Bodies of Knowledge: Establishing Moments of Radical Accessibility and Embodied Learning
Carmen Papalia

This free workshop will unfold over 6 weekly sessions this fall!

When: Starts Tuesday, November 4th 2014 (7:00PM – 9:30PM)
Where: TBD venue in East Vancouver*
Who is it for: Youth! ages 15-30–  other than that, it’s open to everyone/anyone!
there are 10 spots

*We are waiting to confirm the venue
because we hope to meet the access needs of the group. Therefore, those that are interested in participating should be in touch with Carmen Papalia, the workshop facilitator, as soon as possible and before the first meeting to discuss individual access needs and preferences.

**Please be in touch by October, 21st**
You can reach Carmen by phone or email:
Phone: 778.886.0150


This workshop (for youth ages 15 – 30), will establish an open working
space dedicated to the consideration of our agency in public and
institutional settings, and what actions we must take in order to
explode normalcy and realize our potential as embodied learners.
Through a combination of group work and independent studio time,
participants will develop an intentional practice around living and
learning that is informed by their body. With approaches such as:
writing, drawing, performance, sculpture, installation and public
intervention, participants will define a system of access for
themselves that is based in their very subjective perceptions
regarding what is accessible. As an open-sourcing of their own access,
participants will highlight the opportunities for learning and knowing
that come available through the fact of their body. Meetings will
culminate in a series of actions that will address, claim, interrupt,
antagonize and heal the space between ourselves and the systems that
we choose to participate in—a gesture that will contribute to a
productive understanding of accessibility.


Imagine, for a moment, that you are a visual learner and that all the
Instagram photos on your feed are soundscapes. You try to view one of
them but it seems murky and unknowable as you listen. You think to ask
one of your illustrator friends to translate it into an engaging visualization and you hope they will oblige. You probably want to ask an artist whose aesthetic is in line with your own artistic sensibility and who can make the content come alive with their craft.
You probably don’t want to ask an artist who will abstract the content
even further from the original, because then you’d have to negotiate
the space between the original and the abstracted translation—when all
you wanted to do was know what the heck your friend posted on
FaceBook! Such an abstraction might be suitable as a creative response
to your friend’s post but it would not provide you with the same ease
of access that your friends are so lucky to have. But then again it
would be different an the same thing at once. It would be a hybrid in
terms of genre and meaning—something that uniquely reflects the way
you learn.
Although we don’t often acknowledge it, our FaceBook communities are
full of all sorts of different kinds of learners—as are the
non-virtual communities that we are part of. As are the communities
that organize in cities, as are the communities that organize in
schools, as are the communities that organize in museums. We are
surrounded, at any given moment, with others that don’t learn the way
we do. But how do we nurture the ways in which we learn and how can we
make sure that the bodies of knowledge that we have access to from our
unique position are not subjugated by the dominant and oppressive
systems within which we participate? We define our access needs and
preferences so accessibility can be realized as an open cultural
practice through which we can claim the support that will empower us
to thrive!

Thank you and I look forward to working with you.


attached is a photo by Sylvia from our program at the VAG and the
description is:
A person wearing a denim vest with an image of Frida Kahlo on it sits
on a hardwood surface in a museum as they describe a contemporary
photograph to a young person who is crouching and holding a white
mobility cane. Both the describer and the listener hold the stanchion
barrier that is meant to distance the viewer from the art work while
the young person’s caregiver watches from a distance.

photo by Sylvia Bo Bilvia


See for Yourself-2012-museum tour-duration varies-image by Sylvia McFadden, courtesey of the Purple Thistle Center (2)