To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on 3rd December this year, we asked our staff members to reflect on the theme of “the future we want”, and how we can create a more inclusive and accessible environment for disabled people. Here are some of their thoughts…
One contribution from a Habinteg staff member said:
“The negative or limited representation of disabled people in film indirectly led to me applying for my job at Habinteg. At that time, it seemed that disabled characters were often portrayed as either ‘victims’ or ‘villains’ in film and media.
A more positive step forward has been the increased airtime and programming around the Paralympics from 2012 onwards – at first introducing the depiction of disabled people as ‘superhuman’, followed by a more ‘normalised’ depiction in the most recent Paralympic games from Brazil. This increased representation has given rise to more opportunities for non-athletic disabled people in media, film and TV.
So, for me, the ‘future we want’ is (post-superhuman) inclusion and equality in storymaking and storytelling, and the mainstreaming of disabled people’s experience into popular culture.”
Another of our staff members said:
“As a carer for someone who is disabled for over 10 years, the most important thing for me is tackling stigma around disability and seeing a cultural shift in the way that some people view disability today.
Stigma surrounding disability can have a huge impact in the way that many disabled people view themselves, and the way they conduct their lives on a day to day basis. Portrayals of disability in the media and attitudes within society can have huge consequences, and can result in disabled people isolating themselves from the wider community. These negative representations can lead to depression and lack of confidence that results in some disabled people not seeking help, support and advice which they could benefit from.
Therefore, the future we want involves a society that is tolerant, accepting and most importantly inclusive. That means making everyone aware of the consequences of representation and making cultural changes to society, so that we can all live in an inclusive environment together.”
We will continue to share more of our staff stories relating to disability, inclusion and accessibility, so keep a look out for our blog posts over the next few weeks.