Performance Poetry as a Method to Understand Disability

Lee-Ann Fenge, Caroline Hodges, Wendy Cutts


The Seen but Seldom Heard project was a performative social science (PSS) project which used performance poetry to illuminate the experiences of young people with physical impairments. Two performance poets, a group of young people with physical impairments, and academics from social science and media/communication backgrounds worked together to explore various aspects of the lived experience of disability exploring issues associated with identity, stereotypes, stigma and representation. In this article, we will present an overview of the project and consider how PSS offers a method to engage seldom heard voices, and illustrate this through two poems which shed light on the lived experience of disability. The article will consider the impact of these poems as PSS, and how this method allows the audience to develop a deeper understanding of the "lived" experience of disability and to reflect upon their own understandings of disability and discrimination.



performative social science; youth; disability; seldom heard; performance poetry

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Copyright (c) 2016 Lee-Ann Fenge

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