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Call for writings of disabled and Deaf artists: tell your story!

Call for Writings, as read aloud on YouTube. The video is subtitled.

The purpose for this ‘Call for Writings’ is to collect life stories for my Master’s thesis. I am a student of Cultural Policy in the University of Jyväskylä. My research entails collecting information about the positionality that artists with disabilities and Deaf artists have within art and culture field. The aim of my study is to get information about what people with disabilities are experiencing regarding potential career opportunities and challenges as it relates to their careers as artists. The purpose is to ultimately provide the community of arts at large with proposals for better practices and to promote the equality of artists with disabilities.

This study focuses on artists who live in Finland and their stories, derived from all fields of artistry such as; visual art, music, literature, theatre, circus, dance, performance art, comics and film. You can submit your story also if you are student in the arts sector and your aim is to work as an artist. In addition, you can send your story even if you have already stopped working as an artist. What is important is that you are either currently working, have worked in the past, or plan to work in the future primarily as an artist.

With this said, I kindly request for you to write a free-form story about how you became an artist and what it has been like to work as an artist. You can write it in English, Finnish or Swedish. If you can’t or prefer not to write, you can also send me a recording or a video in which you tell your story. I can also possibly arrange to visit with you in person and record your story or write it down. In this case, please contact me if you would like to tell your story by other means than writing.

For example you can include the following in your story:

  • In what ways were you involved with art as a child? What kind of art hobbies did you have as a child or when you were younger?
  • Do you have an educational background in art? What was your experience like when applying for studies and during the actual studies?
  • How have the institutions of society, such as primary school and universities, helped or hindered you?
  • What has it been like to work as an artist in different phases of your life and career?
  • What kind of art-related dreams or aims do you currently have or have had?
  • What kind of challenges have you faced?
  • What kind of opportunities have you experienced?
  • What kind of societal support have you received that has been beneficial for you on your path to becoming an artist and/or when you have worked as an artist?
  • What other support have you received, for example from your friends, family or other artists?
  • How do you make your living?
  • Have incomes other than the ones you receive from artistic work, such as from other types of work or social security, enabled you to remain working as an artist?
  • Have you applied for and received grants? In your opinion, what kind of opportunities and/or challenges are related to grants?
  • How have others from within the community of art or the society in general reacted to you as an artist and/or art field employee?
  • What is your position in the sphere of arts in Finland?
  • Has your gender affected any aspect of your experiences?
  • What kind of art do you practice? Does disability influence the contents of your art or your way of being an artist?
  • What kind of relationship do you have with the disability rights movement? Disability rights movement means actions which aim to secure the equal rights of people with disabilities.
  • What do you envision in your future as an artist?
  • If you have already stopped practicing art, how and why did it happen?
  • You can also share anything else related to the theme in your story.

The writings will be handled anonymously and with confidentiality.

Upon your permission, your writing will be archived for future research at The Finnish Social Science Data Archive. More information about The Finnish Social Science Data Archive.

Submit your story by July 1st, 2018 via online form:

Online form for submitting the life story in English

Online form for submitting the life story in Finnish 

Online form for submitting the life story in Swedish 

Please also fill in the separate background information form:

Background information form in English 

Background information form in Finnish 

Background information form in Swedish 

I will also be conducting artist interviews in autumn 2018. If you are interested in participating, please submit your contact information at the time you submit your story. Please contact me directly, if you only want to participate in the interview.

My aim is to finish the thesis in spring 2019. It will be available online in Finnish.

I will be happy to provide you with more information about the research. So feel free to reach out. I would also appreciate it if you could share this call for writings with others you might think would be interested in sharing their stories.

Please contact;
Outi Salonlahti
+358 40 584 2734
International Master’s Degree Programme in Cultural Policy
The University of Jyväskylä

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