Friday, October 28, 2016

Addressing Access Issues

A day in the like of an artist

The first access issue I face each day is . . . How do I get from A to B?  As well as living with Cerebral Palsy, I have epilepsy, meaning I can't just jump in the car and pop to the art shop for supplies. The typical day means a support worker arrives about 8 am to assist me to get ready for the day, whatever that may hold.

Like everyone else their is more to life than creating art. My disabilities mean squeezing in medical appointments, between art class, working on social media marketing, coffee with my neighbour, networking, grant writing, the accounts, paying the bills and juggling all this around four support services and sixteen workers. No sweet!

And most days I do this with my head held high. Its been a BIG year, with my first solo exhibition, traveling interstate with my artwork, and more and more artwork selling.  Sadly ArtISabilty has had a few bumps, but we're still out their making noises, with two events to finish off 2016!

I am still deeply passionate about increasing the participation of people with disabilities in Ipswich.  As an artist one thing I do well is shine!  By exhibiting and selling my artwork, I am saying disability doesn't need to be a barrier to employment, achievement and even assisting others.

However accessing the community even for me remains a challenge.  The major challenge sadly is dealing with social acceptance and building an inclusive community. I am realising the key to Improving all access issues, is challenging social norms.  It's not the norm for people living with disabilities to work; its not the norm of people with disability to be in management roles. its not the norm for people with disabilities to access the community independently...

Well hello! Your finally realising I not normal and I don't want to conform to social norms.  Yet daily society reminds me or the norms, where's your carer.  It takes energy and courage to navigate foot paths, traffic, building and toilets.  I try not to focus on what happens if I have a seizure.  With my seizures ones again unstable I am limit to accessing the community with others.

ErrrrH! this means using a telephone with a communication disorder, explain yes I am very aware I have a disability, but I am the manager, no my cat can't talk and I the only on here.  I'll call you back . . . Well be sure that company isn't going to provide a quote. Dealing with access issues doesn't allow you to submit grants late while you wait for quotes.

I smile and feel a wonderful sense of achievement despite the daily deconstruction of barriers eventual I achieve my goals. I am relicant and resourceful.

 However the artists I work with are still struggling with the traffic, footpaths and toilet doors the can't open. Lack of affordable transport options still lock them out for the community and some remain voiceless.

You can assist me to address the many access issues in Ipswich by purchasing Christmas designed by the artists I work with. These can be purchase through my online shop.

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