A report for Art Monthly issue no. 420: October 2018. Part of the event programme ‘In formations’ at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, ‘On Cripping’ took the form of a 90-minute session of presentations, readings and screenings by Leah Clements, Elena Colman, Alice Hattrick and Lizzy Rose – four members of a new Crip Theory Group – reflecting on their experiences as both crips and artists who identify as crips.
The text was later reproduced in ‘Health‘ (2020, edited by Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz) – part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s acclaimed Documents of Contemporary Art series of anthologies which collect writing on major themes and ideas in contemporary art.
Excerpt: Though crip networks are relatively nascent in the UK, ‘it feels like this is a moment when people are more willing to listen, which I think owes much to the work done by queer people, people of colour and other marginalised groups’, Clements states. Though she later qualified: ‘while requirements that are more established in public consciousness like wheelchair access are still often not met, there are also other common needs that are kind of unheard of as something you could actually ask for.’
Interestingly, the movement is more developed over in the US. Thinking back to Smith’s article, maybe this is partly connected to the two countries’ divergent – though increasingly similar – approaches to public healthcare. In a nation where a stint in hospital can leave citizens financially ruined, perhaps there is a more unavoidable urgency for a crip-rights movement? As the UK moves from a ‘“public-spirited holistic approach to health and community” in favour of a neoliberal model premised on the individual management of mental and physical fitness’ (Smith quoting Maria Walsh’s ‘Art: Suitable Case for Treatment?’ from AM415), the final audience question of the afternoon – ‘is what you’re talking about not in fact more to do with belonging to a sick society?’ – feels somewhat unsettling. Hopefully, the conversation will gain wider public attention. After all, a society with a ‘healthier’ approach to health (of all forms) would surely benefit everyone.
Full article available at www.artmonthly.co.uk/magazine/site/issue/october-2018