Attending this event?
For full details about the conference, please visit hastac2023.org
Back To Schedule
Friday, June 9 • 5:10pm - 5:30pm
Perspective: Highlighting Disability Viewpoints through Artistry and Accessibility

Log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Slides from this talk are available at https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1wEE4GrtjtznWpiy6gEN8yOxEDyDUwqc7/edit?usp=drive_link&ouid=104110352877838126129&rtpof=true&sd=true

Perspective is a multimedia project featuring disabled interviewees responding to what access, care, interdependence, and more mean to them. The work fosters access as aesthetic and is grounded in the disabled experience, displaying a unique intersection of art and activism and their relationship to disability studies. With a presentation at the Conference, I will share project selections and provide artistic research and societal context for the project undertaking. Selections include audio content featuring the interviewees’ voices and musical underscoring and open caption videos featuring the text of the interviewees’ answers and questions asked.

The project impetus came from dialogue with legendary disability activist Judith Heumann, who asked why I referred to my hand as “weak.” My left hand was nearly amputated in a car accident, and despite my evolution to embracing disability, I referred to my impairment as a “weakness.” I wondered if rethinking this terminology could allow broader interpretation while gaining greater solidarity with disabled perspectives. That began the motivation for the project, which has expanded to several iterations and asks participants what broad yet disability-specific terms mean to them. The answers have varied, including “cure is a fiction” and “weakness is my superpower.” With this, I have undertaken scholarly and public outlets, ranging from a chapter written for Curating Access with project curator Sandy Guttman (edited by Amanda Cachia, out on Routledge), album release on New Amsterdam Records, and presentations with the National Association for Media Literacy Education, American Express, and Atos.

At the Conference, I will share the aforementioned selections and underscore the nature of accessibility in the project. In particular, the open caption videos featuring text responses of the interviewees’ answers highlight the Conference’s emphasis on critical making draws upon the essential design movement and its opposition to design that “reinforces the status quo” (Dunne & Raby), mainly as captions are often hidden from most videos (i.e. “closed caption” features on YouTube), and typically viewed as facets of compliance and accommodation. By placing them as the primary visual aesthetic in the video portion of the work, I seek to emphasize access as aesthetic and resist the urge to view them as solely compliance.

The project offers a critical analysis of how disability can serve artistry, relating to Conference themes of paying careful attention to how things are made, the processes and social embeddedness of such work, and teaching and enacting those processes with others. By flipping the disability narrative from stigmatization to relation, I hope to converge social justice with disability justice, reflecting a broad commitment to scholarship, activism, and challenge oppressive power structures of ableism and its many intersections.


Molly Joyce

Doctoral Fellow, University of Virginia

Friday June 9, 2023 5:10pm - 5:30pm EDT