The Oral Histories
We began the exhibit with a commitment to share the story of 504 by highlighting the unsung heroes and lesser-known tales from inside. After spreading the word through disability organizations, church groups, local press, and word of mouth, we found forty participants willing to talk with us as part of an oral history project that enlisted San Francisco State University students in journalism and history. The exhibit films are based on sound bites from these extensive conversations. Due to technical restraints and other factors, not all of the interviewees can be seen in the videos featured in the exhibit, but we made an effort to include as many participants as we could. The “Patient No More” website will include full interviews and transcripts in the future.
Some additional information about the interviewees:
- Not all of the 40 interviewees were present at the 504 protest; three were included because they came to the Bay Area shortly afterward and had interesting perspectives on the climate post-504.
- 82.5% of the interviewees identify as white; 17.5% as people of color, a breakdown which, according to our sources, falls short of participation at the time (estimated 20% people of color).
- It is difficult to offer exact numbers for interviewees' disability status, since some had overlapping disabilities while others became disabled since 1977. But roughly, our sample looked like this: 42.5% of the interviewees identify primarily as a person who is mobility impaired; 27.5% nondisabled allies; 10% blind; 10% live with an invisible disabilities (including ADHD, multiple chemical sensitivity, depression, dyslexia, and other impairments); 5% cognitively disabled; and 5% Deaf
- 21 of the interviewees were women; 19 were men; 0 identified as transgendered or genderqueer.
- As we researched names of recommended names of 504 participants, we discovered that many participants have passed away, a harsh reality related to the economic and health disparities of living with disabilities and the tolls exerted by activism.
The Longmore Institute drafted and redrafted and re-redrafted the text of the exhibit based on feedback from 504 participants and our humanities advisors. We followed the Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) policy of using plain language, also called accessible language, for all our writing. However, the exhibit only tells a small portion of the incredible and complex 504 story. See our resources page for additional opportunities to learn about 504 history. And if you’re interested in learning more about our choice to focus on the 504 occupation (a 1977 event) in order to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990, read this blog from our director Catherine Kudlick.
Exhibit Design and Accessibility
Beginning with the initial planning, we approached our Patient No More exhibit as an opportunity to be creative. We wanted visitors with different disabilities to get as much as possible out of their experience. And now, thanks to these access features, we hope that everyone will be able to discover something new, whether you need them or not. The Longmore Institute worked with SFSU Design and Industry Professors Pino Trogu (structures) and Silvan Linn (interactive technology) to come up with a basic layout to meet a series of complex challenges: multiple forms of accessibility, filling open space in a building with several public entrances that served an unusually diverse set of visitors, and the need for structures that could be removed when the Ed Roberts Campus hosted other events. Our curator Fran Osborne, who came to us with experience in the UK creating exhibits that incorporated nonvisual modes of access, also served as our graphic designer. Throughout all stages, interns from SF State's Design and Industry and Museum Studies departments, gained first-hand experience with universal design and competing accommodations.
Feedback from disability communities played an essential role developing our access features. We hosted a day-long access "charrette" (feedback workshop) in January 2014 with people from different disability groups to learn about their previous frustrations with exhibits and seek their guidance moving forward. In addition, as our design progressed, we prototyped various elements at the Ed Roberts Campus, the Silicon Valley Disability Pride Day, and at SFSU’s Disabled Programs and Resource Center.
Once we fully dove into the reality of competing accommodations, we had to move past the utopian desire that every function of the exhibit could be accessible to everyone all the time. Instead, we sought to balance the competing accommodations and ensure that everyone who comes to the exhibit has a rich experience, one that can be reached in different ways by different bodies.
We invite nondisabled people to take advantage of the access features as well. Like the curb cuts for wheelchair users that now help parents with strollers, bike riders, and skateboarders, these innovations will have unintended benefits for everyone.
The Exhibition Team
Catherine J. Kudlick - Director
After more than two decades at the University of California at Davis, Catherine Kudlick was delighted to join San Francisco State as Professor of History in Fall 2012 to assume directorship of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability. Click here to read her full bio and view her CV.
Emily Smith Beitiks - Assistant Director
Emily Smith Beitiks received a PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota in April 2012. Emily's dissertation, "Building the Normal Body: Disability and the Techno-Makeover Industry," looks to integrate Disability Studies and Science and Technology Studies into American Studies. She became the assistant director of the Longmore Institute in 2012. Click here to read her full bio and view her CV.
Fran Osborne - Curator and Graphic Designer
Fran Osborne has a BA (Hons) in Typography & Graphic Communication from Reading University in England and an MA in Museum Studies from SF State University. She has a special interest in bi or multilingual interpretation in museums and other cultural facilities and has international experience in Arabic speaking countries. Based in California, she is currently volunteering at SFMoMA and SFOpera. Recently, she was the curator of DIS/PLAY: A Disability Take-Over Show By Artists With, and Without, an exhibit featured at SOMArts in San Francisco.
Pino Trogu - Exhibit Structures Designer
Pino Trogu was born in Sardinia, Italy. He received a Diploma in Industrial Design from Istituto Statale d’Arte in Oristano, Italy, Bachelor of FIne Arts from Istituto Superiore Industrie Artistiche in Urbino, Italy, and Master of Fine Arts in Rhode Island School of Design. He has been an Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University since 2007, teaching information design, exhibit design and drawing. He considers himself a generalist who loves digital and analog.
Silvan Linn - Exhibit Technology Designer
Silvan Linn received a BID from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada working on the design of smart assistive medical devices, and later an MSD from Arizona State University studying slow technology and new theories of human-machine interfaces. His research interests include advanced rapid prototyping techniques, local-scale manufacturing and product development, new human-machine interface concepts, smart products and embedded technologies.
Tim Kerbavaz - Exhibit Media Technology Consultant
Tim Kerbavaz has been working in museums and AV technology since 2006, getting his start in museums at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland. Tim is the owner of Talon Entertainment, a Davis, CA based Audio/Visual company. More information about Talon Entertainment's services is available at http://www.talonent.com and more information about Tim is available at http://www.kerbavaz.com.
Sachi Cunningham - Filmmaker of "Welcome To Patient No More" and "What Would Make You Patient No More?"
Sachi Cunningham is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Brown University, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Multimedia Journalism at San Francisco State University. Her visual storytelling work spans two decades of working on feature films and commercial productions in New York, Tokyo and Hollywood, and working on the staffs of the Los Angeles Times and the PBS news documentary series FRONTLINE and Frontline / World. Her current work focuses on documentary filmmaking about disability and the ocean environment
Hang Cheng - Film editor
Hang Cheng is a freelance photojournalist and photographer. He has accumulated years of experience in photojournalism and photography. With a Bachelors degree in Photojournalism, which he received from San Francisco State University, Hang Cheng has working experience in multiple fields of work: newspaper publication, digital video production and documentary film production. He has been working with the Patient No More exhibit as the primary video editor.
Richard Ortiz - Structures designer
Richard Ortiz is an Instructional Support Technician for the department of Design and Industry at San Francisco State University.
Gizmo Art Production - Exhibit Fabricators
Gizmo is a creative company dedicated to designing and building interactive objects and unique environments that astonish, educate, and inspire. Partnering with their clients, they take ideas from any phase of development and bring them to physical reality. They serve artists, companies, and the educational community by bringing ideas to life, tackling each challenge with optimism and an open mind.
They make gizmos, and have fun in the process! Visit http://www.gizmosf.com/ to learn more.
Whether he's keynoting the Trans Health Conference or walking across the United States for peace, helping organize the first-ever Queerness and Disability Conference or facilitating an anti-ableism training; Eli brings a poet's passion for language and an activist's passion for social justice to his work. Visit Eli's website to learn more: http://eliclare.com/
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samrasinha
She is the co-founder of Mangos With Chili, North America's touring queer and trans people of color cabaret, a lead artist with the disability justice incubator Sins Invalid and co-founder of Toronto's Asian Arts Freedom School. In 2010 she was named one of the Feminist Press' 40 Feminists Under 40 Shaping the Future and she is a 2013 Autostraddle Hot 105 member. She organized the successful 2014 Healing Justice for Black Lives Matter action which raised $28,000 for Black Lives Matter through community based healing justice spaces. Her next book of poetry, Bodymap and first memoir, Dirty River, will be published in 2015. Visit Leah's website to learn more: http://www.brownstargirl.org/