In the last 30 years, a distinctive intersection between disability studies – including disability rights advocacy, disability rights activism, and disability law – and disability arts, culture, and media studies has developed. The two fields have worked in tandem to offer critique of representations of disability in dominant cultural systems, institutions, discourses, and architecture, and develop provocative new representations of what it means to be disabled.

Divided into 5 sections:

  • Disability, Identity, and Representation
  • Inclusion, Wellbeing, and Whole-of-life Experience
  • Access, Artistry, and Audiences
  • Practices, Politics and the Public Sphere
  • Activism, Adaptation, and Alternative Futures

this handbook brings disability arts, disability culture, and disability media studies – traditionally treated separately in publications in the field to date – together for the first time.

It provides scholars, graduate students, upper level undergraduate students, and others interested in the disability rights agenda with a broad-based, practical and accessible introduction to key debates in the field of disability art, culture, and media studies. An internationally recognised selection of authors from around the world come together to articulate the theories, issues, interests, and practices that have come to define the field. Most critically, this book includes commentaries that forecast the pressing present and future concerns for the field as scholars, advocates, activists, and artists work to make a more inclusive society a reality.

chapter 1|18 pages


Disability arts, culture, and media studies – mapping a maturing field

part I|70 pages

Disability, identity, and representation

chapter 2|17 pages

Great reckonings in more accessible rooms

The provocative reimaginings of disability theatre

chapter 3|12 pages

Visual narratives

Contemplating the storied images of disability and disablement

chapter 5|12 pages

The Down Syndrome novel

A microcosm for inclusion or parental trauma narrative

part II|74 pages

Inclusion, well-being, and whole-of-life experience

chapter 7|13 pages

Beauty and the Beast

Providing access to the theatre for children with autism

chapter 8|14 pages

Moving beyond the art-as-service paradigm

The evolution of arts and disability in Singapore

chapter 10|12 pages

Inclusive capital, human value and cultural access

A case study of disability access at Yosemite National Park

part III|80 pages

Access, artistry, and audiences

chapter 13|15 pages

Ways of watching

Five aesthetics of learning disability theatre

chapter 14|13 pages

History, performativity, and dialectics

Critical spectatorship in learning disabled performance

chapter 16|15 pages

Sweet Gongs Vibrating

The politics of sensorial access

chapter 18|14 pages

Exquisite model

Riva Lehrer, portraiture, and risk

part IV|54 pages

Practices, politics, and the public sphere

chapter 19|10 pages

On the fringe of the Fringe

Artmaking, access, rights, and community

chapter 21|13 pages

Seeing things differently

Danielle’s place making

chapter 22|5 pages

ADAPT in space! Science fiction and disability

Storying interdependence

chapter 23|14 pages

Environments, ecologies, and climates of crises

Engaging disability arts and cultures as creative wilderness

part V|90 pages

Activism, adaptation, and alternative futures

chapter 25|13 pages

Economies of scales (and chords)

Disability studies and adaptive music

chapter 26|13 pages

Accidental leaders

Inclusion, career pathways, and autonomy among dancers with disabilities

chapter 27|11 pages

Performing disability

Representation and power in ‘Classical’ Indian dance

chapter 29|11 pages


Practicing interdependency, sharing vulnerability, celebrating complexity–the future of disability arts, culture, and media research

chapter 30|11 pages

Plain language summary