Re-Presenting Disability addresses issues surrounding disability representation in museums and galleries, a topic which is receiving much academic attention and is becoming an increasingly pressing issue for practitioners working in wide-ranging museums and related cultural organisations.

This volume of provocative and timely contributions, brings together twenty researchers, practitioners and academics from different disciplinary, institutional and cultural contexts to explore issues surrounding the cultural representation of disabled people and, more particularly, the inclusion (as well as the marked absence) of disability-related narratives in museum and gallery displays. The diverse perspectives featured in the book offer fresh ways of interrogating and understanding contemporary representational practices as well as illuminating existing, related debates concerning identity politics, social agency and organisational purposes and responsibilities, which have considerable currency within museums and museum studies.

Re-Presenting Disability explores such issues as:

  • In what ways have disabled people and disability-related topics historically been represented in the collections and displays of museums and galleries? How can newly emerging representational forms and practices be viewed in relation to these historical approaches?

  • How do emerging trends in museum practice – designed to counter prejudiced, stereotypical representations of disabled people – relate to broader developments in disability rights, debates in disability studies, as well as shifting interpretive practices in public history and mass media?

  • What approaches can be deployed to mine and interrogate existing collections in order to investigate histories of disability and disabled people and to identify material evidence that might be marshalled to play a part in countering prejudice? What are the implications of these developments for contemporary collecting?

  • How might such purposive displays be created and what dilemmas and challenges are curators, educators, designers and other actors in the exhibition-making process, likely to encounter along the way?

  • How do audiences – disabled and non-disabled – respond to and engage with interpretive interventions designed to confront, undercut or reshape dominant regimes of representation that underpin and inform contemporary attitudes to disability?

part I|111 pages

Part I New Ways of Seeing

chapter 1|20 pages

Activist Practice

ByRichard Sandell, Jocelyn Dodd

chapter 2|18 pages

Picturing People with Disabilities

Classical portraiture as reconstructive narrative
ByRosemarie Garland-Thomson

chapter 3|12 pages

Agents at Angkor

ByLain Hart

chapter 4|11 pages

‘See No Evil'

ByVictoria Phiri

chapter 5|15 pages

Ghosts in the War Museum

ByAna Carden-Coyne

chapter 6|13 pages

Behind the Shadow of Merrick

ByDavid Hevey

chapter 7|20 pages

Disability Reframed

Challenging visitor perceptions in the museum
ByJocelyn Dodd, Ceri Jones, Debbie Jolly, Richard Sandell

part 2|82 pages

Part 2 Interpretive Journeys and Experiments

chapter 8|15 pages

To Label the Label?

‘Learning disability' and exhibiting ‘critical proximity’
ByHelen Graham

chapter 9|13 pages

Hurting and Healing

Reflections on representing experiences of mental illness in museums
ByJoanna Besley, Carol Low

chapter 10|12 pages

Histories of Disability and Medicine

Reconciling historical narratives and contemporary values
ByJulie Anderson, Lisa O'Sullivan

chapter 11|13 pages

Revealing Moments

Representations of disability and sexuality
ByElizabeth Mariko Murray, Sarah Helaine Jacobs

chapter 12|11 pages

The Red Wheelchair in the White Snowdrift

ByGeraldine Chimirri-Russell

chapter 13|16 pages

Face to Face

Representing facial disfigurement in a museum context
ByEmma Chambers

part 3|85 pages

Part 3 Unsettling Practices

chapter 14|16 pages

‘Out From Under'

A brief history of everything1
ByKathryn Church, Melanie Panitch, Catherine Frazee, Phaedra Livingstone

chapter 15|15 pages

Transforming Practice

Disability perspectives and the museum
ByShari Rosenstein Werb, Tari Hartman Squire

chapter 16|16 pages

Reciprocity, Accountability, Empowerment

Emancipatory principles and practices in the museum
ByHeather Hollins

chapter 17|13 pages

Disability, Human Rights and the Public Gaze

The Losheng Story Museum
ByChia-Li Chen

chapter 18|12 pages

A Museum for All?

The Norwegian Museum of Deaf History and Culture
ByHanna Mellemsether

chapter 19|11 pages

Collective Bodies

What museums do for disability studies
ByKatherine Ott