Showing posts from May, 2022

Disability stories from skeletons

By Stephanie Evelyn-Wright In June 2014, I attended a performance of ‘ Cabinet of Curiosities : how disability was kept in a box’. This show explored the ways in which disability and disabled people are portrayed in museums (School of Museum Studies 2022).  However, the skeletons of actual disabled people were omitted.  I asked the show’s performer – the disabled actor Mat Fraser – about this, and he told me that he was interested in disability as a social construct, but not as a ‘medical condition’. Fraser’s attitude is an example of the social model of disability, which holds that it is not a disabled person’s medical condition which causes problems, but the failure of the society in which that person lives to accommodate him or her. This is, however, an unhelpfully narrow view, for skeletons are continually shaped by the world - for instance a person’s diet and occupation can leave osteological traces which attests to their lived social world. Disabled people’s remains are frequentl