Petra Kuppers

Petra Kuppers

Fellow: Awarded 2023
Field of Study: Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Competition: US & Canada

Petra Kuppers (she/her) is a community performance artist, a disability culture activist, a wheelchair dancer, and a writer. She uses social somatics, performance, and speculative writing to engage audiences toward more socially just and enjoyable futures. She has been engaged in community dance and participatory performance since the 80s. Her creative and critical work has been influential in the development of international disability culture aesthetics. She is Artistic Director of The Olimpias, an international disability culture collective, and codirects Turtle Disco, a somatic writing studio. Her first book was Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge (2003). Other books include The Scar of Visibility: Medical Performance and Contemporary Art (2007), Disability Culture and Community Performance (2011), and Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters (2022). Her third performance poetry collection, Gut Botany, was named one of the top ten US poetry books of 2020 by the New York Public Library and won the 2022 Creative Book Award by the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. Petra is the Anita Gonzalez Collegiate Professor of Performance Studies and Disability Culture at the University of Michigan, and an adviser on the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College.

Photo Credit: Tamara Wade

Scroll to Top