Call for Papers for SenseAbility: Do disabled artists and audiences still have to scream to be heard in the 21st Century?

Call for Papers for SenseAbility

Do disabled artists and audiences still have to scream to be heard in the 21st Century?

The Pound arts centre, Corsham, Wiltshire UK

Friday 13 June 2014

Supported and hosted by Bath Spa University and the Pound Arts Centre, this one day intersectional and interdisciplinary symposium will explore the relationship between disability and the arts in the twenty-first century. We aim to attract an audience of academics and students from across disciplines, artists from a range of art forms, and arts administrators and funders.

From ancient folk tales to Marvel comics and movies, Shakespeare to Dickens to forensic thriller and TV ‘freak’ documentaries, disability is an obsession both as metaphor and as actual subject. In the run up to the London 2012 Paralympics, there was much media commentary on the ‘inspirational disabled athlete’ and some of the advertising included such tag lines as ‘Meet the Super-humans’. Vying uncomfortably with this hyperbole are current UK government policies on welfare reform and the weighted media onslaught of the last three years with its fixation on the disabled as a ‘scrounging’ underclass feeding off the ‘normal’ taxpayer.

This dichotomy, although not new, is becoming less subtle. How does this impact on the lives of disabled people and their efforts to be equally and fairly represented in society and the arts? Importantly, how do we support and encourage artists and audiences?

Papers, creative presentations, and provocations of 20 minutes are welcome on areas including:
 Independent living, rights and citizenship
 Normalcy and diversity as represented in and through the arts
 Madness, distress and disability
 Inclusive and disability arts
 Assistive technologies and accessibility
 Disability and the digital arts

Abstracts of 300 words and short biographies should be sent to

The event will also host a zine stall, so please get in touch if you have a zine that you would like to include at the event, and/or if you would like to be involved in helping out on the day.

The symposium will begin with a keynote speaker, followed by two panels of presentations and discussion. The afternoon will end with a performance demonstration and discussion on ‘Performing the Freak: a dialogue between theatre and science about monstrosity’.


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