The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University has been awarded a grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through its Heritage Philadelphia Program. The Institute’s “Visionary Voices” program was one of only six programs in the Philadelphia area to receive a 2012 grant. In this $75,000 planning project, the Institute will explore the potential of public performance to engage the larger community in a dialogue around disability issues and contribute to the greater body of knowledge about the experience of intellectual disability, and its impact on families and communities.
Working in partnership with theater director David Bradley and playwright Suli Holum, the Institute will create a public performance inspired by the oral histories collected for Visionary Voices.These interviews will provide primary source material for a public performance, which will dramatize the stories of Pennsylvanians—especially mothers—who became “accidental warriors” in the intellectual disability rights movement. The Institute will gather a group of stakeholders, theater professionals, and scholars of the movement for workshops, to discuss how successfully the performance illustrates this history and connects the past to present-day issues and policies. Facilitated question and answer sessions after each performance will allow the Institute to revise and refine its final approach to the use of performance in informing dialogue and disseminating this important historical information.
To read the press release from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and to learn more about the 2012 award recipients, go to http://www.pcah.us/heritage/newsroom/heritage-philadelphia-program-april-2012-press-release/