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Deaf and Disability Arts Practices in Canada

February 20, 2021

The Research, Measurement and Data Analytics Section of the Canada Council for the Arts engaged the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and a research team to carry out a study on Deaf and disability arts practices in Canada. [1]


The results of the study derive from the researchers’ review of pertinent literature and interviews with artists and cultural workers. Their report offers a broad picture of Deaf artists and artists with disabilities in Canada, their artistic practices and latest innovations, and related findings concerning accessibility, equity, self-determination, and support.

Based on the experiences and viewpoints of the artists and cultural workers consulted, the report offers best practices to the arts sector grouped according to five major hurdles: funding; accessibility; cultural representation; communications; and equity, diversity and inclusion in cultural, artistic and media milieus.

Release of the research report and overview - Deaf and Disability Arts Practices in Canada – ASL Video

This video, presented entirely in ASL, announces the release of the report and the overview of the study Deaf and Disability Arts Practices in Canada.

For key findings, please refer to the downloadable Executive Summary and Report:

To avoid document formatting errors, it is recommended to download the documents using Google Chrome, instead of opening/reading them with Internet Explorer or Firefox. It is also recommended to use the most updated version of Adobe Reader.



Executive Summary (PDF 5.5 MB)



Report (PDF 15.1 MB)

Research goal

The study was launched to provide the Canada Council with up to date information about the practices of Deaf artists and artists with disabilities and the state of the Deaf and disability arts sector in Canada. The Council has made a long-standing commitment to supporting Deaf and disability arts communities.

Led by a team of researchers and artists who are Deaf, have disabilities, and are allies to these communities, this study also aimed to generate courses of action that could lead to the recognition, support and promotion of such practices.

Research philosophy

The following collaborative approaches were utilized for this study:

  • Participative and inclusive data collection methods
  • Consideration of the power dynamics between researchers, practitioners, and members of marginalized communities

This research project received ethics approval from the Institutional Ethics Committee on Research with Human Participants (or CIEREH, Comité Institutionnel d’Éthique de la Recherche avec des Êtres Humains) of UQAM.


85 artists and cultural workers took part in interviews and focus groups held in eight cities across Canada during the summer of 2018. Participants reflected a range of experiences and backgrounds (e.g. language, gender, ethnocultural backgrounds, age, fields of practice, etc.). The majority of participants (84%) were involved with one or more cultural or artistic organizations. The Canada Council for the Arts and the project research team would like to thank them for their participation and points of view which were vital to the project’s success.

Research team

Véro Leduc, Lead researcher
Department of Social and Public Communications
Université du Québec à Montréal

Mouloud Boukala, Co-researcher
Media School
Université du Québec à Montréal

Joëlle Rouleau, Co-researcher
Department of Art History and Film Studies
Université de Montréal

In collaboration with Olivier Angrignon-Girouard, Mélina Bernier, Shandi Bouscatier, Line Grenier, Carolyne Grimard, Sarah Heussaff, Aimée Louw, Élodie Marcelli, Ashley McAskill, Darren Saunders, Tamar Tembeck, and Catherine Théroux.

We invite you to read the report and contact the Research, Measurement and Data Analytics Section at research@canadacouncil.ca if you have questions.

[1] Deaf and disability arts include, but is not limited to, Deaf arts, disability arts, mad arts, integrated/mixed ability arts and practices involving artists with cognitive disabilities.




Methodology (PDF 100.9 KB)



Glossary (PDF 146.8 KB)



Bibliography (PDF 270.9 KB)