Fa’Ttima Omran
“Crip Resistance” Spoken word, Accessibility and the Exploration from Desexualization to Expressive Agency

Persons with disabilities have faced sterilization, sexual violence, and the outright denial of the ability for pleasure. Women with disabilities are often portrayed as the innocent “pillow angel” needing to be spared from their procreative capacity, or have had their ability to be nurturing, consoling parents heavily questioned by the state. Legislation has evolved to acknowledge the rights of persons with disabilities in a Canadian context but less so in the United States. Media portrayal of the masculinity of persons with disability has been benched in two camps of the “bitter villain” or the unlikely hero “overcoming” their physical, mental, and/or emotional struggle in the ultimate manifestation of the hypermasculine supercrip persona. Yet even reaching this climax, the supercrip rarely has a lasting love interest. This presentation will argue that by utilizing intersectional crip theoretical critiques the common stigmas and misconceptions on the desexualization of persons with disabilities can be reconstructed by increasing representation of persons with disabilities in artistic and civil/political moments. Eurocentric and ableist predominate standpoints have the ability to be transformed through artistic resistance. Yet with the continuation with appropriating disability into the charity model has resulted in able bodied actors to be commemorated and rewarded on their performativity of disability while denying employment accessibility for artists with disabilities. Spoken word will be used as a point of reference to delve into the contributions made by spoken word artists who experience disability while sharing my own spoken word pieces as a person with a disability.

Fa’Ttima Omran is a second year Masters candidate at the Pauline Jewette Insitute of Women and Gender Studies with her research interests in disability studies, hypersexualized and desexualized bodies as well as examining identity politics within legislation. Her undergrad was completed in 2014 with the Department of Law and Legal Studies.


Jamie McKenzie-Naish
Critical Applications of Intersectionality in Museum Space

By its very nature, museum space, and the exhibitions which inhabit its landscape, are saturated by power relations and interactions; due to both its historical antecendents and intellectual legacies, as well as the purposes and processes it seeks to engender. Inequities arise not merely from asymetrical power relations within this space, but rather because the space itself is “so easily subverted” (Boast 2011). Because of this, museum space claims significant obligations to all its communities whether they are appropriated, created, or sustained by museum space – and, accordingly, those working within it must always endeavour to interrogate and evolve professional practices as an ongoing, purposeful and self-reflexive process. Like A.P Cohen’s (1985) concept of community, this paper premises museum space as a mode of experience, and seeks to situate intersectionality as a threshold concept within exhibition design processes, rather than deploying it as a summative critique. It proposes that intersectionality theory, which itself deals with relationships of power, can be applied, as a directed, critical lens, to better attend to the relations of power present within museum space and emergent interpretative processes, and can function as a means reframe paradigms of engagement and the ethical consciousness of professional practices.

Jamie McKenzieNaish is a 2nd year PhD student in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. As both an experienced museum education professional and emerging academic, her research explores the nature of the museum as a public space and pedagogical intervention, the relational act of encounter between people, objects, narratives and ideas, and ultimately how these intersections relate to public museum policy and the shaping of community and public discourses. She currently lives in Kingston with her husband, Stephen Lee Naish, who writes about film, culture, and politics, and their 5-year-old son, Hayden, who likes to tell stories with his animals.


Nicholas McGrath
Mediatory and Threshold Noises: OpenSystem Sonic Feedback in Sound Art and Music

As we continue to navigate the psychoacoustically rich terrain of human technological interfacing, the issue of open-system sonic feedback (OSSF) presents a number of interesting challenges and questions. While OSSF has been deployed by sound artists in diverse conceptual and acousticenvironmental contexts, it can be argued that its essential character displays itself consistently across many of these deployments; OSSF represents an act of communication between different systems. Often it serves as a semiotically disruptive and generative encounter between human manipulation and technological or ecological autonomy. Alvin Lucier’s “I Am Sitting in a Room”(1969), for example, asks fascinating questions about how the acoustic environmental world receives and alters an individual’s attempt to articulate their identity and location. By tracing the histories of OSSF use in experimental music, my work examines the dialogue between active, embodied sonic languages and autonomous technological/ecological reflective noise. Ultimately, by integrating diverse forms of noise with an equally diverse array of signified musical and embodied languages, feedback represents a unique form of threshold mediation and transformation. This not only places it at the threshold of noise and music, but also suggests that it represents a medium through which the boundary between experimental music and sonic art can be fruitfully explored.

Nicholas McGrath is Canadian sound artist and guitarist currently working towards an MA in Music and Culture at Carleton University. His thesis work explores nonvolitional and embodied practices deployed by freeimprovising musicians.