The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University was established in 1974 and works with people with disabilities and families across Pennsylvania to change systems, share knowledge, and promote self-determination. The Institute explores the potential of an arts-based approach to engage the larger community in a dialogue around disability issues and the history of the disability rights movement through its Media Arts & Culture unit.
The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University will engage in a discovery process with the goal to illuminate the complex history and lived experience of institutionalization. Working with a group of multidisciplinary artists and historians, the Institute will develop an arts-based methodology and artist residency model. An extension of the Institute’s advocacy work with and for people with disabilities, the year-long project will conduct pilot residencies on the grounds of Selinsgrove Center, located in Central Pennsylvania, and home to over 220 people with intellectual disabilities. Given that many institutional residents communicate non-traditionally, the Institute posits that artists are uniquely situated to gather and interpret first-person narratives from individuals whose voices have traditionally been omitted from the historical record. Participating artists include oral historian Nicki Pombier Berger, social practice artist Harrell Fletcher, public historian Donna Graves, dancer KC Chun-Manning, and documentary photographer Ruddy Roye.
Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.