Oct 21st 2021

Join us for a gathering of artists, professors, students, and organizers discussing and critically engaging with disability, access, and the potential to utilize these concepts in a generative and inclusive way.

Registration Details

All sessions will be fully hybrid, so they can be attended in person at the Siebel Center for Design on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus or virtually via Zoom. Every session of the colloquium will have live captioning and ASL interpretation, for both in-person and virtual event attendees.

Registration is required to attend, and you can select in-person or virtual options at the following links | Register for Day One | Register for Day Two

The Shannon Finnegan artist talk on October 21 has its own registration portal through the Art + Design Visitors Series | Register for the Artist Talk

Schedule of Speakers

Thursday, October 21 | Register for Day One

2-3 pm
Cripping: Interdependence, Creativity, Access | 
An intercampus hybrid discussion about the integration and dissemination of access

Margaret Fink, Director of the Disability Cultural Center at University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC)

Jorge Lucero, Professor and Chair of Art Education in the School of Art and Design, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

Karyn Sandlos, Head of Art Education at UIC

Lorelei Stewart, Director Gallery 400 at UIC

Liza Sylvestre, Curator of Academic Programs at Krannert Art Museum, UIUC


3:30-4:30 pm
Faculty Discussion
 | Faculty from disparate departments at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign discuss how disability and access have informed their research and pedagogy

Clara Bosak-Schroeder, Department of Classics

Nic Flores, Department of Latina/Latino Studies

Christopher Robert Jones, School of Art and Design

Eduardo Ledesma, Department of Spanish & Portuguese


5:30-7 pm
Art + Design Visitors Series: Shannon Finnegan Artist Talk
 | Accessibility Dreams

Register for the Artist Talk

Through their art practice, Shannon thinks about how we can move towards better and more nuanced approaches to access. Instead of focusing on compliance and doing the minimum, what if we approach access creatively and generously, centering disability culture? How might we make spaces and experiences that disabled people not only can access but want to access?

About the Artist
Shannon Finnegan is an artist. Some of their recent work includes Anti-Stairs Club Lounge, an ongoing project that gathers people together who share an aversion to stairs; Alt-Text as Poetry, a collaboration with Bojana Coklyat that explores the expressive potential of image description; and Do You Want Us Here or Not, a series of benches and cushions designed for exhibition spaces. They have done projects with Banff Centre, the High Line, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Nook Gallery. Their work has been supported by a 2018 Wynn Newhouse Award, a 2019 residency at Eyebeam, and a 2020 grant from Art Matters Foundation.


Friday, October 22 | Register for Day Two

9-10:30 am
Campus and Community Listening Sessions

Arts CO+RE partners, including faculty and students from Applied Health Sciences

Rachel Lauren Storm Arts and Culture Coordinator City of Urbana

Lily Wilcock Planner II, City of Urbana

Sherry Longcore Program Coordinator PACE, Inc.

PACE, Inc. consumers and community


12-2 pm
Open Access Foundation for Arts and Culture talk | 
Carmen Paplia, Artist and Founder of Open Access and Raven John, member of the advisory committee at the Open Access Foundation for Arts & Culture

Carmen Papalia will discuss how the concept of Open Access emerged in his practice, followed by a conversation with John about what accessibility means to them and what they do at the Open Access Foundation.

About Carmen Papalia
Born in Vancouver, un-ceded Coast Salish territory in 1981, Carmen Papalia is an artist who uses organizing strategies and improvisation to address his access to public space, the art institution, and visual culture. His socially engaged practice is an effort to unlearn visual primacy and resist support options that promote ablest concepts of normalcy.

Papalia’s walks, workshops, and interventions are an opportunity to model new standards and practices in the area of accessibility. He approaches the museum as a colonial enterprise that has benefited from a tradition of cultural violence; a platform that contains valuable cultural resources, which is marginalizing by design. His work has been featured at: The Solomon R. Guggenheim museum, New York; the Tate Liverpool, Liverpool; the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge; the Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana; and Gallery Gachet, Vancouver; among others.

Papalia is the recipient of the 2014 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary and the 2013 Wynn Newhouse Award. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and a Master of Fine Arts with a focus in Art & Social Practice from Portland State University. His current work includes an advocacy platform based on the principles of Open Access (2015) and an accessible mobile work-space and archive that provides a context for programming about accessibility at the institutions that he visits.


2:30-3:30 pm
Curatorial Discussion of Crip* with Liza Sylvestre

An in-depth look at the exhibition and an outline of the curatorial conceptual framework of Crip* at Krannert Art Museum and Gallery 400.


3:45-4:45 pm
Student Experience Panel 

Students from UIUC gather to discuss and share their experiences on campus as students with disabilities. Participants include: Alana Ackerman, Audrey Koziol, Shifra Ferzinger, Hannah Cox, Nic Wyatt, Grace McCourt


About the exhibition

How do academic and cultural institutions inform awareness of disability? Who is responsible for access? And what happens when identities who have historically been excluded from art spaces begin to occupy these same spaces as artists?

Crip* is a group exhibition featuring artists who address disability and intersectional thinking. Some of the artists identify as disabled; some do not, but each has a relationship to (at least one) non-normative identity. Often artists are expected to “perform” their identities for the art world through imaging themselves. On one hand this diversifies the art world; but on another hand this, in fact, pigeonholes artists with non-normative identities, strengthens the distinction between normative and non-normative, and reduces the rich and complex knowledge gained through lived experience to a more flattened and singular interpretation.

The artists in Crip* are attuned to the concepts that exist beyond the reach of simplified identity distinctions or interpretations. For example, Emilie Gossiaux’s work is informed by her hearing loss and vision loss, but what drives her work is a broad interest and deep understanding of communication, interdependence, and the connection between sense and memory. Her sensory ability provides her with a unique vantage point, but is not limiting, and Gossiaux is not interested in producing work that can be reduced to simply imagining her specific sensory composition.

Alison O’Daniel’s expansive project The Tuba Thieves utilizes O’Daniel’s understanding of sound both through her access to it and through her awareness of its absence due to her hearing loss. Scene 55 The Plants Are Protected beautifully relies on the generative space of translation. In fact, O’Daniel created her cinematic visuals based on sound scores produced by five different composers; the Deaf sound artist Christine Sun Kim produced the sound score for scene 55. Through O’Daniel’s project we are able to reconsider the rich and liminal space formed between absence and presence.

Crip* references Crip Theory, which was coined by professor, writer, and theorist Robert McRuer in his book Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability, published in 2006. McRuer describes how compulsory heteronormativity and compulsory able-bodiedness rely on non-normal bodies and identities to exist. Normativity is essentially held in place, and defined by, all of the things that “it is not.” Non-normative identities are shaped around and against normativity and are required to remain non-normative in order to preserve normative continuity. Where earlier disability studies theorized and constructed a somewhat singular disabled identity, Crip Theory has sought to utilize productive aspects of that identity while resisting its limitations, primarily to forge connections and networks across multiple identity distinctions. Similarly, the artists in Crip* take on and push against rigid identity distinctions by presenting complicated works that resist reduction. It is impossible to interpret a work like Brontez Purnell’s Pillow Fight without taking into account his identities as a Black person, as a gay man, as a person who is HIV positive, as well as the gentrification that plagues San Francisco. All parts of Pillow Fight are interconnected and resist singular and incomplete approaches. Crip* also includes work by Liz Barr, Shannon Finnegan, Max Guy, Christopher Robert Jones, Carly Mandel, Darrin Martin, Berenice Olmedo, and Carmen Papalia & Heather Kai Smith.

The artists in Crip* utilize a new vocabulary to articulate variations of ability and experience. They delineate between the empowering and useful aspects of identity that facilitate dialogue and the constraining or limiting aspects that extinguish it. The exhibition thus fractures and reassembles how we think about identity within the framework of our culture. Reverberations between the works ask us to redefine and question our own ingrained thinking about what it means to move through a world that both rejects and capitalizes on experiences that are not perceived as normal.

Curated by Liza Sylvestre, Curator of Academic Programs

Co-organized with Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Official Website

More events on this date

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,