A person with a cane in a street corner

Disability as method: audio description as blind intervention

Can disability be a method of research-creation? How can we practice audio-description as a form of intervention in visual medium? In this research-creation, I reflect on these questions through the notion of what I call “disability as method”. Drawing on a year-long visual ethnography (2013-14), during which I collaborated with Jérôme, who is blind, and Anna, who has physical disabilities, I explore the specificities of their mobility experiences in the city of Montreal. In making this video, I use the affordances of filming and editing in creative ways both to explore what access could mean to differently disabled people in the space of the city and to reimagine new possibilities of media-making informed by blindness gain. To this end, I introduce a new audio description (AD) technique by using stop-time as crip-time, and deploying AD not only as an accessibility feature but also as a blind intervention in the creative process of filmmaking itself.

Arseli Dokumaci is Assistant Professor of Critical Disability Studies and Media Technologies at Concordia University, Communication Studies Department. Her research focuses on disability, performance and media, with an emphasis on everyday life, affordance theory, activism, visual ethnography and anthropology of biomedicine. Dokumaci’s research has appeared (or is forthcoming) in journals including Disability Studies Quarterly, Performance Research, RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Theatre Research in Canada, The AMA Journal of Ethics, and The History of the Human Sciences. Dokumaci is also a media-practitioner and video-maker, and her research-creation works have been featured at various international exhibitions and festivals.