“The whole act of art is to be more open than the rest of the world.” Judith Snow, visual artist and social innovator
It’s fitting that disrupting/Undoing, an exhibition and salon hosted by OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Institute was held at the Open Gallery — the week of art and events held April 2-5 was collaborative effort that brought together a wide variety of artists working in different genres from across the OCAD U community.
According to David Pereyra, postdoctoral fellow at the Inclusive Design Research Centre, disrupting/Undoing was a landmark effort towards what will become a much bigger annual event, involving more partners and collaborators from the university and beyond. Pereyra helped coordinate the exhibition/salon together with Cathy Berry, OCAD U’s Accessibility Manager, graduate students from Inclusive Design and Criticism & Curatorial Practice and other volunteers.
The exhibition and salon posed a challenge to disrupt and reframe the concept of disability, with the goal to feature a diverse aesthetic experience. Works melded artistic practice with new technologies and explored the possibilities of the human condition. Towards the end of the Open Space workshop with Judith Snow and Mike Skubic, some of the artists and participants joined together for an impromptu round table discussion. There’s no better way to capture the full impact of this talk than in the artists’ own words:
“Inclusive design benefits everyone. One of our themes is that we’re all in this together — we need to change things so that we use creative tools to include everyone from the outset, not just add things later.” Jan Derbyshire.
“I like the concept of inclusive design but also open design, anyone can come in and out, it doesn’t matter what physical body they inhabit.” Elaine Stewart
“Disability doesn’t have to be so scary, it can be engaging and thought provoking. We’re all involved in so many communities and the possibilities are like ripples, having the opportunity to engage with other artists, technology and knowledge.” Spirit Synott
“My goal was to figure out answers to questions about how to keep ourselves open and vulnerable. The theme that emerged from my workshop was forgiveness, acceptance and embracing fears that are a part of our human existence.” Sarah Crosskey
“Disability affects everything, but not everything is about disability. I don’t think there is any such thing as disability. If a car is disabled, it doesn’t function — you can’t drive it on the highway, but for a person that’s not true. No matter how odd or unusual we are, we still function as people.” Judith Snow
Inclusive Design Institute