Monthly Mentor

Shelly Breaux (December)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Shelly Breaux established the Art Program at David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy in Lafayette, LA. In her classroom, Breaux focuses on inquiry-based learning, problem solving, collaboration, conceptual thinking, and constructive criticism. She believes in using art as an educational tool, and that art provides her students with a voice and an outlet. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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October 08, 2018

Disability Justice

From Dr. Karen Keifer-Boyd

Disability justice is a socio-political activist framework that recognizes entangled forms of oppression – queer women of color with disabilities, trans and gender non-conforming people with disabilities, people with disabilities who are incarcerated, people with disabilities who have had their ancestral lands stolen or refugees with disabilities, amongst others. Disability justice activists employ civil disobedience when advocacy and other civil processes fail to protect access to community-based services.

Sins Invalid, founded in 2006 and based in San Francisco, has a website with an inclusive definition of disability of those “whose bodies do not conform to our culture(s)’ notions of ‘normal’ or ‘functional,’” as well as arts educational resources and performance videos at (Sins Invalid, n.d., para. 2). Littleglobe Disability Justice Collective, founded in 2013 and based in New Mexico, has a website that presents current and archived arts-based projects and bios of artists, as well as links to affiliate collectives (see The D.O.P.E. Collective, founded in 2015 and based in Buffalo, New York, presents inclusion principles with graphics and offers free and accessible art workshops with booking information at their website (see

Questions to explore in teaching and research:

  • How does media represent disability? How does this differ from ADA definitions?
  • How is exclusion and inclusion sustained or disrupted?
  • How is disability marked or signified?


My research regarding these questions is the focus of a chapter titled “Creativity, Disability, Diversity, and Inclusion” in an important 2018 Handbook of arts education and special education: Policy, research, and practices edited by Jean Crockett & Sharon Malley. My chapter begins with a discussion of disability identity and representation, followed by a section on strategies to creatively deconstruct disabling narratives. The third section examines diversity awareness education approaches: culturally responsive, critical multicultural, oppositional, and post-oppositional. The final section of the chapter calls for the inclusion of difference.



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