Simi Linton

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Simi Linton
Alma materNYU
Columbia University
Scientific career
FieldsDisability Studies

Simi Linton is an arts consultant, author, filmmaker, and activist. Her work focuses on Disability Arts, Disability Studies, and ways that Disability Rights and Disability Justice perspectives can be brought to bear on the arts.


Simi Linton was born in New York City in 1947 to Edward Chaiken and Augusta Longwill Chaiken. She is a New Yorker to this day, and lives in the neighborhood where she grew up and went to school.

Linton holds an undergraduate degree from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from New York University. Linton is married to David Linton, author and professor emeritus at Marymount Manhattan College.


Linton was on the faculty at the City University of New York (CUNY) from 1985–1998, was Co-Director of the University Seminar in Disability Studies at Columbia University from 2003–2007, and was the Hofstra University Presidential Visiting Scholar in 2006.[1] She received the Barnard College Medal of Distinction[2][3][4] in 2015, and an honorary Doctor of Arts from Middlebury College in 2016.[5]

Following her academic career, Linton published two books, Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity [1998] and the memoir My Body Politic, [2006]. In 2015, Dance/NYC published her extended essay Cultural Territories of Disability”.[6] Linton has written for numerous other publications including The New York Times,[7] The Chronicle of Higher Education,[8] The Australian Financial Review,[9] PMLA,[10] and Griffith Review.[11]

In 1998, she founded Disability/Arts Consultancy. Since then, Linton has worked with organizations such as United States Artists, The Whitney Museum of American Art,[12] Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts,[13] Gibney,[14] The Public Theatre, Dance/NYC,[15][16] the Margaret Mead Film Festival, and other cultural, activist and academic institutions.

In 2014, Linton and Christian von Tippelskirch produced and directed the documentary film Invitation to Dance. The film was based, in part, on Linton’s memoir My Body Politic and her long history of activism. The film premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2014,[17] where it was nominated for a Social Justice Award[18] by the Fund for Santa Barbara. Invitation to Dance has been shown at multiple festivals, and at theaters, colleges and universities around the world.

In 2016, Linton and Kevin Gotkin founded Disability/Arts/NYC [DANT], an activist and policy-shaping organization committed to advancing disability artistry across all genres in New York City. DANT went on to produce several educational events and public programs. Their flagship project, Disability Equity Boot Camp (in-depth programs to train NYC cultural workers in fundamentals of disability arts advocacy) ran in both 2017 and 2019. DANT published Disability Equity in NYC’s Arts & Culture Landscape in 2019 to report on the emerging disability arts movement in New York City. One of DANT’S most significant achievements was the development and shaping of a disability arts platform for CreateNYC,[19] the Cultural Plan for the City of New York.

Linton was appointed to the New York City Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission (2015-present)[20][21] and the She Built NYC Committee (2018-present)[22][23] by Bill de Blasio.


  • Linton, Simi (2006). My Body Politic, University of Michigan Press ISBN 978-0-472-11539-6
  • Linton, Simi (1988). Claiming Disability, New York University Press ISBN 978-0-8147-5134-3


  1. ^ "The Year in Review 2006". News | Hofstra University, New York. 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  2. ^ "Commencement 2015 | Barnard". Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  3. ^ "Citation for Simi Linton | Barnard". Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  4. ^ Boatman, Mark (2015-06-04). "Simi Linton Awarded Medal of Distinction from Barnard". New Mobility. Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  5. ^ "Middlebury Celebrates Commencement 2016". Middlebury. 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  6. ^ "Disability. Dance. Artistry. Cultural Territories of Disability" (PDF).
  7. ^ Linton, Simi (2004-11-28). "Transported". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  8. ^ Linton, Simi (1999-05-14). "Museums Have a Lot to Learn From the Field of Disability Studies". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  9. ^ "A long road". Australian Financial Review. 2007-09-07. Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  10. ^ Linton, Simi (2005). "What Is Disability Studies?". PMLA. 120 (2): 518–522. doi:10.1632/S0030812900167823. ISSN 0030-8129. JSTOR 25486177. S2CID 233318368.
  11. ^ "Conscripts to the cavalry". Griffith Review. Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  12. ^ "An Etiology of Omission: Disability In and Out of Protest Art". Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  13. ^ "Inclusion in the Arts".
  14. ^ "DANT: The Disability/Arts/NYC Task Force — Gibney". Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  15. ^ "Disability. Dance. Artistry". Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  16. ^ "Disability Arts NYC Convening". Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  17. ^ Jan 29, D. J. Palladino Wed; 2014 | 2:00pm (2014-01-29). "Invitation to Dance". The Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  18. ^ Invitation to Dance - IMDb, retrieved 2019-12-21
  19. ^ "Disability/Arts/NYC Recommendations for CreateNYC" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Mayor Bill de Blasio Appoints New Members to the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission". The official website of the City of New York. 2015-10-27. Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  21. ^ "Advisory Commission - DCLA". Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  22. ^ "She Built NYC". Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  23. ^ "De Blasio Administration Announces Panel To Commission Artwork Honoring Women And Women's History". The official website of the City of New York. 2018-06-20. Retrieved 2019-12-21.

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