Stories of Access

Stories of Access is a workshop series bringing together neurodivergent artists and artists with developmental disabilities to share stories, and explore what we believe accessibility in the arts could look like!

Between May and October this year, we will meet once a month on Zoom to explore questions around what it feels like to belong in the arts community. The goal is to create an idea that will help make the arts more accessible. The idea will be shared with the community to get their reaction.

Using a process we call difference-centered design, we will imagine together new possibilities and ideas for making art more accessible. Workshops will be hosted by Creative Users Projects and facilitated by Lindsay Fisher and Margaret Lam.

  • Workshop 1 (May): Creative Users Projects’ discoveries about accessibility in the arts
  • Workshop 2 (Jun): Sharing our stories of access: what do you want to see change?
  • Workshop 3 (Jul): Asking questions and listening to stories: what did you learn?
  • Workshop 4-6 (Aug-Nov): Creating prototypes and testing our ideas with the world.

What is Difference-Centered design?

Difference-Centered Design is a creative way to explore problems and come up with solutions to those problems. It helps us come up with the best solutions by focusing on the needs and stories of people, the resources made available and the technologies that are accessible.
What to expect:

  • Spurts of curiosity and looking at problems from different angles,
  • Asking questions and listening actively to people’s stories,
  • Creating prototypes of new possibilities and ideas to share with the world.

What is a prototype?

A prototype is a quick way to test an idea with the people around you before building the actual thing. It can involve technology, but it doesn’t have to.

For example, let’s say I had a great idea for a phone app but I want to know what others think before I spend thousands of dollars on hiring a developer to build the app. I will prototype it by drawing it out on paper and showing it to people who I think will want to use it and ask them what they think!

Who can participate?

We welcome artists who self-identify as neurodivergent from across Canada, who are also comfortable participating in virtual meetings via Zoom. Access and support is available too! We want to make sure that each of you can participate fully in the workshops.

We can pay you $150 for each session plus $250 for additional “homework” time.

How can I apply?

Please submit your application by the end of day on Friday, May 14th, 2021.

We will contact you by Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 to arrange a meeting, and select the participants by Wednesday, May 26th, 2021.

How will we select artists?

  • You are available and able to commit the time (One 2-hour workshop per month for six months, and 6-8 hours between workshops to prepare explorations, reflections, and research, with support from us!)
  • You self-identify as neurodivergent or developmentally disabled, or you are labelled as having an intellectual disability
  • You have an interest in creating solutions to address (in)accessibility in the arts
  • You are able to understand and communicate in English and/or ASL
  • You have access to a computer and internet

About Accessing The Arts

Stories of Access is part of a larger research initiative called Accessing the Arts where we’re asking some big questions around what accessibility in the arts could and should look like in a digital world.

In the last two years we’ve heard many stories and learned some surprising things about what it means for people to feel like they belong in the arts conversation. Most importantly, we’ve learned that generating stories of disability and difference are necessary to building an inclusive arts future.

You can learn more about our project by visiting