Journal Article (peer-reviewed)

Disability Design in Contemporary Art and Curating, Special Issue of Arts Journal Guest Edited by Amanda Cachia


Image from Disability Design in Contemporary Art and Curating, Special Issue of Arts Journal Guest Edited by Amanda Cachia

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Arts entitled “Disability Design in Contemporary Art and Curating” explores a topic that has become imperative and urgent during these pandemic times. It seeks to publish essays that provide critical analysis of the concept of “disability design” as a methodology for curating exhibitions and producing artwork. How can disabled embodiment shape the development and planning of exhibitions and art praxis? How can the altered, atypical body guide and inform best museum practices for exhibition way-finding, and for sensorial engagement with objects? In recent years, artists have been turning to modes of disability “accommodation” as the subject for their politicized work, which have included poetic and creative responses to alt-text, captioning, visual description, original new forms of museum furniture, disability access riders, critiques of the medical industrial complex, the nature of interdependent networks of care, and more. In turn, museums are recognizing the need to not only showcase these forms of art, but to also instill a credible engagement with disability design practices themselves for the needs of a diversity of visitors when mounting their exhibitions and staging programs. It is particularly during our pandemic era that museums have been grappling with not only how to meet audience needs in both real time and virtual formats, but also how to activate genuine decolonizing social justice efforts in response to a lack of true diversity within the gallery walls. This general desire, approach, and now response to COVID-19 are what I necessarily consider to be disability design in contemporary art and curating—one that is adaptable, hybrid, flexible, open-minded, “cripped,” and perceptive of diverse needs. I am therefore seeking papers that delve into these ideas, and I am especially interested in papers that bring an intersectional perspective to their case studies.

Authors may address the topic of disability design in contemporary art and curating across a wide array of visual media, including the fine arts, periodicals, television, and film, and use subjects and methodologies drawn from disciplines such as art history; visual studies; cultural studies; philosophy; women’s, gender and sexuality studies; communication studies; critical design, critical race and ethnic studies and more.

Proposed projects may include scholarly essays as well as more creative projects (e.g., visual or performance art, speculative writing, and interviews).

Dr. Amanda Cachia
Guest Editor

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 22 December 2022.