Sandra Alland’s Guest Editorship

A white person stands with a cane, looking up and into the camera with a pleasant expression. They have short dark hair and an eyebrow piercing, and wear a collared gingham shirt with dark sweater, trousers and boots.

Sandra Alland’s Guest Editorship of Disability Arts Online takes place between March and April 2020. All the articles commissioned as part of the editorship are available at the bottom of this page. Alland said about their Guest Editorship:

“I’m beyond ecstatic to bring you four whole weeks of LGBTQI+ art. Through more than twenty years of community learning, I’ve developed an artistic practice rooted in experimentation, queer feminist collaboration, and social/radical models of disability. In 2009, I co-founded Scotland’s Cachín Cachán Cachunga!, a disabled-led LGBTQI+ arts project. I’ve also helped form several ‘qrip’ (queer crip) poetry-music-film collectives, and I co-edited the multimedia anthology Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf & Disabled Poets Write Back.

Since co-creating documentary films for Disability Arts Online’s Viewfinder in 2016, I’ve been a regular DAO contributor on arts and criticism. As guest editor, I want to build on the already-substantial range of queer artists featured on DAO.

My film and writing practices revel in ‘disabled looks’ and ‘disabled sound’. I’m deeply committed to integrated access, and to solidarity across disabled communities. I’m thrilled that all commissioned articles will have audio as well as text versions, recorded by the artists themselves. I’ll also showcase film in BSL by Teresa Garratty, and a BSL conversation between David Ellington and Lynn Stewart-Taylor about deaf LGBTQI+ filmmaking.

In these grim times, it’s vital we discuss our collective future. How are trans, non-binary and/or queer people marginalised in disability arts, as well as in some LGBT settings? How do the needs of our communities clash with mainstream achievement?

And what distinct and valuable artistic elements do LGBTQI+ disabled, neurodivergent and deaf artists bring to the page, screen and stage? Andra Simons and Syrus Marcus Ware will share a brilliant conversation on this topic, featuring their books Turtle Men (Copy Press) and Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter Canada (University of Regina). In another over-the-ocean chat, Raisa Kabir and mel monoceros will discuss weaving and writing from BIPOC queer disabled perspectives. Up-and-coming Glasgow writer Etzali Hernández will review Kay Ulanday Barrett’s new poetry collection, More Than Organs.

Alongside these exciting artists and more, I hope to challenge the ableist model of over-professionalisation in the arts. I/we want to uncover how education, background, appearance and voice influence who’s ‘successful’. I also hope to disrupt the idea of the solo genius, and to focus on collective work and fights for justice. What is success? Do disabled artists want it, and can only some of us get it? Are certain disabled people sidelined in the capitalist battle to be first, best, only?

I’ll host a ‘Disability And…’ podcast about Scottish working-class/-poor and trans or gender-variant art, featuring Shafiq Ghafoor, Cathleen Lauder and Mattie Kennedy. You’ll also read (or listen to) AB Silvera on queer comedy, and experience meme-art by Anishinaabe-Couchiching First Nation artist, Fallon Simard. Raju Rage will explore how we can (not) survive arts jobs in universities and galleries because of intersecting ableism, cisheterosexism, classism and racism. When artistic creation is connected to harmful systems, (how) can we make lasting change?

Such questions are important to our creativity and survival. I’m over the moon to bring together these (and more!) electrifying artists to dream a better future.”

Audio version of this page:

Sandra Alland elsewhere on Disability Arts Online.