Able’s premier

Ben Jennings, ArtSci ’13 (left) and Daniella Dávila ArtSci ArtSci ’11 (right) say they are currently looking for an editorial staff for Able.
Ben Jennings, ArtSci ’13 (left) and Daniella Dávila ArtSci ArtSci ’11 (right) say they are currently looking for an editorial staff for Able.

The Social Issues Commission (SIC) has created a new magazine that will address misrepresentations of ability through various forms of visual and written art.

Able will be added to SIC’s four existing annual publications, The Feminist Review, Outwrite, Headsup and cultureSHOCK. All publications address issues concerning marginalized issues through a magazine format.

Founder and Chair of Able, Ben Jennings, developed the idea for the magazine when working on a zine about ability issues over the summer.

“The community I am in is one in which people get their message out through zines, and I thought this would be a good format to express my message,” Jennings, ArtSci ’13, said.

Zines are small-circulation, self-published productions that focus on specific social issues, Jennings said. He had been trying to contact people to contribute to the project when AMS Social Issues Commissioner Daniella Dávila, contacted him about creating a campus publication that would promote awareness about ability issues on campus. “I wanted to get Ben’s zine to become an actual publication to make it a lot more accessible to the student population,” Dávila, ArtSci ’11 said.

“Able’s mandate is to demonstrate the intersections between abilities and other types of identities and marginalization,” she said. “We want to make the university aware of the systematic problems that exist.”

At the Sept. 16 AMS Assembly, the policy for Able was presented and approved. A budget has been created for the magazine, and the funding will come from the AMS Assembly’s allocation, Dávila said, adding that the team’s next step is to get the word out about recruiting for Able.

Applications are being accepted for committee positions which will make up the editorial board of the magazine. Jennings said he hopes the magazine will fill a void on campus in terms of advocating for ability issues.

“There are socially acceptable and unacceptable aspects of ability issues that people want to talk about. A lot is being left out of the conversation that I want to get in the magazine,” he said. “People are very ready to talk about structural accessibility of buildings but they don’t want to talk about the personal aspect.” Able will be in the same format as the SIC’s existing magazines, Jennings said, adding that he’s looking for contributors to submit art, poems, pictures and reviews of books or films that focus on ability issues.

He said that while everyone is encouraged to contribute, Able’s mandate states that priority will be given to those who identify as having disabilities or impairments, though self-identification is not a requirement.

Though still in the planning process, Jennings hopes to work with Accessibility Queen’s and other campus committees that deal with ability issues to help organize events for Able.

“I’ve have a lot of people expressing interest so far and asking how to apply. People are starting to know its happening,” Jennings said.

Able will be published in March 2011 along with the SIC’s other publications.

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