When I give presentations, I generally begin with an access statement. This statement aims to present access as, in the words of Tanya Titchkosky, a “politics of wonder”–that is, something we can notice and question together, and something that will arise from the “interpretive relations” between our bodyminds. Because I am often asked to share my access statement, I’ve created a page for it on this site, so that folks can adapt it for their own purposes. If you wish to cite it, I first used it (so far as I can remember) at the 2009 Society for Disability Studies Conference, as part of the plenary session “We Sing the Queer/Crip Electric: Disabled Writers Explore Presence Through Time, Space, and Memory.” You can also just cite it from this website.
The image on the cover slide is _______. The title of this talk is _______.
As I begin, I want to recognize the space we’re inhabiting together. [Describe some features of the space I notice—e.g. steps, lighting, presence of an interpreter or CART, crowdedness, air quality.] Please feel invited to use it in whatever way is accessible to you. For example, you may want to move around; stand up; lie down; put your feet up; go out and come back in; stim; engage with another person (for instance, by writing a note to a friend); tweet; take notes; or any other use of this space that feels right to you. Knitters, feel free to take out your work! If I was able to knit and deliver a talk at the same time, I’d be doing it.
I also want to recognize the cost and labor that have gone into making this space. Thank you, _________, for the labor of organizing this event, and thank you to ____ for generous sponsorship. Thank you to the people who have prepared this room, and who will clean it after I am gone, as well as to those who maintain its flooring and furniture, the light, the temperature, and the structure itself. Some of the things in this space—for example, the presence of CART—may not be familiar to you. Its presence is sometimes labeled as “expensive” or “an add-on,” but in fact it is just as integral to an inclusive presentation as the presence of lights, air-quality systems, and sturdy flooring. And it costs a lot less than those items we no longer notice because they have come to seem “normal”—for instance, the abundant and well-maintained (though not gender-free) plumbing in this expensive university building.
Finally, I want to offer what’s known in some communities as a trigger warning, or content warning. In this presentation, I will be discussing the issue of pain at length—including both physical and psychic pain—and at one point, I will describe what it’s like to experience a psychotic break from my experience. Please feel invited to disengage from this talk in any way that feels right to you; please also feel invited to follow up with me later to discuss ways that you might engage with what I’m saying, but in a safer and lower-stakes setting. I am providing note cards if you’d like to jot any questions or notes to me; ______ will collect these before the Q&A begins. You are also welcome to email me. Please be aware that I might not be able to process questions after this talk well—
[This next part is just for presentations that have a PowerPoint and/or dedicated website. The dedicated website offered here as an example is one co-created with Aimi Hamraie, Melanie Yergeau, and Johnna Keller; hence the switch to “we.”]
I’ll be using a PowerPoint, which gives main ideas as I go along. I will describe all images as they appear. We’ve also created a space for Q&A here (https://sustainingaccess.wordpress.com). Our purpose is to try to take our time together and infuse it with crip time. Ellen Samuels, Alison Kafer, and Clare Mullaney have written powerfully on the notion of crip time, and in Alison’s words, it is a way not just of expanding but of exploding time (53). So our effort with this rudimentary web site is to add some additional dimensions, and an asynchronous time frame, into the spaces where we can potentially share ideas. We imagine this space as one that might be more accessible for those who prefer to communicate in writing rather than oral speech; or who can’t be here physically, but have read a copy of one of our papers; or who simply think of an idea or a question after the fact. The nice thing about crip time is that it’s not just for crips—or rather, it recognizes the ways that anyone, regardless of disability status, would benefit from a cripped form of space and time.