Mapping Access Gallery

We realized that folks need an Instagram account in order to view the artwork, so we’re posting the art/stories here too.

We thought we could begin with our own stories.

1st image: Over my years at York I’m always wary of Campus Walk, the major pathway linking the main area of campus to the buildings where the student residences are, and more recently where our program, Critical Disability Studies, moved to at Stong College. This photo depicts a location pin with the text “Campus Walk”, with a closeup look at the unevenness of the brickwork and tripping hazard around the drain hole cover casted with the word “DANGER”.

> 2nd image: It’s a danger indeed. This picture shows Campus Walk sloping downward, which is not so noticeable when the grounds are dry and for a person like me who does not walk with mobility devices. But I imagine it impacts people who move with different mobilities or use mobility devices.

> 3rd image: And it is definitely concerning in the winter. Many a times I have been afraid to walk down this path after a flash freeze, or when it’s covered in a kind of packed snow that stick to the shoes, as people are rushing behind me to get to their classes. I’m an able-bodied person who developed osteopenia in my hips at a young age, and as I age I am increasingly afraid of falling and breaking bones. This image is an altered version of the last photo, with snow added digitally to the path to convey the fall risks of the slope, combined with the unevenness of the ground obscured by ice/snow/salt.

> 4th image: Wouldn’t it be nice if the path can be patched up evenly, and railings be installed along the way, so that everyone can have something to hold on to whenever they feel unsteady for any reason? This image depicts a sideview of Campus Walk to show the level of incline against the perpendicular wall of a building, with drawings of glowing railings added along the wall.

Well, I can dream of glowstick railings, but any railing would be nice.

Art/text by patricia

I remember I often couldn’t find the right buildings that I had classes in and passed building and entrances. First year in my undergrad when I started school I missed classes simply because I couldn’t find buildings. It usually took so long to find a sign that indicates the names of buildings as many of those signs are not accessible — they are in different designs and small, with lack of contrast to the walls, as if it is hidden from me which made it super confusing for a person with visual disability and colour blind.

Finding places that I’m supposed to go creates extra work and preparation yet not guaranteeing success, I often thought I would need a bed while I’m on my way to classes before entering to the building as I needed a rest.

Image description: First picture is a colour photo of an entrance of a building with brown brick walls. On the wall left to the entrance the small metal plaque with the building name is circled with digitally drawn lines in red/white/purple. The lines zigzag across the pavement in front of the building to a bed with white mattress and black frame digitally added to the photo in the lower right corner. At the top of the photo is the text: “This is a picture of where I couldn’t find which building I was at and when I imagined to lay on the ground to rest from access fatigue.”

The 2nd photo is a black & white version of the first one.

Art/text by Yoonmee

Some questions that came up for me after years of going to conferences and similar academic spaces…

Image 1 shows a background photo of a white clock face without hands on a light yellow wall, with the heading “Questioning conferences & similar academic spaces” and the question “who has access to space and time?”

The rest of the images have the same background and heading.

Image 2 asks the question: “what does it mean to honour crip time and prioritize accessibility, when sessions are scheduled back-to-back without breaks?

Image 3 asks, “What does it mean to be inclusive when often only projects that have taken months or years to complete are deemed worthy of presentation, but activists/scholars are expected to distill their months/years of work into a 10-minute discussion?”

Image 4 asks, “Who can access these spaces? Who are afforded the space and time to share ideas and advance their work? Who are supported to participate most fully in these spaces?”

We might further ask – how are these spaces reinforcing colonial measurement/management of time, and particular euro-western ways of thinking/speaking/expressing/participating as normative and desirable?

The last image asks, in red text, “What would it be like if conference organizers ask each presenter how much time/space they need and schedule accordingly?”

What would it be like to truly centre the needs, knowledges and expressions of different embodiments in academic spaces? What happens if we question our own common sense understanding about time and its boundaries to make space for collective access? What would it take for these academic spaces to no longer hold the revered status of granting recognition for the work of students/scholars/activists/researchers/communities?

Thoughts or stories? If you’d like to share please visit this page.

— Art/text by patricia

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