speaking and art

I finally bit the bullet and bought dictating software. So now begins the task of training the software, which thus far seems to be pretty easy. In fact, I think that this software has come along leaps and bounds since I last t time I tried it.  I gave this blog address out to someone so I thought I had better update the blog. The start of   2011, has been tumultuous to say the least. Along with world events, work and life events have taken some interesting turns. I have begun lecturing at the University one day a week. I am developing a new topic entitled    –community development, funding and tendering for human services. This has been a much-awaited challenge and has been a source of much enjoyment. To say I’m on a steep learning curve would be an understatement. I have very much enjoyed testing my existing knowledge and gaining new knowledge in order to develop and deliver the topic.


Things on the work front seem to come in cycles. We have experienced some real upheavals including the untimely death of a colleague. However, I am heartened by the fact that we can move forward and continue to deliver some amazing programs to people living on the autism spectrum. The major highlight has been the delivery of a filmmaking boot camp to 15 teenagers on the autism spectrum. In five days, these young people had the opportunity to work with professional filmmakers learning the craft of scripting, storyboarding, filming, editing and acting in short films.  The culmination of the week was a public screening short films made.


I’m also happy to have been accepted to present a paper at the Asia Pacific Autism Conference in Perth. Along with a colleague I will present the findings from a trial of the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with adults on the autism spectrum.


A wanted to write this blog to also capture some thoughts I had after attending a two-day workshop.


Last week I had the opportunity to attend ‘delve’ a two-day experiential workshop for disabled artists.  Artists were able to work with professionals in either scriptwriting or new media. Robust discussions were had regarding identifying or not identifying as a disabled artist. So much of these discussions or arguments get caught up in the language itself and often people fail to realize that they become constrained by the language. So much of what we say occurs within context or culture. Much of our experiences as artists or people with disabilities are subjective.   So in some ways it is really difficult to compare our experiences with that of another artist who lives with a disability.    Some people say that art by its very nature, expression, is political.    Some people say that their art is not political, that their art is not about disability, and yet others say that their experiences, intrinsic to who they are, come through in the art anyway.  Language can be awkward and not allow us to express fully the things that we would like to express.   Art, however, can transcend the inadequacy of language.    Speaking to each other through our art, we can find ways to express the things we find it difficult to express when we use language alone. Disabled artist, artist with a disability, artist, human being– are all about, how at any given time, we experience the world, and how we choose to convey that experience.

When I was writing, in the scriptwriting workshop, one of things I did was to deny my own experiences. I said out loud to the group –I’m sick of it all being about me. I wanted to write about someone else’s experience. Saying this out loud became an interesting phenomenon. I am not sure that I was being entirely honest with myself, because I am looking for ways to tell my story through art but I guess I’m not looking to repeat some of the clichés, the endless clichés that I see around me. Apparently clichés sell, but I hardly think I’m in the game for selling. Selling out is another story.  Disabled artists, disabled writers, disabled activists, are often accused of selling out. Selling out to what, I am not sure. So how does one make art with integrity, this has to be one of the questions that get answered whether you identify as disabled artist or not.  Then sometimes you have to realize that when you make your art you have no control over what the audience thinks of it or even whether they think you are selling out.


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