How are pandemic-related shifts toward remote participation reliant upon the undocumented labors of disability communities? In mainstream culture, remote participation was often denied to disabled people until the pandemic made these accommodations necessary for most people. Yet historically, disability communities formed through new technologies and media: newsletters and phone trees connecting the post-polio community, which shared tips for making homes more accessible and later, the use of internet listservs to create Autistic community. During the pandemic, many disabled people quickly adapted by turning to technological tools already honed by disability culture, including online activist meetings, parties, conferences, and file sharing. Remote Access: a digital archive will document disabled communities’ relational, aesthetic, and political uses of remote technologies. It will show that many of the same technologies used widely during the pandemic were developed through disability ingenuity, resourcefulness, and experimentation.
Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University