.
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Call for Submissions: Panel Mural Program
Wall-to-Wall Mural & Culture Festival is bringing back their Panel Mural Program for the 8th year of the festival! The Panel Mural Program allows for artists of different disciplines to submit a digital file of their artwork to be printed onto panels and installed safely within Treaty 1 Territory/Winnipeg. Through this digital submission process, Wall-to-Wall can keep artists locally, nationally, and internationally connected to the public while remaining safe at home. The deadline is June 22nd.
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Breaking Into The Music Scene with Nic Dyson
Tomorrow, join Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba and Creative Manitoba for a discussion with Nic Dyson of all the dos and don’ts when first getting into the music scene. Part of Creative Accessibility, a series of online webinars and panel discussions that will explore disability art, the experiences of artist with disabilities and how to make art accessible. All Creative Accessibility workshops will have ASL interpretation.
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Gloria C. Swain: You Grow Through What You Go Through
Tomorrow, join artist Gloria C. Swain and curator Shay Borden in conversation exploring Swain's solo exhibition You Grow Through What You Go Through at Black Artists’ Networks In Dialogue (BAND) Gallery. The conversation will explore abstract art as a medium through which to communicate Black existence, and discuss how Swain has crafted her work around her unique experiences within the U.S. and Toronto.
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ArtWorksTO: Skills for a Creative Future: Portfolio Prep
Toronto Arts Foundation's program ArtWorksTO: Skills for a Creative Future is collaborating with OCAD U to offer free workshops, panel discussions and one-one-one dedicated support with OCAD U artists! These offerings are for Indigenous, Black, People of Colour and/or 2SLGBQT youth (18-29) media artists. The deadline to register is June 16th. Live closed captioning will be available.
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InkWell Anthology Launch! Brilliance Is the Clothing I Wear
Join  InkWell Workshops on June 17th for the free virtual launch and celebration of their latest anthology, Brilliance Is the Clothing I Wear! This free online event will be a celebration of InkWell's writers and community, complete with music, readings, door prizes, and more. Automatic closed captioning will be provided.
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Call for Applications: Intergenerational LGBT Virtual Residency
Since 2013, the Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency has offered an embodied, site-specific experience for participating residents at Artscape Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island. This summer, the residency will gather Ontario-based LGBTQ2+ artists together in person, abiding by rigorous COVID protocols, to gather, listen, work, share skills and intergenerational oral histories in the spirit of possibility. Applications are due June 19th.
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Call for Applications: If You Ask Me
If You Ask Me (IYAM) is a free virtual program by Workman Arts that supports emerging filmmakers with mental health and/or addiction experiences to develop a short film in the company of like-minded peers in a supportive environment. Over the summer, a small group of filmmakers will be selected to engage in workshops led by industry professionals and receive mentorship from IYAM alumni. Filmmakers will have an opportunity to screen their work at the 29th Annual Rendezvous with Madness Festival later this year. The deadline to apply is June 21st.
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Eden Mills Writers’ Festival Book Club: Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng
Eden Mills Writers’ Festival's June Book Club pick is Swimming Back to Trout River, a startling debut novel by Linda Rui Feng. On June 24th, don't miss a live discussion between Linda Rui Feng, and Ann Yu-Kyung Choi. Closed captioning will be provided.
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Call for Applications: XR Pilot Program
New Works XR Pilot Program 2021 is a new program currently in development between New Works, dance artist Erika Mitsuhashi, and a team of consulting artists and technologists working at the intersection of performance and XR (extended reality) technologies. The New Works XR Pilot Program will provide catered support for dance makers and companies working with or in early stages of exploring creation involving technologies that fall under the umbrella of XR. The New Works XR Pilot Program is in its development phase, and the direction of the program will depend upon the supports requested from applicants, with a focus on process, research, and capacity building. Applications are due June 25th.
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Call for Applicants: X-Wave Mentor Series
Continuing with their workshop series for BIPOC creators, X-Wave is organizing a series of one-on-one mentorship sessions where creators can meet with established BIPOC industry mentors who will give personalized feedback on their projects and careers. The X-Wave team at Trinity Square Video will select five creators from any artistic discipline and pair them with an experienced mentor for 3 months. The deadline for submissions is June 18th.

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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