Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba

Including artists and audiences with disabilities into all facets of the arts community.

Menu Close

United States Call for Participants with Invisible Disabilities!

Katie L. O’Neill is an artist, educator, disability studies researcher, and a graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, seeking individuals with identified invisible disabilities to participate in my MFA thesis project.
For clarity, The Invisible Disabilities Association categorizes this form of disability with symptoms such as “debilitating fatigue, pain, cognitive dysfunctions and mental disorders, as well as hearing and eyesight impairments.”
Her work intermixes methodologies of labanotation, a system of dance that analyzes human movement, and art-therapy to create sets of choreography inspired by symptoms of mental illness. As a mentally ill woman, creating systematized symbols to bodily represent my hidden disabilities has afforded her a sense of self-agency and a greater vernacular for communicating my needs to others. This thesis, which will culminate into a live performance and joint documentary, aims to bring together people with hidden disabilities in the Chicagoland area to not only explore their relationship with a disability but consider how collaborative voices can rupture societal stigmas and produce change.
Project Description
Still untitled, this project entails a series of workshops spanning from early February to mid-April. Once a week, we will meet as a group at the SAIC Columbus Building for a 2 to 3 hr. session with food and conversation, before collaboratively building choreography. This weekly session day will be finalized when all interested participants meet with me in January to discuss their schedules. After many weeks of working together, we will present a live performance at Zhou B Art Center on April 14th, 2019 for the SAIC MFA Impact Festival. A supplemental documentary comprised of our processes with select interviews by interested participants will also be screened.
Who Should Apply
This project welcomes all participants with self and/or clinically diagnosed invisible disabilities with no background in performance required. However, those interested should:
• Be willing to delve deep inside themselves to uncover truths and communicate with others about disability.
• Be open to exploring their relationship with movement and how it can represent their experiences.
• Be willing to be on camera and perform for a live audience.
If you are interested in participating, please send the following answers to Katie O’Neill at
1. How does disability affect and shape your daily life? Do you openly identify as having a disability?
2. Briefly, explain your curiosity for this project and what you seek to experience.
• Please list any accommodations you may need, including dietary restrictions. The space is accessible by elevator.
Final Notes
• O’Neill cannot offer compensation for your time or travel.
• SAIC’s Columbus location is close to public transportation and there is often parking available in front of the building.
*PLEASE* send your emailed answers with your name and forms of contact to by December 20th. I will be finalizing all submissions at the end of December and will begin reaching out to all interested participants in early January.
Katie L. O’Neill


On Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 5:12 PM Katie ONeill <> wrote:
Skip to content