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What is Sick in Quarters? 

SIQ is a group of disabled artists, activists, and advocates for justice, working on efforts toward collective care together through the internet.


Who are the organizers?
Right now, there is a core team and a web of volunteers that work fully in collaboration with one another, as a collective that values the whole rather than individual ego. We choose to remain relatively anonymous for this reason. Our collective work adds up into a bigger picture that doesn’t benefit the ” I “, but holistic care instead : care for ourselves and fellow team members, care for our fellow community that we serve. We work creatively as a group with the understanding that our work is collaborative. We each serve a role to make resources and information accessible. 


How did you all meet?

We are a network of in-person and internet connections.


Where do you all live?

Right now we are primarily based in the US.


What was the reasoning behind deciding not to do a group interview? 

We declined a video call group interview on the basis of access needs for our group members. Additionally, written interview questions better serve our collective voice. This way we can intentionally collaborate on our responses via a shared Google Document in real time. 


How did you come up with the idea for SIQ?

SIQ began as a call-to-action when a friend and community member contracted COVID-19 and was having difficulty getting the care that they needed for a heart complication. We contacted journalists, local press and organizations in their area to apply pressure and gather resources. SIQ has since evolved and broadened based on community needs and current issues (i.e. need for protest resources, COVID safety, the ACA being under fire, etc.).


How does the business model of an art donation-based fundraiser Sick in Quarters work? 

Through donations; it’s more of a fundraising model than a business model.


How does SIQ organize as a group? Do you have specific roles?

We all co-work and contribute together, but we do have some specific roles - such as copywriting, graphics, social media management, research, finances and fundraising, etc. 


How do you organize across time zones? 

We use different online services such as scheduling helpers and task managers, so that everyone can be up to speed simultaneously, regardless of their time zone. We generally work together mid-day through the evening hours and communicate via texting or a voice channel on Discord. Sometimes we will have video meetings via Zoom or Discord if we’re all feeling up to it.


How did you get in touch with the artists that produced the work for the website?

We posted several open calls for art-based donations via our Instagram account, and provided a link to a Google Form that we asked artists to fill out for each of their submissions.


How did you choose artworks to be sold on Sick in Quarters’ website? (Did you do virtual studio visits or did people send work they thought would be suitable? Examples would be great)

We didn’t specifically curate the work and kept the submission process open to allow anyone interested to freely donate. Many other fundraisers are often exclusive, so it felt important to not restrict participation. We included all of the works that were submitted. There were conversations with some artists who couldn’t decide what to submit from their bodies of work, in which case we did assist in choosing which pieces would be a part of the fundraiser. 


How did the works “Designed for SIQ” get created?

Some artists reached out with an interest in designing and printing postcards, posters, or t-shirts specifically for SIQ as merchandise. Flying Saucer Press offered to help us with printing, which was huge. Rich, the owner/director, made the process easy and accessible for us.

How has SIQ been different from projects you have worked on before?

Everyone involved in SIQ has a deep respect and personal understanding of access needs and access intimacy. This is unlike any collaborative experience many of us have encountered before, even within the disability community. 


What does care mean to SIQ?

Care is a marker of so many things. For SIQ, the work we do goes beyond the projects we work on. We all uplift each other and create a foundation where everyone feels heard and supported. When one member falls, another is there to bring them back up. This closeness we all have we strive to bring to the community as a whole.


How does being sick, chronically ill, or disabled necessitate care?

We all have different access needs and we deserve to be loved and feel safe. Especially during this time within a pandemic where the disabled community is so often forgotten. We must rely on each other.


How does disability justice intersect with racial justice?

Disability is inherently colonial—it is not fundamentally an issue of medicine or health, nor just an issue of sensitivity or compassion; rather it is an issue of politics and power(lessness), power over, and power to. Transformation is direly needed in order to address the field’s previous erasure of BIPOC experience, racial hierarchies, policing points of view, and moments of careerism over coalition. Intersectional perspectives and efforts are essential towards rewriting disability as a social condition, rather than a social identity.  


Why did SIQ redirect funds to “organizations and individuals working to provide resources for Black and intersectionally marginalized community members?”

Initially, our fundraising efforts were directed towards a community member who contracted COVID and was enduring heart complications. As racial justice uprisings spread and evolved throughout the Spring and Summer months, we (including the community member we were originally fundraising for) decided to shift our focus from an individual basis to something much larger. There is a need for intersectional activism within the disability community and we want to push that forward. 


What are the alternative methods that SIQ provides support for these community members beyond monetary aid? (specified on the website as “material support?”)

Right now, emotional support and resource mobilization / curation for peers in crisis. With funding, this will expand to include more tangible means. 


Why have there been so many mutual aid artist projects since the pandemic? 

When a community knows how to monetize their art in a general sense, it seems logical to use that knowledge to organize, mobilize, and help people, especially in times of crisis. Many community-based artists already exist within mutual aid systems: giving and receiving aid for medical care, transportation, housing, and food. We know that this type of community care works. 


What could be misinterpreted as a result of the coronavirus that chronically ill and disabled people have already had to deal with?

Chronically ill and disabled people deal with a range of symptoms and differ for each person. Chronic fatigue, chronic body pain, fevers, heart complications, chronic respiratory exacerbations, organ damage, organ failure, neurological fatigue/fog, frequent hospitalizations, isolation, wearing masks, and much more are daily things disabled and chronically ill people have been and continue to go through before and beyond COVID-19. Everyone deals with different symptoms, not limited to this small list. 


Practically any symptom or effect as a result of COVID-19 could also be what a chronically ill and/or disabled person face daily, and contracting COVID-19 on top of existing symptoms can be and continues to be deadly. 


Chronically ill and disabled people are already so affected by isolation, which has been greatly heightened by the pandemic. There seems to be a misunderstanding with this - we do want to see our friends and families, to interact with the world the way we did before, but this continues to be pushed back by able-bodied people going to large unnecessary gatherings and therefore spreading the virus.


Have you (individuals) maintained an art practice since the pandemic? 

Yes and no. Trying hard to keep our community and friends alive, and to stay alive ourselves, is consuming most of our time. 


Have you noticed any changes in the works that have been made since the pandemic? Or how have practices changed since the pandemic? 

Yes and no. Some people have had to adapt their practices based on spatial and financial limitations, whereas others seem to be flourishing under quarantine conditions. It really seems to vary based on each person’s art practice and how it engages with community or not.


Did individual organizers donate their own work to SIQ? What did you donate?

Patty donated a t-shirt design to our “Designed for SIQ” merch. We all donated our time and effort to build the site and manage the fundraiser.

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