13 May Monthly Reading List – April Reading List
What’s your April Reading List? Here’s ours.
Every first week of the month, Disabled Spectator publishes a reading list of our favorite disability and accessibility related articles. We look for insightful, interesting, controversial, heartbreaking, well-written, or enjoyable articles that provoke thought, conversation, and emotion. This post looks at articles we read in April. Accordingly, here is our April Reading List.
Performers with disability reflect on the state of access in Australia’s arts, by Hannah Reich, ABC (Australia)
Hannah Reich discusses how performers in Australia are let down by lack of accessibility and representation. Hannah discusses examples of poor backstage access and performers with disabilities being told they are liabilities. She also tells stories of inclusion and troupes formed solely by disabled performers, and how audiences receive them. The article also addresses the issue of who gets to tell disability-related stories and how they are told.
“A lot of theatres will have wheelchair access for the audience, but not for performers — so there’s no way up to the stage [and] there’s no way backstage,” he said.
“We did a show at the Adelaide Festival and we never used the word ‘disability’ in any of the copy and we got a very different audience. I think people were surprised at the skill level of all our dancers. It would be great if people would expect excellence, rather than be surprised.”
“My dream role would be to play the most normal person in the world. I never get roles like that, I am always playing the sidekick or the humorous entertainment,” Hawkins said.
Disabled People Don’t Belong In Music Venues, Apparently, by Ace Ratcliff, HuffPost
Ace Ratcliff is a music lover who frequents concerts and festivals often. Five years ago, she was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which is a degenerative disease that causes joint dislocation. As a result, she uses a wheelchair. Since then, she has found it difficult to attend music venues. She lists problems including access to venue entrances, accessibility issues inside venues, seating and obstructed view problems, and more. She also discusses the very real issue of purchasing accessible tickets. Her experiences tell her that ultimately, music venues do not want people with disabilities.
The battle often starts before I even get into the building, because I can’t buy handicapped tickets through Ticketmaster the way everyone else does. I have to get in touch with the venue to confirm accessibility options. Have you ever tried to get someone on the phone at a box office? It’s nearly impossible.
As desperately as I want to attend music festivals like other music lovers, I’ve come to accept it’s not going to happen. Most concerts aren’t designed for disabled people, and music festivals are just concerts turned up to 11.
Even if we’ve managed to successfully purchase tickets, get inside the venue and make it to the ADA viewing area, disabled people may not be able to watch the concert with our friends. On more than one occasion, I’ve only been able to bring one other person with me into accessible areas; staff members lifted their eyebrows as they informed me there simply wasn’t enough room for others to join me, as if my disability means I’m not allowed to have friends.
How To Write Great Sci-Fi About Disability Law, by David M. Perry, Pacific Standard
In this interesting read, David M. Perry looks at how disability is written into Sci-Fi, and the ways to do so properly. He cites a few recent examples from Sci-Fi that he’s read recently and notes how the plot lines at times include ADA as a real tool. Although examples of this are rare, they are there. He also makes note of the fact that individuals with superpowers would very likely have claim to falling under ADA regulations. This is a thought-provoking article.
Shane’s partner comes to his defense with the argument—unusual for a tense scene in a sci-fi cop drama—that, if he penalizes Shane, the chief will be “hauled up for violating the ADA [Americans With Disabilities Act].”
The sharp, maybe unprecedented exploration of assistive technology in a major work of science fiction benefits from the author’s savvy awareness of how these issues are playing out in our contemporary culture and politics.
Daily concludes, “Many super-powered individuals (particularly mutants in the Marvel universe) face discrimination” on the basis of their identity, and so might well have ADA claims.
Music Task Force Launched in UK to Improve Disability Access to Concerts, by Richard Smirke, Billboard
A new initiative called Ticketing Without Barriers is launching in the UK to improve accessibility to concerts. The initiative is teaming up with the leading promoters, agencies, and ticket providers including AEG, Live Nation, and Ticketmaster. The initiative is being overseen by Attitude Is Everything, a music charity organization whose goal is to improve accessibility and create awareness. The launch of the initiative coincides with Attitude Is Everything’s fourth annual State of Access Report – a report providing venue accessibility statistics from venues and disabled concerts goers across the UK.
“In 2018, every large-scale music event should be all-inclusive,” said Suzanne Bull, CEO of the British music charity Attitude is Everything that will oversee the coalition.
“Disabled customers should be able to buy a ticket online, they should be encouraged to attend shows with their friends, and not have to jump through undignified hoops when things go wrong,” continued Bull, who said the music business has “power to fix this.”
In the report, 79 percent said they had been put off buying gig tickets due to problems booking the necessary access requirements, while over 70 percent said that they had felt discriminated against. One in 10 respondents said that they had considered legal action as a result.
Disabled People (Might) Finally Get Emojis That Represent Us, by Ace Ratcliff, HuffPost
Ace Ratcliff discusses Apples proposal to add more disability-related emojis. Prior to this initiative, only one out of 2,666 emojis were related to disabilities. That one emoji was of a wheelchair. Apple is planning on releasing 13 new disability-related emojis. While it doesn’t seem like much compared to the total number of existing emojis, it is a start. Representation is incredibly important and adding more disability-related emojis goes a small ways towards creating more awareness.
Look at an emoji keyboard, however, and you’d never know we exist at all.
According to Apple’s proposal, emojis related to disability are frequently requested. And given that people with disability make up 15 percent of the world’s population, I’ll venture a guess that emojis that actually represent our experiences will see frequent use, even if only out of the sheer joy of finally getting them after all this time.
Apple’s 13 proposed emojis may be what society needs to recognize that disability representation is sorely needed and long overdue.
Thanks for reading our April Reading List. Keep an eye out for our list next month. You can read last month’s reading list here.