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Conversations at the Edge (CATE) Resource Guides

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This page contains links to articles, interviews, and videos that can be incorporated into your syllabus in preparation for an event or afterward for post-event discussion and research. Go to for detailed event information.

Liza Sylvestre and Christopher Jones: The Blue Description Project
Thursday, February 15, 6:00 p.m. CT
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.

Please note that All CATE events will have real-time captioning (CART). Hearing loops, wheelchair seating, and companion seating are also available at the Gene Siskel Film Center. For other accessibility requests, please visit or write


In 1993, the British artist Derek Jarman released Blue, an epoch-defining account of AIDS, illness, and the experience of disability in a culture of repressive heteronormativity and compulsory able-bodiedness. Despite being referred to as a feature film, Blue was also simulcast on television and radio, released as a CD, and published as a book, creating many different ways to experience the work. The Blue Description Project, conceived by artists and writers Liza Sylvestre and Christopher Jones, builds on the multifaceted nature of Blue through newly commissioned and expansive accessibility. Reflecting Blue’s standing as a foundational work of Crip art, the project challenges ableist hierarchies in art while focusing on the generative possibilities of difference and interdependence. Sylvestre and Jones will join us for an extended conversation about the project afterward. 

The Blue Description Project is produced by Crip*—Cripistemology and the Arts, a transdisciplinary initiative in the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in partnership with Sarah Hayden and the Voices in the Gallery research initiative at the University of Southampton. 


Liza Sylvestre is a multimedia artist and research assistant professor within the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she has co-founded the initiative Crip*—Cripistemology and the Arts. Her work has been shown internationally, including the Plains Art Museum (Fargo), Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis), John Hansard Gallery (Southampton), ARGOS (Brussels), and Museum für Moderne Kunst (Frankfurt). Sylvestre has been the recipient of both an Artists Initiative and Arts Learning grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, a fellowship through Art(ists) on the Verge, a VSA Jerome Emerging Artist Grant, an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship, and a fellowship from the Joan Mitchell Foundation. She has been artist-in-residence at the Weisman Art Museum and the Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science. In 2019, she received a Citizens Advocate Award from the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing. Sylvestre’s work has been written about in numerous publications and books including Art in America, Mousse Magazine, Ocula Magazine, Art Monthly, and SciArt Magazine.

Christopher Robert Jones is an artist and writer based in Illinois. Their research revolves around the “failure” or “malfunctioning” of the body and how those experiences are situated at points of intersection between Queer and Crip discourses. They are a regular contributor to Art Papers magazine and their work has recently been exhibited at the Krannert Art Museum, Gallery 400, and the Weisman Art Museum. Jones is the co-founder of Crip*—Cripistemology and the Arts, a transdisciplinary initiative that is housed within the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where they are also a research assistant professor.


Liza Sylvestre [Article]
Nguyen, Minh | Art in America Vol. 107 (8) | p. 20 | 2019


Blue [Chapter]
Wollen, Peter | in Paris/Manhattan: Writings on Art | New York: Verso | 2004


Blue Cripistemologies: In and Around Derek Jarman [Article]
Jones, Christopher Robert | Art Papers | Summer 2021




Voices in the Gallery

This Set of Actions is a Mirror: Discussion with Dustin Gibson, Robert McRuer, and Liza Sylvestre [Video]*
Dustin Gibson, Robert, McRuer, Liza Sylvestre, Minh Nguyen, and Amy Beste, Amy
School of the Art Institute of Chicago | “Conversations at the Edge” | 2021
*This is a Flaxman Library Resource that requires ARTIC Login

Conversations at the Edge Lecture Recordings
Conversation at the Edge video recordings (2016–present.) Available with SAIC login credentials.