On the fringe of the Fringe

Artmaking, access, rights, and community

Authored by: Brian Lobel , Jess Thom

The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture, and Media

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9780815368410
eBook ISBN: 9781351254687
Adobe ISBN:


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The Edinburgh Fringe is a particular beast. Every year, thousands of hopeful artists make their way to the world’s largest open access festival to try to become the ‘next big thing.’ They come with their flyers, sleep in their eight-to-a-room overpriced August sublet, draw on all their enthusiasm to see as many shows as they can… and some even make a buck or two. There are any number of think pieces and Twitter conversations about the inaccessibility of the world’s largest open access festival from an economic perspective – the horribly imbalanced deals between artists and venues, the increased price of housing in Edinburgh in August, the sheer number of shows that are demanding for limited media and audience (Youngs 2013; Gardner 2017; Mulholland 2017). However, as we hope the following interview will reveal, a conversation about accessibility – from a disability perspective – at the Fringe may start as a conversation about artmaking, but may seemingly and inevitably become a much more far-reaching conversation about rights, comfort, discomfort, and what it means to be part of a community.

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