Three Trent University professors will join a research team of nearly two-dozen university and community partners across Canada recently awarded the number one ranked $2.5 million Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant (2017-2024) to challenge misconceptions about disability and marginalized communities.
The project entitled “Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life,” will be led by Dr. Carla Rice, Canada research chair in care, gender and relationships at the University of Guelph and Dr. Eliza Chandler of Ryerson University in Critical Disability Studies. Dr. Nadine Changfoot, chair of Political Studies at Trent, is the Trent research lead. In Peterborough, the project will produce short multimedia videos made by older and intergenerational community members including artists, healthcare providers, and aging and disability advocates who experience the intersections of aging, disability and multiple differences, including gender, race, sexuality, and class.
“These videos will bring to light the agency and creativity of older and aging adults living with disability and importantly challenge negative representations that influence marginalization,” said Professor Changfoot. Reflecting on her past project that mobilizes new meanings of disability and difference, she adds, “Tangible impacts of this kind of arts-research creation include cultural recognition for marginalized groups. As well, audiences express desire to improve accessibility, change healthcare encounters, and create community and belonging in meaningful ways.”
Dr. Sally Chivers, a faculty member in the English Literature department, and Ann MacLeod, a faculty member in the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing, will also contribute to the project. They will be involved in multimedia workshops making their own videos alongside Dr. Changfoot. The Trent Centre of Aging & Society, of which all three researchers are members, will support the workshops.
“I jumped at Prof. Changfoot’s invitation to join a team that will create meaningful art with marginalized older adults,” said Professor Chivers, a leading scholar on literature and cinema about aging and disability and theatre experience. “Peterborough has a remarkably robust and diverse arts community, I’m excited to extend our art spaces into unexpected locations.”
“The breadth of partners offers so many opportunities for both researchers and community partners to contribute and be co-learners in this arts-based research,” says Ms. MacLeod. “Having informal and formal carers, as well as decision makers engage in and with the art of marginalized populations holds promise for greater inclusivity in both postsecondary and health care institutions.”
Peterborough community partners in the project include GreenUP, Peterborough Council on Aging, Mysterious Entity Theatre, and ReFrame Film Festival.