Quippings Mission Statement

Quippings is a unique inclusive disability and queer led spoken word and performance troupe under the creative direction of a team of producers. At the moment Quippings producers are Kath Duncan, with Jax Jacki Brown as Consulting Producer.

The Quippings troupe embraces emerging and established artists who identify as being deaf and/or disabled and queer; or deaf and/or disabled and allies to the queer community. 

Quippings’s work centres on the lived experiences of deaf and disabled embodiment and all works are written and performed by the artists ourselves. 

Quippings is a collaborative group and all works are subject to feedback by the group with final decisions by the producers. A considered engagement with disability rights politics as well as the quality of the work are the most important factors.

We define disability rights politics in performance as: disability and/or Deaf pride; social model basis in the construction and execution of performance; interest in the struggles and achievements of other disabled and/or deaf artists; effort to address ongoing access, inclusion, disability arts aesthetics approaches.

Quippings is based in Melbourne, including Hares and Hyenas (The Harehole); at the Richmond Theatrette and other accessible venues.

Key Principles

Our mission is to produce work which is of a high standard and which challenges expectations. 

Quippings operates from the Social Model of disability - a political perspective born out of the disability rights movement which says it is the barriers – social, medical, economic, educational and financial discrimination, physical and attitudinal - we face in the world which disable us. 

We recognize our impairments as designating personal and political differences, which do affect us. We take pride in the creative expressions of our achievements, creations, struggles, joys and losses as part of a bigger picture of global crip/disability/deaf solidarity. We call this Disability Pride.

You don’t have to be both queer and deaf/disabled to be part of Quippings but it helps. Exploring queered notions of sexuality, love, relationships and gender with a QUILTBAG (Queer Undecided Intersex Lesbian Transgender Bisexual Asexual Gay) focus are key themes of all Quippings productions. 

"Perhaps the most significant similarity between [disability and queerness] …. is their radical stance toward concepts of normalcy; both argue adamantly against the compulsion to observe norms of all kinds (corporeal, mental, sexual, social, cultural, subcultural, etc.)" - Carrie Sandahl, Queering the Crip or Cripping the Queer? Intersections of Queer and Crip Identities in Solo Autobiographical Performance, The Muse Project, 2003 https://muse.jhu.edu/article/40804

Quippings is a creative political group with much of the content of our shows aimed at exploring the politics and pride of being a crip/a freak/non-normative. 

"Disability is a physical experience, but it's also a cultural experience and a social experience… My whole life is … performative and always has been - because I'm stared at and looked at everywhere I go [so] if everyone's looking at me, I might as well say something interesting." - Stella Young

We position Quippings within the global and national disability arts movements.

"The disability arts movement… asserts the rights of people with impairments to feel good about being who they are – in the face of oppression… The affirmative stance taken within the Disability Arts Movement offers a basis for an identity that is rooted in ideas of pride, anger and strength!", - Colin Cameron, Disability Studies: A Student's Guide.

We know we are a vital, necessary force within the Arts while it’s rare for artists with disability to be considered equal to artists who are non-disabled. We believe in authentic casting for deaf and disabled performers. 

The lack of opportunities for disabled and deaf artists generally means Quippings producers and performers are developing each other’s performative potentials. Some Quippings stars aim to infiltrate and shift mainstream arts, some want to develop our own queer bent disability arts as an active creative force. Either way and both, it is vital to skill up deaf and/or disabled artists to express ourselves. Nationally and internationally, arts and media companies are acknowledging the importance of representation, as well as the key contributions of, diverse, deaf and disabled artists. 

We invite robust critique from Quippings participants and outsiders on our work.

Key Themes

Disability and sexuality.  Quippings performers draw on their own and others’ experiences of embodiment and connection, sensuality, relationships, sexual lifestyles, etc into their works. Sexuality is a broad area of life and Quippings shows take the broadest possible views of sensuality and the sensual life. 

The diversity of disability.  Quippings includes people in wheelchairs, people with neurological disorders, people who were born disabled, people with acquired disabilities, people with mental illness, people with invisible disabilities and people from QUILTBAG communities and people who are queer friendly.

Strategies

  • To make work which promotes the social model of disability. Quippings shows are political and proud, rejecting ‘disability as inspiration/overcoming adversity’ or ‘disability as tragedy’ tropes, while entertaining people.
  • To grow our audience.
  • To provide accessible and inclusive space which encourage and support deaf and disabled artists to develop and perform work.
  • To activate leadership, skill-sharing and mentorship by and of queer and queer friendly deaf and disabled people.
  • To provide a space where the politics of non-normativity can be explored and engaged with creatively.
  • To create a platform where innovative and subversive work can be showcased for our disability and queer communities as well as the broader public. 
  • To demonstrate the creative case for inclusive practice, which argues that works produced by artists with disability carry perspectives which creatively drive social and economic reforms.
  • To create and cultivate work which explores the diverse and multiple communities or intersectionalities, we belong to, immersing the audience in experiences they may not have lived; challenging and changing misconceptions of deafness and disability and queerness.
  • To actively counter the general as well as our own internalized ableism, queerphobia, transphobia, ageism, sexism and racism, specifically when these -isms interact with sexuality, love, sexual access, and relationships.