Support a2ru’s work in arts research & disability justice | Leonardo/ISAST

Support a2ru’s work in arts research & disability justice

By Jennifer Strickland

Donate to Ground Works

Ground Works is a2ru’s* peer-reviewed platform for arts-integrated research. Ground Works spotlight extraordinary projects that integrate the arts and other disciplines. However, these projects are products of equally compelling processes—processes that Ground works aim to explore, witness, and share. We have a unique opportunity to do this with the CripTech Incubator, Leonardo/ISAST’s art-and-technology fellowship centered on disability innovation. In 2022-23, a cohort of six disabled artists will create and showcase innovative work in art and technology through the CripTech Incubator residencies, engaging and remaking creative technologies through the lens of access. Within disability culture, the term “crip” recognizes disability as a valued cultural and political identity. But “crip” also identifies an active practice whereby disabled makers and artists transform built environments or technologies to be more accessible. In collaboration with these artists, Ground Works is documenting their creative, interdisciplinary processes.

This project is tremendously important, on several fronts.

  • For the artists: Ground Works are closely collaborating with artists so that everything Ground Works do meets their documentation needs and supports their professional agendas. Our working process emphasizes voice, agency, and aesthetic access, and is based on principles of disability justice, recognizing disabled artists as knowers.

  • For the CripTech Incubator: this project builds connections within the current cohort of artists even as it enhances our understanding of how a residency program like this works, informing future disability art-and-technology programs.

  • For the broader research community: this is an opportunity to foreground not only arts-centered formats and expressions of knowledge, but also arts-centered, collaborative means of knowledge production by diverse populations. In documenting the CripTech Incubator, Ground Works recognize the people and processes that contribute to knowledge, especially those that have been historically undervalued. We expect this project to inform how the research enterprise — especially in higher education — recognizes who produces knowledge, how they do it, and how that knowledge is represented.

Ground Works needs your help to take on work of this scale. Specifically, we’re looking to fund our access and technical requirements so that all aspects of the process-–from working with the artists to creating an entirely new archive on the Ground Works platform-–are accessible for everyone. This includes documentation workshops with cross-disability facilitation, CART captioning, interviews through digital mediums, descriptive audio transcripts, content preparation, transcript review, and more.

Groundworks aims to raise an initial $5,000 to defray the costs of working directly with the artists to explore their processes in ways that are accessible and equitable. This will fund the running of a cross-disability documentation workshop and pilot data collection activities with fully accessible content. If Ground Works reach our second goal of $10,000, this will help scale data collection and cover the technical costs of producing accessible, multi-modal materials that allow for wide community access on the Ground Works platform.

Image courtesy of Meesh Fradkin (artist)
Visual description: A multi-color tree that one can wander inside of, surrounded by orchid textures in an interactive virtual space.
This piece was featured in The Dollhouse Gallery created by Lara Lewison and can be experienced via

*a2ru is the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, a network of colleges and universities committed to advancing the arts in higher education. a2ru is hosted by the University of Michigan.

Donate to Ground Works