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Thoughts on 'crip arts'

Posted Feb 7th, 2016

Thoughts on 'crip arts'

Scholars have been interested in and preoccupied by the need to write and know difference differently.


However, the existing published research remains limited and is predominantly still written or expressed through the presence of “the researcher” and remains reluctant to be fully inclusive of the arts (broadly defined as: literary, visual, performing, time-based, multi-disciplinary). Yet the arts provide a significant way of articulating knowledges too often abandoned by a Western allegiance to the rational.

Through the arts, the forms that knowledge(s) can inhabit and/or be exhibited through are varied - the 26 letters of the English alphabet can be formed and reformed, spoken and whispered in ways that disorient and challenge meaning making practices. Difference, differently presented.


Crip Art, Huronia Speakers BureauTo further our comfort with difference Recounting Huronia (RH) embraces a crip art praxis that encompasses unruly enactments whereby sparkly cats and pyjama wearing guinea pigs find their presence in the social fabric that extends and surrounds RH.

Crip established as a colloquial abbreviation of cripple is a constant becoming. It is is a movement of thought – like queer it unsettles normative expectations and is an endurance. To crip art is to practice a form of movement that pursues forms abjured within the hegemony of normative arts practices.

The crip arts of RH have engaged members of the SP in multiple art forms: storytelling, poetry, collage, movement, theatre, dance through which they might express their life stories.

We move, are moved, from sensation, to gesture to sound to word to sensation to gesture – crip art arises from bodies that create their own norms - norms as uncertain and sometimes unsweetened difference. Our embodied beings lean into each other, entwine, combine and separate.

Crip arts practices re-situate knowledge practices as fragmented, gestural, incomplete, unpredictable and embodied. Dressed in pyjamas. Sparkly wings.

Crip arts is a handout, a cut, it nips.

Knowledges, existing outside of the bounds of the normative and objective and the rational – different knowledges undisciplining the being of embodied difference, entangled with those absented from our social fabric.

- dr. nancy viva davis halifax Associate Professor, York University

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