Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities, University of Illinois at Chicago
In the fall of 2009, Dr. Carrie Sandahl began designing the Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities (PDACH).
“Disability art” refers to the creative work by people with disabilities that reflects a disability experience, either in content or form. This creative expression can be found in every artistic media from the performing arts, literature, and visual arts to comic books, film, and design. Disability art has played a key role in articulating what disability means— politically, personally, and aesthetically. As such, disability art is considered an integral aspect of both the disability civil rights movement and “disability culture,” or the self-consciously created community of diverse disabled people (in terms of impairment type, race, class, gender, and sexuality) who nevertheless share certain experiences, values, and perspectives. Disability art across media shares themes that have helped to shape disability culture: an engagement with political issues relevant to people with disabilities, a challenge to stereotypes, a focus on the lived experience of disability, and the development of alternative aesthetics based on the particularities of the bodies and minds of people with disabilities.
This Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities has two primary components.
The program furthers research on disability art and culture which includes:
- Arts criticism, theory, and history
- Documentation of artists with disabilities and their work through collecting archival materials and oral histories
- Studies on the career development of disabled artists, arts policy, and arts education
- Symposia, guest lectures, and conferences
The program will support the creation of disability art and culture and include:
- Arts practice classes, projects, and internships
- Educational programs for youth with disabilities
- Access and accommodations necessary for artists and audiences with disabilities to participate in the arts
- Guest artists, exhibits, and performances in the university and the community