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Sandra Alland

Sandra is a writer, filmmaker, interdisciplinary artist and curator. She writes reviews of books, theatre and film for Disability Arts Online. Sandra is co-editor, with Khairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman, of Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press, 2017). She has also published three books of poetry, and won Canada's bpNichol Award for Naturally Speaking (about disability poetics, gender and AI). Sandra has short stories in anthologies from Manchester's Comma Press, including Protest: Stories of Resistance (on the history of working-class blind activism in the UK) and Thought X: Fictions and Hypotheticals (on Einstein, non-binary gender, disability and circus!). Her work is published internationally in magazines, journals and anthologies. Sandra recently co-curated and -made new video content for Disability Arts Online's Viewfinder (with Lisa Mattocks), including the short film series 'A Conversation With' featuring Roberts Softley Gale, Bobby Baker, James Leadbitter The Vacuum Cleaner, Tanja Erhart and Nadia Nadarajah. She has also made a series of shorts about queer and trans D/deaf and disabled artists in Scotland ('I'm Not Your Inspiration'). (photo by Tiu Makkonen)

Posts by Sandra Alland

Cast & Crew of Unwritten

Disability History Scotland present Bella Freak’s ‘Unwritten’

Produced by Disability History Scotland, Bella Freak’s Unwritten traces the personal histories of three disabled writer-performers. It played at Surgeons Hall during Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Sandra Alland reviews. As the first production by disability-led company, Bella Freak, Unwritten lays a promising foundation for devised work to come. Uncovering neglected and fascinating ...

The Shape of the Pain

The Shape of the Pain: the joy and the pain

Sandra Alland details the interlocking and complementary contributions from a group of talented collaborators in The Shape of the Pain at Edinburgh Fringe, where it plays at Summerhall until 26 August.   Like the main character’s pain, each contributor to The Shape of the Pain is ever present. Unlike her pain, ...

History into Fiction: From Blind Asylums, to Glasgow Strikes and Riots (including Jujitsu Suffragettes!), to The 1920 Blind March

In this (rather long, sorry!) blog I discuss the process – and accidental discoveries – of writing my first historically-based short story, ‘Kick-Start’, about the roots of blind and disabled organising and resistance in the UK. Comma Press has just launched the hefty, hard-cover, Protest! Stories of Resistance. In its description ...

Sins Invalid: ‘Skin, Tooth, and Bone – The Basis of Movement is Our People: A Disability Justice Primer’

Sins Invalid is a US-based performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralising artists of colour and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalised. Their new book, Skin, Tooth, and Bone – The Basis of Movement is Our People: A Disability Justice Primer is ...

A swirling, bright river forms a whirlpool, its circular movements reminiscent of tree trunk rings. The word “Braille” in Braille is in the background of the left-hand page, indicating where translations would be in the Braille version.

Khairani Barokka moves access from the stage to the page, with multiple versions of her long poem, ‘Indigenous Species’

Sandra Alland talks with colleague and fellow poet, Khairani Barokka, about her recent poetry book, Indigenous Species, available in several accessible forms. I am of the same blood as the sanctioned mess of invasion That was Javanese transmigration, And I shampoo my hair with oil crafted From dead-end social experiments And gargantuan-scale domestication of hectares, Cemeteries ...

Miranda and Caliban

Birds of Paradise’s Miranda and Caliban: The Making of a Monster

Sandra Alland assesses the scratch performance of Birds of Paradise’s new work, Miranda and Caliban: The Making of a Monster which showed at Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow and Kwai Tsing Theatre in Hong Kong on 5-6 November 2016. Content Note: discussion of sexual violence. Not all experiments immediately yield ...

'Life in flight from every prison' panel debate

Arika Episode 8 – Refuse Powers’ Grasp

Sandra Alland highlights some of the events, speakers and performers from this year’s Arika in Glasgow, including We Will Rise, Mujeres Creando, Sondra Perry and Miss Major. Episode 8: Refuse Powers' Grasp took place at Tramway 21-23 October 2016. The first thing you notice about Arika is radical care. Okay, if ...

photo of multi-coloured textile hanging on a wall

Tangled Art: Point of Origin

Point of Origin is the second show to grace the walls at Toronto's new disability-focused Tangled Art Gallery. Sandra Alland explores artist and poet melannie g campbell's complex and accessible multimedia textile exhibition. Point of Origin, melannie g campbell's stellar new exhibition, features eleven new textile works and a small shrine. ...

Nine people sit or lie on a mattress in a small room, crowded closely together, looking into the camera. They all read from books. One of them is using British Sign Language. Left to right: Robert Softley Gale, Nathan Gale, Lake Montgomery, Sandra Alland, Izdihar Alodhami, Bea Webster, Cate Lauder, Matson Lawrence, Chris Red. Photo by Ania Urbanowska (still from filming).

Equivalence

Following on from my last blog post, I've continued to develop the staged reading of my short story, "Equivalence". While receiving choreographic/movement mentorship from Claire Cunningham and Caroline Bowditch, I was also planning a film shoot at my new flat (uh-oh time to unpack!) with nine performers, a filmmaker and ...

Flying and Falling

I have been very unlucky and very lucky this year. One of my pieces of luck was a commission from Manchester's Comma Press to write a short story around the idea of 'Einstein's Elevator', a thought experiment of the Equivalence Principle. I was lucky, also, to have Chilean-Canadian physicist and artist, ...

Blog Launch: Surgeons’ Hall Horror Show

Today I’m launching my DAO blog, which will mostly feature information and updates about my ongoing disabled- and Deaf-themed art projects and collaborations. I also like to write about other artists who create, interrogate and interrupt narratives around disability, Deaf culture, (a)gender, class, (a)sexuality, colonialism and race – and my ...

image of a young woman and man sitting on a park bench

Edinburgh International Film Festival: ‘My Feral Heart’ introduces Steven Brandon

Recently featured at Edinburgh International Film Festival, My Feral Heart is an exciting and surprising new film from director Jane Gull and writer Duncan Paveling. Sandra Alland reviews. My jaw is clenched when the lights dim. Though Edinburgh’s Odeon has level access, people who can’t climb stairs must sit in the front ...

Photo of dancer Mark Smith dressed in a suit, posing in an museum archive

Mark Smith’s Deaf Men Dancing presented Let Us Tell You a Story as part of Exceptional & Extraordinary

Let Us Tell You A Story is a commissioned performance by Deaf Men Dancing for the multi-partner project, Exceptional and Extraordinary. Artistic Director Mark Smith was asked to critically engage with the collections of several medical museums in relation to Deaf people, and has been touring the fascinating and provocative ...

photo of disabled performer kneeling, surrounded by crutches

Nothing About Us Without Us: An Overview of Disability/ Deaf Representation in Film

Sandra Alland contemplates the importance of the notion of ‘nothing about us without us’, critiquing and highlighting non-disabled productions alongside an exciting collection of disabled and/or Deaf artists and films. Most films are available free online (follow the links), and all have subtitles or transcripts. When faced with having to digest ...

Arcola Queer Collective: ‘The Little Prince’

Arcola Queer Collective‘s sell-out production is back. This unique take on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic speaks to the castaway in all of us, challenging our perspectives and bringing us back to what truly matters. Review by Sandra Alland After Arcola Queer Collective’s stellar adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream last year, ...

Birds of Paradise present ‘Role Shift’

Birds of Paradise teamed up with Òran Mór to produce Role Shift, written by Lesley Hart and directed by Garry Robson, to play as part of the Glasgow venue's A Play, a Pie and a Pint series, both in Glasgow and at Ayr Gaiety Theatre and Arts Centre. Sandra Alland reviews this ...

SICK! Lab In Conversation: Launch of DAO’s Viewfinder

Unapologetic Self-Portraits will be the first playlist to be introduced via Dao’s new Viewfinder platform later this Spring. It was previewed for two days at SICK! Lab on a continuous loop in the Contact Theatre foyer, as well as being shown in a one-off screening at SICK! Lounge. Disabled film-maker Sandra ...