This summer marked the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a turning point in the history of disability rights. During her years of writing, art, design, and research, Sara Hendren (Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Fellow ’18) has found the field of disability studies a rich and deep world to explore.
“And in the course of all of those years of both writing and making, I met all of these people, doing all of this other design work of their own. And I thought, people need to hear these, as stories.”
She has collected many of those stories in the book What Can a Body Do?: How We Meet the Built World, published in August by Riverhead/Penguin Random House.
In this audio clip, Hendren reads a section from What Can a Body Do?. She also discusses what drove her to write the book and to make the field of disability studies the focus of her energy and vision.
Listen to Sara Hendren. Read a transcript.
Sara Hendren is a 2018 recipient of the Mass Cultural Council Fellowship in Fiction/Creative Nonfiction and the author of What Can a Body Do?: How We Meet the Built World. She is an artist, design researcher, and writer who teaches design for disability at Olin College of Engineering. Her work has been exhibited widely and is held in the permanent collections of MoMA and the Cooper Hewitt museum; her writing and design work have been featured in The New York Times and Fast Company and on NPR. Hendren has been a fellow at New America and the Carey Institute for Global Good.
Image: Cover art for WHAT CAN A BODY DO?: HOW WE MEET THE BUILT WORLD by Sara Hendren (Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Fellow ’18), published by Penguin Random House August 2020 (author photo of by Freddie Hendren Funck).