Proclaiming Disability Arts

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"PROCLAIMING DISABILITY ARTS" typed out in white bubble letters against a watercolor background of magenta, blue and orange. The upper left and lower right corners are covered in a white linear pattern.
Image Description: “PROCLAIMING DISABILITY ARTS” is typed out in white bubble letters against a watercolor background of magenta, blue and orange. The upper left and lower right corners are covered in a white, circular-linear pattern.

New York University’s Center for Disability Studies is pleased to announce a major book and community engagement project, Proclaiming Disability Arts, directed by Simi Linton, along with Co-Principal Investigator Mara Mills. Proclaiming Disability Arts builds on this moment in Disability Arts, mapping histories and engaging its meaning, impact, and transformative potential throughout the art worlds. The project is informed by meetings and forums with disabled artists and Disability Justice thinkers.

Proclaiming Disability Arts is built on an ethos of access, utilizing the most innovative methods available, some developed specifically for this project. The project aims to actively subvert the hierarchies that exist in disability studies, disability rights, and Disability Arts. 

A disability cultural project in both process and product, this endeavor is designed to build community and empower and connect with disabled artists, many of whom have yet to be exposed to Disability Arts history, culture, and practices in a formal way. Researchers and curators, book designers, access doulas, and more, are part of the Proclaiming Disability Arts team, working to reshape disability in the cultural imagination and increase the cultural authority of disabled people.

This book project will provide print and audio versions, graphics, plain language, and a range of perspectives to provide access to as many people as possible. Proclaiming Disability Arts is intended for course adoption. There is no comparable book available for use in arts management, museum studies, MBA programs with an arts focus, performance studies, cultural studies, disability studies, or art history, and Proclaiming Disability Arts seeks to fill that gap.

Proclaiming Disability Arts is a Co-Producer for NYU’s Center for Disability Studies’ current programming such as La Marr Jurelle Bruce And Fred Moten In Conversation and Bojana Coklyat, Shannon Finnegan And Thomas Reid Discuss Alt-Text And Audio Description, featuring some of the field’s contemporary thinkers around Disability Justice, art and theory. Proclaiming Disability Arts is supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation.

Author Bio: Simi Linton is an author, filmmaker, and arts consultant. Her writings include Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity, My Body Politic, and “Cultural Territories of Disability” published by Dance/NYC. She is the subject of the documentary Invitation to Dance (Christian von Tippelskirch and Simi Linton). Linton’s organization, Disability/Arts Consultancy, serves cultural institutions throughout New York City and works to shape the presentation of disability in the arts. Projects include multi-year work with The Whitney, The Shed, Dance/NYC, and Inclusion in the Arts. She has produced events at the Public Theater, Writers’ Guild of America, HBO headquarters, the Smithsonian, and Margaret Mead Film Festival. Linton was a founder and Co-Director of Disability/Arts/NYC [DANT] from 2016-2019. Linton holds a Ph.D. in psychology from New York University and was on faculty at CUNY from 1985-1998. She received the 2015 Barnard College Medal of Distinction, an honorary Doctor of Arts from Middlebury College (2016), and was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2015 to NYC’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission [2015-present] and to the She Built NYC Committee. In May 2021, Linton began a two-year Visiting Research Scholar position at New York University’s Center for Disability Studies and the Department of Media, Culture and Communication.

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