Juicy Refuge – Access / Intimacy
Jeanette Chedda, Mira Thompson, Staci Bu Shea

Access / Intimacy approaches accessibility not as a protocol, rule or law, but as a potential to create and host intimate spaces. Intimacy shapes accessibility, accessibility shapes intimacy. What is an ableist world missing out on, because of the exclusion of disabled people, but also because of its negation of crip knowledge, crip experience and intimacy? Access / Intimacy echoes disability justice activist Mia Mingus’ term access intimacy, referring to the “elusive, hard-to-describe feeling when someone else gets your access needs,” but the / also breaks it apart, underlining the ways in which we are not yet accessible, not yet intimate.

Singer and disability activist Mira Thompson and curator and death companion Staci Bu Shea sext/fantasize about entering the Rietveld Academie together. In A lifetime of inaccessibility and the violent effects on bonding and intimacy, model and accessibility activist Jeanette Chedda shares how daily architectures obstruct her from experiencing intimacy and touch.

Mira Thompson is a singer/songwriter, teacher and researcher. Her music choices are ones which contain a narrative and sometimes have a strong visual component. The aspect of language is especially important to her music. She is interested in the effect of sound on the listener. For example, she has even used the sounds of her wheelchair in her music.As a researcher, Mira also writes on the subjects of disability issues and disability justice. As a teacher she seeks to combine her background in singing with topics such as accessibility in the arts, intersectionality and disability justice.

Staci Bu Shea is a curator, writer, and death companion based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Broadly, Bu Shea focuses on aesthetic and poetic practices of social reproduction and care work, as well as its manifestations in interpersonal relationships and daily life, community organizing and institutional practice. Their long-term, transdisciplinary project Dying Livingly looks at the architecture and communal life of hospice and highlights emergent cultures of end of life care. Bu Shea was curator at Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons (Utrecht, 2017-2022). With Carmel Curtis, they co-curated Barbara Hammer: Evidentiary Bodies at Leslie Lohman Museum of Art (New York City, 2017).
Photo description: A white non binary person is in a green burial forest on a sunny day, smiling at an angle while looking off into the distance. They have short brown hair and they’re wearing sunglasses, a light pink short sleeve collared shirt, unbuttoned and opened, with a beige undershirt.

Jeanette Chedda is a disability advocate, speaker and model who represents the rolemodel she needed growing up. You can’t be what you can’t see is one of her favorite quotes. And representation matters is what she lives. With her presence in magazines, politics and activism she blows away the hetero cis, male, skinny, tall and able bodied standard. And that’s long overdue. Especially in The Netherlands.