Wednesday, February 7, 2018

NDIS: Going For Gold

Funding from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (ndis), is determined by the participants individual goals.  I am a visual artist and passionate about developing inclusive communities through art.  This week my funding has allow me to engage my support team to assist me to install my art exhibition at Drawing Point Gallery.

Working on dolls has been very different to other mediums I have worked with before, so I am excited with the discussion around this exhibition. 

The changes under the ndis are designed to increase the social and/or economic participation rates of people living with disabilities. To achieve the type of reform on a national scale a few things need to occur.

  • A national approach to assist people with disabilities and their families.
  • Opportunities for participants to tailor this assistance to suit their individual needs.
  • Opportunities for people with disabilities to participation in the community at all levels. (Education, training, employment, civic duty; sports; recreation and leisure.
It is my view that the last of these objectives is the most difficult to facilitate. We come from a model where people with disabilities have been cared for and protected. While here are many participants that still need this type of assistance, in the main people with disabilities and their families want choices in who supports them and the way they are supported. 

However our traditional views and beliefs around how people with disabilities are able to achieve tasks are very strong. Meaning participants are having difficulty is accessing education, training and other opportunities.  People living with disabilities are likely to be underemployed (employ below the skill level) or unemployed. This is where social inclusion programs play a key role at local level.

As a visual artists I am keen to use my artwork to drive discussion on diversity and building inclusive communities. 

To some extent our knowledge and expectation of people living with disability is based on our own experience of disability. However other things will influence owe view, such as culture, cultural norms and personality. 

In changing to the ndis and giving people choices about the way they want to be assisted, the sector and the wider community are  required to let go of a tradition that provided care and protection packages for people with disabilities allowing participants to chose what suits there individual needs, While accepting that 'individual choice and care & protection' are not mutually exclusive of each other.  At some point in our lives we have all needed care and protection and are likely to need these in the future.  The difference with those living with disabilities the care and protection until now has been locked in and not been able to change as their needs have changed. 

Historically people with disabilities have no been encourage to give things ago because they may fail.  What if the fail? has never been  what if the shine?

Failure is part of the human experience, it is part of the learning process. We all fall before we learn to walk. In my own life the only to determine if I am capable of something is to try.  I once thought sewing was impossible for me. . . Now I have created a exhibition around dolls and textiles because I have had mentors who encourage me to try and the pushed me to the next level.

The world places enough obstacles in our way. So why do we want to limited people living with disabilities? Not to expect more from people with disabilities is to take a 'the glass is half empty approach to life.'

What does it matter if the glass is half empty or half full if your not going to drink from the glass?

Funding under the ndis is determine by your goals, you ask the ndis to support you to achieve. The goals of each individual participant  will be different.  Not may people chose to be a professional artist.  

Although the definition of a professional is petty straight forward, not may people understand the complexities of what it takes to bring an exhibition together.

A professional visual artist is someone who sells their artwork. A successful artist is someone who makes a profit form selling artwork.  Most professional artists have a 'day job' to allow them to achieve their art dreams. 

So my main ndis goal is to grow my visual art practise which is to sell artwork and one of the ways I achieve this is to have my artwork housed in art galleries.

Team Deb installed Deb's artwork for
her art exhibition at Drawing Point Gallery. 

I am also interested in assisting other artists, including those with disabilities to build their own visual art practise.  I have been plodding the over the last five years, to find ways for artists with disabilities to invest in themselves, encouraging providers to offer more professional art guidance; running art workshops and art groups for artist with disabilities, and building bridges and breaking down barriers in the arts community.

This year Ipswich Art Connect are supporting artists with disability by providing an opportunity to exhibit the art at no cost.  Our project is called 'Hearing Our Voice' we want to assist artists with disabilities to present their work at a professional level.  I am very excited that artists without disability initiated this project, not a disability provider.  

The Ipswich art community have already heard our voice and are rolling out the carpet so we can make our voices even louder in the community.  So in terms of the ndis my activity is classed as full time work and I am funded appropriately. However this has no been the experiences of other artists. 

In the pre-planning process you need to become very clear on what your goals and activities look like.  Use your mobile, take photos of you crating your art and all the different aspects of you work. Write up an activity chart.  This could be a flow chart beginning with creating an artwork and all the steps involved to achieve a sale.  

Most people see artists as airy-fairy. We don't really know what we're doing.  

This is complicated by people in general having low expectations of people with disabilities in general. These expectations are nowhere more prevent than the disability sector itself.  In writing your ndis plan you need to fully sell yourself as someone who is self-employed or working in an art studio. 

Well its been a big week, tomorrow I going for gold and hoping to make a profit!

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