Woo hoo! The Disability Visibility Project™ showed up and represented at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Michigan, on June 17, 2017. The Allied Media Conference is:
“A collaborative laboratory of media-based organizing strategies…We define media-based organizing as any collaborative process that uses media, art, or technology to address the roots of problems and advances holistic solutions towards a more just and creative world.”
At the end of the presentation, Alice left the audience with three final takeaway messages:
1. Accessible content benefits everyone.
Here’s a quote from Elise Roy from a TED talk about design that sums up this point:
What if we started designing for disability first —not the norm?As you see, when we design for disability first,we often stumble upon solutions that are not only inclusive,but also are often better than when we design for the norm.
2. Accessibility and media-based organizing go hand-in-hand.
In order to create media that’s both authentic and accessible, it requires people to listen and ask difficult questions, questions that we may not have the answers for or questions that are deeply unsettling about our understanding of how the world works. I hope today the questions we raised in our presentation will encourage you to reflect and explore on your own and with your people.
Accessibility is not just about design, it’s about privilege. When we provide access, we’re sharing information, power, and resources. When we create inaccessible media, we’re privileging it to certain groups.
Oral history projects like the DVP places the power of recording with the people–they don’t have to wait for a historian to find them noteworthy or interesting. Everyone has a story worth telling and documenting.
3. We need more disabled people in media making!
Ask yourself: Are there opportunities for outreach in your own work? What perspectives are missing in your projects? Look for disabled people within your communities and rely on them and pay them for their expertise. Inaccessible archives, media, and oral histories exclude needed perspectives and ideas. Disabled people belong in every field and should be involved in every aspect of media production. AND disabled people can inform and improve media-based organizing.
Geraldine Ah-Sue is an independent audio producer who uses creative media to inspire a more loving and just world. She is the producer for SFMOMA’s podcast, Raw Material, season 2: Manifest about art, community and social justice. Geraldine also produces stories for KPFA’s APEX Express, a show featuring the voices and stories of Asians and Asian Americans, and KALW’s Crosscurrents. In 2016, she was selected as an AIR New Voices Scholar. Visit geraldineah-sue.com for more.
Yosmay del Mazo
Interim Regional Manager, SF StoryBooth, StoryCorps
Audio Producer, Disability Visibility Project™
Yosmay del Mazo is a writer, photographer, and audio producer who uses art and storytelling as tools for community resilience. He is a facilitator at StoryCorps in San Francisco and a former staff member of VONA Voices workshops for writers of color. His work can be read in the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Breadcrumb Scabs. Learn more at yosmaydelmazo.com
Founder and Project Coordinator Disability Visibility Project™
Alice Wong is a sociologist, research consultant, and disability activist based in San Francisco. She is the Founder of the Disability Visibility Project (DVP), a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to creating, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture. Alice is also a co-partner of #CripTheVote, a nonpartisan online movement encouraging the political participation of disabled people. You can find her on Twitter: @SFdirewolf