Studying Disability Arts and Culture: An Introduction, by Petra Kuppers (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Natalie Lazaroo


The field of disability arts is a relatively nascent one, and Studying Disability Arts and Culture: An Introduction by Petra Kuppers is a welcome addition to the growing body of scholarship. The book draws together existing material from key thinkers in the field of disability and frames these theoretical concepts firmly within disability arts. Kuppers is a notable disability scholar, activist, and community artist, and the book is thus a rich and invaluable resource text for students and teachers of disability studies. Studying Disability Arts and Culture is framed as a study guide and— as its full title states—an introduction. This means that it assumes that its readers are new to the field of disability and disability scholarship; likewise, Kuppers writes in the first chapter that the student in the disability studies classroom is ‘likely among a predominantly non-disability identified group’ (3). I therefore approached this book with a split subjectivity, both as a scholar who has engaged in disability literature, as well as an imagined student encountering these theories, names and concepts as if for the first time.

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Conroy, Colette. ‘Disability: Creative Tensions between Drama, Theatre and Disability Arts’, RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance 14.1 (2009): 1–14.

Hadley, Bree. Disability, Public Space Performance and Spectatorship: Unconscious Performers (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Kuppers, Petra. Community Performance: An Introduction (London: Routledge, 2007).

Kuppers, Petra. Disability Culture and Contemporary Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Ryan, Frances. ‘We Wouldn’t Accept Actors Blacking Up, So Why Applaud “Cripping Up”?’, Guardian Australia – The Guardian (2015), redmayne-golden-globe-stephen-hawking-disabled-actors-characters


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