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Upcoming exhibit at Kent State Museum explores assistive technologies in fashion context

Published: July 23, 2016 12:00 AM
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The Kent State University Museum will offer a fresh, design-focused survey of assistive and adaptive devices in an upcoming exhibition. "(dis)ABLED BEAUTY: The Evolution of Beauty, Disability and Ability" runs July 29 to March 12, 2017, in the museum's Stager and Blum Galleries.

The exhibit is co-curated by Tameka Ellington, Ph.D., assistant professor of fashion design at Kent State, and Stacey Lim, Au.D., Ph.D., CCC-A, assistant professor of audiology at Central Michigan University.

There also will be a free reception Sept. 29, from 5 to 7 p.m., including remarks by Kent State's Amy Quillin, Ph.D., Kent State's director of Student Accessibility Services, at 6 p.m. Call 330-672-0300 to RSVP. The reception precedes the start of the university's disAbility Awareness Month in October.

"(dis)ABLED BEAUTY" examines the aesthetic results of a historical reversal. In the past, assistive technologies were designed to be inconspicuous, a byproduct of the intense stigma attached to disability. Franklin D. Roosevelt famously shielded his use of a wheelchair and other devices from the public eye. However, in recent decades, fashionable and highly visible assistive technologies have been used to stand out, make a statement and challenge stigma.

"(dis)ABLED BEAUTY" traces the rich intersections between design, technology and adaptation, supporting the case advanced by actor-playwright and advocate Neil Marcus: "Disability is not a brave struggle or 'courage in the face of adversity.' Disability is an art. It's an ingenious way to live."

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Museum information

The Kent State University Museum is at 515 Hilltop Drive, at the corner of East Main Street and South Lincoln St. in Kent. For more information, call 330-672-3450 or visit www.kent.edu/museum.

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