Module 1: Exploring Crip Rituals

1.1 Getting Started: What is a ritual?

Connect to your own experiences:

  1. Describe some examples of rituals that you have experienced or taken part in?
  2. What makes these examples rituals?

1.2 Exploring the Art: What does it mean to “crip”?

The word “crip”is a reclaimed form of the word “cripple” that some disabled people use to describe their own identity or community, often in response to social imperatives to be normal, productive, or able-bodied. Disability studies scholar and activist Kelly Fritsch has further demonstrated how the word “crip” is also used as a verb, describing that “to crip is to open up with desire to the ways that disability disrupts.”

Watch the video below to hear curator Dr. Cassandra Hartblay further describe the concept of “crip” in relation to the #CripRitual exhibit.

Take a tour: explore the virtual gallery to understand how the artists have created rituals in relation to their crip identities, communities, and/or practices. Select a few works that resonate with you and reflect on how the artists are engaging with the theme of #CripRitual through the questions below.

  1. How do the artists use their work to share a ritual that comes from their own crip experiences?
  2. How do the artists use their work to demonstrate their acts of cripping existing rituals?
    • Example: Describe how Jessica Watkin’s work, “Knitting to Listen,” is disrupting normative understandings of reading through a ritual embodied by practices of knitting and inspired by experiences of becoming blind.

2.3 Creating: What is your #Crip Ritual?

As part of the exhibit, we invited audiences to share their own crip rituals. Inspired by some of the works you explored, can you describe any crip rituals that you have created, taken part in, or encountered based on your own lived experience?

Reflection: Return to the examples of rituals you described before exploring the artwork.

  1. How can the presence of disability disrupt those rituals?
  2. How can we crip those rituals?

Activity: As a class, curate your own #CripRitual exhibit. This can be through the creation of a website, a PowerPoint presentation, or even an in-person gallery in your classroom. Students can contribute in one of the ways listed below.

  1. Select a piece created by a disabled, d/Deaf, Mad, and/or Sick artist. Describe how their artwork or their creative practice embodies the theme of crip rituals.
  2. Creatively share and describe your own #CripRitual. This can be a ritual you have created, taken part in, or encountered based on your own lived experience. This can also be a ritual that you are trying to crip by considering the disruptive possibility of disability and the perspectives of disabled people in shaping this ritual.

As you prepare to share these works, make sure that you are being inspired by practices of access, and the possibilities presented through Disability Arts and Culture.

Support the Learning

Read more about rituals:

Read more about “crip”:

  1. Chandler, Eliza. “Introduction: Cripping the Arts in Canada.” Canadian Journal of Disability Studies 8, no. 1 (2019): 1-13.
  2. Kafai, Shayda. Crip Kinship: The Disability Justice & Art Activism of Sins Invalid. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2021.
  3. Kafer, Alison. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Indiana University Press, 2013.
  4. McRuer, Robert. Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. New York University Press, 2006.
  5. Sandahl, Carrie. “Queering the Crip or Cripping the Queer?: Intersections of Queer and Crip Identities in Solo Autobiographical Performance.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 9, no. 1-2 (2003): 25-56.
  6. Schalk, Sami. “Coming to Claim Crip: Disidentification with/in Disability Studies.” Disability Studies Quarterly 33, no. 2 (2013).

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