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Doing Dis/ordered Mapping/s: Embodying Disability in the Museum Environment Open Access


Other title
material culture
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Rieger,Janice L
Supervisor and department
Dr. Megan Strickfaden (Human Ecology)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Kristof Van Assche
Dr. Patrick Devlieger
Dr. Gavin Renwick
Dr. Vasilis Galis
Dr. Michael Prokopow
Department of Human Ecology

Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This research is a doing of mapping/s through multi-sited case study research—Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (CSHF) in Calgary, Canada (pilot study), the Canadian War Museum (CWM) in Ottawa, Canada (case study one), and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg, Canada (case study two)—that engages in a doing of mapping/s in order to better understand how and if the embodied experiences of those with disabilities are included in museum environments. It is transdisciplinary research that brings together museum studies and disability studies, which takes material culture, relational, embodied and reflexive approaches with an aim towards a more holistic view on disability and museums. The two central questions queried are: how are the embodied experiences of people with disabilities included/excluded in the museum environment and how is knowledge produced about the embodied experiences of people with disabilities in the museum? The doing of mapping/s is not about fixing lines and encounters in order to produce a map or model; on the contrary, the doing of mapping/s is to explore differing embodiments and material relations among people, things and disability. Therefore, the approach to this research weaves in/with/through embodying in order to pursue new trajectories—in methods and methodologies, in material and relational theories, in processes of inclusion, in transdisciplinarity and in the doing of mapping/s. What the complex braiding of this research suggests is that a more holistic exploration of inclusion in the museum needs to be articulated, embodied, and drawn up. Moreover, that by embracing an unknowingness, a co-constitutive knowledge process and an embodied criticality museums can shift their understanding of inclusion from product to process and to an ongoing enactment of inclusion. ii The findings of this research include the mapping/s that emerge as various trajectories, acts, doings and makings of museums in Canada to reveal complicated stories. These stories are about: disability and ability; remembering, forgetting and silencing; ways of knowing through processes and products and are inclusive of differing lines of embodiments (reading, digging, resting, wheeling, swirling). There are no simple conclusions, concise summaries or easy answers but through a doing of dis/ordered mapping/s, differing ways of approaching, framing, doing, mapping and narrating are opened up to: new knowledge processes (and an unknowingness); new engagements (multisensorial and co-constitutive); and an embodied criticality. By mapping how disability is included/excluded in the museum—an influential institution where knowledge is both produced and consumed—insights into how society engages with and constructs disability are revealed.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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