Institute on Disabilities Receives William Penn Grant

January 2014

The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University has been awarded $50,000 for its play "A Fierce Kind of Love" from the William Penn Foundation. In its announcement in November, the Foundation approved a "special grant" to the Institute on Disabilities to support the continued development of the work.

The initial development and early performances of "A Fierce Kind of Love" were funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and evolved from the Institute's Visionary Voices project. Visionary Voices tells the history of Pennsylvania's Intellectual Disability Rights Movement through oral history interviews with the Movement's leaders, and the preservation of archival documents significant to the Movement. The interviews are available to be viewed on the Institute's website—

A Fierce Kind of Love (AFKOL), written by Suli Holum and directed by David Bradley is a play drawn from Visionary Voices interviews, as well as conversations with people with disabilities and their family members. AFKOL dramatizes personal stories from the Intellectual Disability Movement using word, movement and song. A first reading of the play-in-progress was performed in front of more than 130 people at the Christ Church Neighborhood House, in Philadelphia on March 18, 2013.

"The Institute believes that public performance offers a unique way to engage diverse audiences in disability history," says Celia Feinstein, Co-Executive Director of the Institute on Disabilities.

"Thanks to the William Penn Foundation's generous support, we will be able to continue developing the work, with an ultimate goal of presenting a fully realized play in 2015."

To view interviews, and to see photos and a recording of the live broadcast of the March 18, 2013 performance, visit the website of the Institute on Disabilities—

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Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service