• A Festival of Ideas
  • May 2 - 5, 2024
  • Guelph

The radical potential of ekphrasis for Blackness, Access, and Magic

Sunday, January 29, 2023; 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Aislinn Thomas (Cape Breton), Derrais Carter (Arizona), and Erin Honeycutt (Berlin)

Facilitated by Anna Bowen, with an embodied opening by Katie Ewald

The term “ekphrasis” refers to the practice of describing artwork, for example a poetic description of a painting. Ekphrasis is known for its potential to augment a work—in translating the original artwork, a collaboration emerges which can potentially contribute to revealing an artwork’s essence.

Cape Breton-based disability advocate and social practice artist Aislinn Thomas, Berlin-based writer Erin Honeycutt, and Big Ideas lecturer Derrais Carter come together to discuss how the practice of describing artwork forms an intimate part of their distinct practices and communities—be they Disability arts communities and the pleasure of audio description, Black communities and multiple ekphrastic descriptions of the iconic painting The Sugar Shack, or communities of poets and the “image magic” of writing that Honeycutt discusses in her book Sensible Structures. Come listen together and lounge with us as we investigate the connections between these artists. Blankets and pillows are welcome and lounging encouraged if that helps you feel comfortable.

This event will be a fragrance-reduced space. We ask participants to refrain from wearing perfume or cologne. If possible we request that guests who smoke leave their coats at the coat check. Refreshments will be served.

This event will feature ASL interpretation and live transcription. The River Run Centre is a physically accessible venue. More accessibility information can be found on our General Accessibility Statement.


River Run Centre,
Woolwich Street,
Guelph, ON.