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Kristin Nelson – Day 2

October 21, 2010

On September 20, we moved necessary materials to Video Pool Media Arts Centre because of our understanding that it was a properly accessible building. After some confusion as to the exact nature of the situation, and some concern that we might have to move to another location, we realized that everything was okay and we proceeded with the day, taking note of just how difficult it is to get the right facts about something that should be so simple. Through this process we also learned about the stages of problem-solving that went into making 300 Arthur Street properly accessible. Wow!

People dropped in at different times for different reasons. In one case, someone stopped by to collect information for someone else who had heard about the project and wanted to participate, but could not attend in person. Others dropped in out of curiosity.

Kristin initiated their involvement by asking: “how did you get here today and could anything have made it easier?”

This opened a range of conversation about public transit and the confusion arising due to recent construction and the extra difficulty caused for people with mobility differences. As we were reminded, it is not uncommon for people to wait for a bus only to discover it is not properly equipped so they can board. This, combined with the current condition of our sidewalks during construction makes it even harder to get around. On the upside, the newly improved sidewalks should eventually be easier to navigate in wheelchairs, etc., since we currently struggle with inconsistently ramped curbs at intersections. The city’s inclusion of differently textured blocks on sidewalks at intersections will also help people with limited or no vision. It’s good this change has finally been made.

Kristin and I received emails from Susan P. Gibson and Daphne Enns of the SPARK Disability Arts Network further to the conversation Kristin and Susan had the day before. Thinking about the need for some one with specialized skills to navigate the additional bureaucracy that faces artist with disabilities, we were prompted to create an online intervention as a thought-provoking response to current conditions.

The intervention, in the form of an imaginary job description, served as a general invitation for all members of the arts community to consider the challenges disabled artists face in seeking to participate in the art world. For example, the problem of being unable to access facilities or equipment such as printmaking or video editing. Or, the barriers to writing grant applications for people with circumstances preventing them to read and write in the manners presently required. Another very important issue is one that is almost the easiest to forget: the social aspect of the arts with is nearly impossible to penetrate without being able to attend opening receptions, talks, etc., due to an inability to physically enter certain buildings.

The imaginary job description posted by an imaginary arts council was circulated online (our website, Twitter, Facebook, and various mailing lists) and hard copies were posted in various locations in the exchange. To view the job posting, please click here:

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