a2ru Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Ground Works x CripTech Incubator Project

Ground Works
A multi-color tree that one can wander inside of, surrounded by orchid textures in an interactive virtual space.

Jan 20, 2022

Ground Works, a2ru’s peer-reviewed platform for arts-integrated research, spotlights extraordinary projects that integrate the arts and other disciplines. However, these projects are products of equally compelling processes—processes that we 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: we are closely collaborating with artists so that everything we 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, we 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.

We aim 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 we 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.

We hope you will consider supporting this exciting and important project; donations of all sizes are meaningful! The campaign will run on MaizeRaise, the University of Michigan’s crowdfunding platform, through February 11.

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