Are We Advancing Equity for Students With Disabilities?


Today’s discussions around diversity, equity and inclusion frequently leave out disability. We believe that the arts and education community is ready for a discussion on the intersectionality of disability with other marginalized communities and that educators who include disability in their diversity, equity and inclusion goals are critical to improving opportunities for students with disabilities. How will we as a community dismantle ableism and learn to avoid euphemisms while honoring differentiation? During this conversation, participants discuss the following questions that can help make organizations and arts classrooms more reflective of the diversity in our communities and more welcoming to students with disabilities: Where does access for people with disabilities live in your work? How can we better include the voices of disabled Black and people of color in our work? Can we dismantle racism and ableism in our organizations and classrooms? We believe that people with disabilities and of all ages can learn through, participate in and engage with arts, and we believe that you should, too.


Betsy Ludwig, Executive Director, Arts Access
Betty Siegel, Director, Office of Accessibility and VSA, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
LaMondre Pough, Board Member, ARTS Access South Carolina

Access additional 2021 AEP Virtual Gathering resources here.

Author profile

When I was asked to create a work of art exploring literacy, I wanted to create a dance but I had no dancers or a studio, so I chose to use my own body in the space I had, my yard. Fluent Nature is video of micro-choreography that explores what cannot be expressed with words, how nature has its own language, and how placing the human body in nature changes the story.

Title: What Is Me and What Is Not Me | Artist: Alex Chadwell | Medium: Music

My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

Title: A Curious Honeybee | Artist: Gideon Young | Medium: Film

Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

Title: Tercera Llamada | Artist: Karilú Forshee | Medium: Audio

La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

Title: Literaseas | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite and ink on paper with digital edits

Title: A Riddle | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits

Title: False Binaries | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits