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Intersection of disability and environmental justice

On Nov. 14, the Digital Matters Lab at the J. Willard Marriott Library will host “Embodied Ecologies,” a collaborative exhibition focused on disability, environmental health and community care practices in Salt Lake City. Rooted in a partnership between the Environmental Humanities graduate program housed in the College of Humanities at the University of Utah and Art Access, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing accessibility in the arts, the “Embodied Ecologies” installation will bring together the work of seven U affiliated artists working in sculpture, poetry, textile, paint, film and mixed media.

The driving force behind “Embodied Ecologies” is environmental humanities graduate student Natalie Slater who has been recognized as both an Andrew W. Mellon Community Fellow and Digital Matters Spring 2023 Fellow. Working together with Art Access, Slater put out a call for local artists with shared experiences of disability and health challenges to contribute to an exhibition focused on environmental justice. As a group, they came up with the idea of installation and identified key themes of kinship, water and weaving. The centerpiece of the exhibition is “Woven Lake,” which represents the rapidly declining water levels of the Great Salt Lake, threatening the health and well-being of Salt Lake City and the surrounding area.

“The ultimate goal of the installation is to open dialogue about the intersection of disability and environmental justice,” said Slater. “Engaging with environmental stories that center disabled experiences can help us imagine responses to climate change based on principles of community care, equity and resilience.”

“Embodied Ecologies”

Nov. 14-28 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. | Monday-Friday
Digital Matters Lab

Nov. 17 | 12-2 p.m.
The lab will host a public event with the artists discussing their works.