Gendered Re-Presentations of Disability

Two new commissions interrogating gendered representations of para-athletes.

A bus shelter in front of a high-rise block of flats, with an advert for Channel 4's Paralympic coverage. In bold black type on a yellow background it reds 'It's Rude Not to Stare', along with the Channel 4 logo. The bus stop sign contains the traditional

(Photo credit: Laura Purseglove)

Radar has commissioned artists Sophie Hoyle and Christopher Samuel to make new work as part of 'Gendered re-presentations of disability: Equality, empowerment and marginalisation in Paralympic media', an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project led by Emma Pullen, Lecturer in Sport Management in Loughborough University's School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. 

The project uses an intersectional approach to interrogate the dominance of particular kinds of disabled bodies (white, physically athletic, technologically enhanced) in Paralympic media cultures; and seeks to generate new insights into re-representations of gendered, raced and queer disabled subjectivities. 

Hoyle and Samuel's practices explore and call into being politicized modes of disabled subjectivity as they intersect with processes of racialization, class, queerness and gender. Their works for this project will take as their starting point data collected by Pullen, along with the project's Research Associate Laura Mora. This consists of analyses of media coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics (held in 2021), interviews with para athletes, and focus groups with disabled people. The works will first be shown at an event at Loughborough University London in late summer 2022, alongside the launch of the project's summary report.


Producer: Laura Purseglove
Production assistance: David Bell
Academic partners: Dr Emma Pullen, Dr Laura Mora

Sophie Hoyle is an artist and writer whose practice explores an intersectional approach to post-colonial, queer, feminist, critical psychiatry and disability issues. Their work looks at the relation of the personal to (and as) political, individual and collective anxieties, and how alliances can be formed where different kinds of inequality and marginalisation intersect. They relate personal experiences of being queer, non-binary and part of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) diaspora to wider forms of structural violence. From lived experience of psychiatric conditions and trauma, or PTSD, they began to explore the history of biomedical technologies rooted in state and military surveillance and control.

Christopher Samuel is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice is rooted in identity and disability politics, often echoing the many facets of his own lived experience. Seeking to interrogate his personal understanding of identity as a disabled person impacted by inequality and marginalisation, Christopher responds with urgency, humour, and poetic subversiveness within his work. This approach makes his work accessible to a wider audience, allowing others to identify and relate to a wider spectrum of human experience.