Mar 5th 2022

Crip* Colloquium Day Two

@ Gallery 400

400 S. Peoria St, Chicago, IL 60607

Opening Saturday, March 5th, from 12PM - 5:30PM

On view through Saturday, March 12th

Register for Day One
Register for Day Two
Alt Text As Poetry Workshop

The Crip* Colloquium, co-presented by Gallery 400 and UIC’s Disability Cultural Center, is a gathering of artists, scholars, and students to explore questions raised by the works on view in Crip*. Over two days, these talks, workshops, conversations, and experiments will critically engage the generative complexities of disability experience, media, accessibility practices, and relationships to the normative.

For information about day one, click here.


Access Information: These events will take place live on Zoom and will be recorded. ASL and real-time captions will be provided. For any access requests, please contact or call (312) 355-7050.


Day Two, Saturday, March 5:

Workshop: Alt Text as Poetry with Bojana Coklyat and Shannon Finnegan


Sign up for a workshop that reframes alt-text as a type of poetry, and offers creative exercises for practicing alt-text. Limited spots! Separate registration here.

Alt-text is an essential part of web accessibility. Alt-text, a short description of an image or gif, is a way of making visual content accessible to blind and low-vision people using screen readers. Alt-text is often disregarded altogether or understood through the lens of compliance, as an unwelcome burden to be met with minimum effort. How can we instead approach alt-text thoughtfully and creatively, while still prioritizing alt-text as an accessibility practice?In this workshop, led by Bojana Coklyat and Shannon Finnegan, we will reframe alt-text as a type of poetry and practice writing it together. We will look at examples of poetic and creative approaches to alt-text, then do writing exercises designed to focus on issues that often come up in alt-text, including attention to language and word economy, alt-text as translation, structuring and prioritizing, subjectivity, identity, and representation. You can find more information on what alt-text is, and how we can practice it as poetry, on Bojana and Shannon’s Alt-Text as Poetry website.


Cripping the Curriculum


What does it mean to Crip* the curriculum? This panel takes up this question in relation to a diverse array of art projects, initiatives, experiments, and moments of mis/recognition. Resisting normative definitions of curriculum as content to be delivered or as a set of objectives to be met, panelists will reimagine curriculum through strategies of interdependence, vulnerability, and shared worldmaking.


Panel Chair:

Karyn Sandlos, Associate Professor of Art & Education, UIC



William Estrada, Clinical Assistant Professor, Art Education, UIC

Via Rodriguez-Moreno, BFA in Art Education junior, UIC

Johanna Bonilla-Recendez, BFA in Art Education junior, UIC

Francisco M Thornton Gonzalez, BFA in Art Education junior, UIC


Viviana Martinez, Teacher Candidate, BFA in Art Education program, UIC

Casey Murtaugh, Visual Arts Teacher, Nicholas Senn High School, Chicago


Christopher Robert Jones, Lecturer, Studio Art and Art Education, UIUC

Natalia Espinel, PhD candidate, Art Education, UIUC

Tim Abel, PhD candidate, Art Education, UIUC


Bert Stabler, Associate Professor of Art Education, Illinois State University

Rebecca-Eli Long, PhD Student, Department of Anthropology, Purdue University

Sam Kirk, Middle School Art Teacher, BFA Art Education


Pedagogy and Museums: Teaching with Crip*


Teaching with Crip* brings together UIUC Krannert Art Museum and UIC Gallery 400 staff to discuss teaching with the exhibition to various groups. For university classes in the arts and outside it, for those within and outside the disability community, and those familiar and unfamiliar with disability culture, tours of Crip* have engaged visitors in interpretive activities that empower their analysis of the works on view.

Join Denny Mwaura, UIC Gallery 400 Public Programs Manager; Lorelei Stewart, UIC Gallery 400 Director; and Liza Sylvestre, UIUC Krannert Museum of Art Curator of Academic Programs and curator of Crip*, for a dialogue on fostering experiential learning opportunities with the exhibition. A Q&A with the audience follows.


The Crip* Colloquium is funded by the University of Illinois Presidential Initiative: Expanding the Impact of the Arts and Humanities, as part of a larger project called Cripping the Arts. Cripping the Arts is a two-year collaboration between the Chicago (UIC) and Urbana Champaign (UIUC) campuses, intended to transform arts exhibition sites, art education, and studio art practice through new ideas about disability. The collaboration includes the Krannert Art Museum and Art Education, Art + Design at UIUC; and at UIC, Gallery 400, the Disability Cultural Center, Bodies of Work, and Art & Art Education.

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, Krannert Art Museum


Liz Barr, Shannon Finnegan, Max Guy, Christopher Robert Jones, Carly Mandel, Darrin Martin, Berenice Olmedo & Carmen Papalia and Heather Kai Smith.


Co-organized with Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where the exhibition is on view September 23-December 11, 2021.

Official Website

More events on this date

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