Elizabeth Spehar

Stories of Wisdom from Bodies in Separation (SWaBS):
Archiving the Coronavirus Pandemic Through the Lens of Humanities


Integration: Hopes for an Interabled Future
Elizabeth Spehar

cover page for "Integration", a figure holding a robotic arm emerges from a blue background

This is a multimedia project created by Elizabeth Spehar featuring photographs, paintings, drawings, and text. Their nonfiction writing includes journal entries, personal reflections, explanations, descriptions, and philosophical explorations. Elizabeth shares their personal story through multiple themes and topics related to the “bodymind” including: the awakening of body and mind through bicycling on gravel roads and on the Willard Munger State Trail; the impacts of the statewide shut down and COVID-19 on activity; pandemic related interruptions to supply chains and high demand for bicycles in spring and summer of 2020; living with a genetic disorder called OI, osteogenesis imperfecta; reflections on isolation, participation, and self compassion; suffering an injury, going to the emergency room, and having foot surgery during the time of COVID-19; experiencing mental health and relationship struggles during the isolation of recovery; reflecting on their personal healing journey before and during the pandemic; sharing this journey with their partner, Cait; exploring issues of justice and injustice including disability justice; challenging the ideas of “abled” and disabled; reimagining of self as integrated and whole while playfully using the idea of visioning herself as a cyborg, with drawings and descriptions of the “tools of a cyborg”; and closing with “Hopes for an Interabled Future”, questioning whether and hoping that we may all emerge from this pandemic experience with more empathy, inclusivity, and justice for each and every body. In Elizabeth’s own words, their goal for this creative project is “to depict the high/low-points I've experienced and to share the most meaningful/significant insights I've had over this 5-month stretch of my ongoing health journey. I share some of the back story of my health journey, what it has looked like during the pandemic/how it’s been influenced by the pandemic, and where I'm hoping to go next.” 



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Stories of Wisdom from Bodies in Separation (SWaBS): Archiving the Coronavirus Pandemic Through the Lens of Humanities has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

To see the full interviews
and media for this project

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