This article is a reflection by the authors on the impact that their identities as disabled women have had on their ongoing music careers. Skinner and Kapuscinski-Evans make up two-thirds of the Australian crip-folk trio, the Bearbrass Asylum Orchestra (the term “crip” is a cultural reappropriation of “cripple”). The Bearbrass Asylum Orchestra is a band that performs as part of the Disability Music Scene in Melbourne, Australia, using folk music to portray their experiences as people with disabilities. In this article Skinner and Kapuscinski-Evans discuss the formation of and philosophy behind the band, as well as the impact that growing up as disabled women had on their musical education, careers, and influences.
Facilitate This! Reflections from Disabled Women in Popular Music
Anthea Skinner has a Ph.D. in musicology from Monash University and currently works as a research associate on the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne. Her main research interests are disability music culture, military music and organology. Skinner is also a qualified archivist and previously worked as a journalist for disability media outlets, including Link Disability Magazine and the ABC’s Ramp Up. She is the secretary of the International Council of Traditional Music’s Study-Group-in-the-Making on Indigenous Music and Dance, and the access and equity officer of the Musicological Society of Australia. Skinner also plays percussion in the Bearbrass Asylum Orchestra.
Jess Kapuscinski-Evans is a theater maker, sings with crip folk trio the Bearbrass Asylum Orchestra, and recently formed The Waiting Room Arts Company, which commissions disability-led artistic projects by emerging artists in a range of disciplines. She won a joint Green Room Award this year for best performer in Contemporary and Experimental Performance and has presented work at the National Play Festival, the Emerging Writers Festival and Melbourne Fringe Festival. She enjoys playing with existing texts, music and pop culture references, and using them to create new and interesting stories about experiences of disability.
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Anthea Skinner, Jess Kapuscinski-Evans; Facilitate This! Reflections from Disabled Women in Popular Music. Journal of Popular Music Studies 1 June 2021; 33 (2): 3–14. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jpms.2021.33.2.3
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