Saturday, December 12, 2009

Parihaka International Peace Festival

Our 90 minute documentary Towards the day…we are all free, will be screening at the 5th Parihaka International Peace Festival January 8 –10 2010. If you can, go to this wondrous festival, at least once in your lifetime.

Chapbook ( in ) valid

My new chapbook of poetry is now available, ( in ) valid, with the 10 poems from my recent performance - the 'extended mix' versions, and so much more! 26 poems, 40 pages. If you like poems that are sensory, silly, sexy, serious, self-identified or about the south pacific, then this if for you!

Contact megtorwl(at)gmail(dot)com for more information or to order.

Listen to Audio MP3 of Poems - (In) valid and The Best Last Day

A Starfish in the Snow

Just back from performing my interdisciplinary show in Calgary at the Big Secret Theatre. Wow, the lovely people at Balancing Acts sure know how to take care of you and put on a great festival with a diversity of happenings! All went well a part from one touch and go moment when the city coping with day 3 of a howling horizontal snowstorm slid to a sleeting stand still! Getting to the theater for my first performance was a challenge!

The show must go on, and it did! Got some great feedback, people love my Identity Quotients Calculator - a tool for the multiply marginalized, it made them laugh a lot in recognition. Many found the show thought provoking. Others loved the hand-bound books with the poems and stories, wanting to know all about their origins. People were warmed by the purple star fish story and slides - and told me of their guardian animals, raven, horse, tiger. The performance inspired some to tell their own stories; others to write poetry or make films again; to embark on multimedia projects.

‘Your ability to weave so many different artistic mediums and issues connected to being ‘other’ is unprecedented. Thank you for your honesty, risk taking, and your original work. It’s a true pleasure to have you perform'.
- Nicole Dunbar. Balancing Acts Festival Producer 2009

Of a preview performance at VIVO:

'It was WONDERFUL to be there Meg. You are SUCH a performance artist, you were so natural up there, your courage is amazing! Loved the seamless flow of music, video, performance, colours. Beautiful weave of humour and pain, goofiness and insightfulness. Your writing is a gift, wise, evocative, truthful. Thank-you for all of it'.
- Mo Simpson

A big THANK YOU to the good people at Balancing Acts, Stage Left Productions, One Yellow Rabbit/Big Secret Theatre; Carousel Theatre, and VIVO Media Arts, for supporting me and my show. Thanks to T, N, and M for the beautiful handmade books. G for taking wonderful photos. Jan for being a great director.

Fibre-Glass: Art in Calgary

I was humbled when after my second performance, Eleanor Boyden, who won both the Peoples Choice, and the Jury award for her fibre art at a Balancing Acts Exhibition, gave me some fantastic pieces of her fabric jewelry. See image above.

I returned to Prince’s Island Park on my last day as I was completely enamored with the marble sculpture of flower, leaf, dragonfly, fish, particularly the way the sun shone through the different colored marbles, and that the marbles can be rotated in their sockets by rubbing your hand across them to reveal different facets of color. It was minus 29 degrees with the wind chill factor. It completely drained the 2 hour battery on my video camera in 8 minutes! But I managed to get a few stills in before it died, see above.

Sculpture by: Lori Sobkowich. “Four pixilated images created with approximately 15,000 glass marbles which are captured in perforated and riveted steel framing. These images of flora and fauna are elevated to eye level on four simple concrete forms which are situated at right angles to each other. The theme encompasses the ecological aspects a visitor to Prince’s Island might encounter—water, air and land. The images themselves are a contemporary version of the traditional stained glass panel, making the changing direction and quality of the natural light as much an element of the sculpture as the glass, metal and stone”. To quote the Calgary public art media package.

The snow and bare tree trunks seemed to have turned even the creatures to white and black. I met three cute white birds who flew all around my walking stick and bear-eared hat, considering alighting. Two black squirrels met high on a tree, communed for awhile nose to nose. Another perched in a cleft trying to open an acorn it had retrieved from it's winter stash, with no success, as the acorn was clearly frozen. I thought how much harder a squirrel's life may be than mine, but then again I don't have fur for frozen temperatures, so maybe we are much the same...?

I was excited to discover while I was there not one but two Judy Chicago Exhibitions were on in Calgary! She has been and still is at 70 such a leader for women in art. I was particularly inspired by some of her recent glass works (see image above from her website), as well as the sheer size of her tapestries, and that one project took several years and 150 women sewing to complete! Now that’s visionary! An accompanying exhibition of fibre art by local women artists was equally as intriguing - She Will Always Be Younger Than Us.

Also on while I was there an exhibition by Paul Wong, one of VIVO Media Arts founders, called 2 Hot 2 Handle at the Glenbow Museum. An interesting take on Alberta’s cowboy/cowgirl culture drawing on historical bronze statues and new video work. He has some innovative installations coming up in Vancouver in February/March 2010.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Balancing Acts Commission

Meg Torwl has been commissioned by Balancing Acts Annual Disability Arts Festival in Calgary, Alberta, December 2009, to do a solo spoken word show of poetry and storytelling. Entitled ‘That’s so gay!’ - about solidarity across lines of gender, sexuality, disability, race; and species - in the case of purple star fish! It's about being the only one, not being the only one, times when you wish someone would drop from the sky and help you in the fight against oppression, - sometimes they do! What do the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, brand new blue boots, influential Maori women, grrls in men’s 3 piece suits, and purple star fish have in common? All will be revealed in ‘That’s so gay! Writer and performer Meg Torwl will be directed in 'That's so gay!' by the fantabulous Director Jan Derbyshire

Creative Momentum Interview Online Sept 2009

Meg Torwl will be CREATIVE MOMENTUM'S FEATURED CREATIVE for the month of September 2009 with a 2 part audio interview about her artistic practice in media – film, radio, new media. Visuals accompanying the audio interview include stills from the making of the film “Towards the day…we are all free” - with refugee and Aboriginal women. Photos from her meditative underwater and color based computer installations – AQWAI, TIARIKA, SINGING BOWLS; and video footage from an experimental film in development, “9 Lives 6 months” – about disability, art, poverty, dreams, craziness and wonder, in the lives of 4 women.

NZ based "Creative Momentum is a virtual movement around creative diversity. Through this international website and local events we aim to create awareness of creativity and diversity through dialogue and exploration. We want to know what creative diversity means to diverse creatives. Comedian, consultant and entrepreneur Philip Patston describes diversity as the synergy of similarity and difference. Here at Creative Momentum, we think of creative diversity as the ultimate expression of human uniqueness."

Moving Images of LGBTQI Elders

I've been teaching older LGBTQI folks video interviewing skills for a Moving Images project. It's been interesting and a lot of fun, they are about to go out and record video and oral history.

The purpose of Moving Images, a project of Qmunity’s Generations Project is: To create a video archive of accurate and diverse accounts of our history in the LGBTQI Community.

August 2009 Queerotica Poetry

Meg Torwl's New Media Work

Matching ambient music - featuring the sounds of water, chimes, and Tibetan singing bowls; with mind relaxing visuals – colors, water, fish, flowers; Meg Torwl's computer installations offer a quiet journey, to rest the mind, emotions, body and soul.

Tiarika: 5 minutes looped. 2008.
Submerge yourself in an underwater journey, close up with rainbow parrot fish (ika), pink sea urchins, blue lipped clams, and purple star fish, emerging into violet lotus flowers (tiare), yellow frangipani, red hibiscus blossoms, green taro leaves and blue skies, of Rarotonga. Music: Spacious by Tony Riparetti and Micheal Gibian, water and chimes.

AQWAI: 11.5 minutes looped. 2006
AQUA - WATER - WAI - WATER - AWA - RIVER. AQWAI opens in Vancouver’s Fall with abstract images of rain, reflecting on leaf-filled puddles, winter Sunshine Coast beaches, lakes, and snow. To spring at the seas edge on Ayhus Island, light playing on the ocean floor, sea grass and shellfish beds, taking us underwater to Hawaiian coral and fish. Drawing to a close in summer, with the pebbled alpine streams, of Manning Park BC; Tongariro National Park, and Te Waipounamu - Aotearoa. Music: Spacious by Tony Riparetti and Micheal Gibian; water and chimes.

Singing Bowls: 40 minutes looped. 2004
Singing Bowls is a new media computer meditation installation utilizing the programs MaxMSP and Jitter to create a liquid music effect. The on screen colors pulse through a range of tones for each color of the rainbow, in time with the music - which is creating the color – as pitch, rhythm, and volume, are attached to red, green or blue. Creatively it is structured around chakra, (energy centers on the body) comprising 7 pieces of music - each 5 minutes long - one for each chakra. Each piece of music is composed for, and uses a Tibetan singing bowl for each chakra. The colors which appear on screen correspond to the color for each chakra, beginning with red and moving through the rainbow to violet. Singing bowls begins and ends with a 3 minute piece of music for all chakra, which creates all the colors of rainbow. Music: Tibetan Chakra Meditations by Ben Scott & Christa Michell, singing bowls, flute, triangle.

Meg Torwl's Video Work

Towards the day..we are all free. 2007. 90 minutes.
Researcher, Producer, Director, Interviewer, Editor.
Distributor: Video Out.

Women and girls from Canadian First Nations, Iran, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bosnia, Vietnam, Guatemala, Uruguay, Aotearoa, tell their dangerous hopeful stories; through personal narrative, art, poetry, drama, discussions, and demonstrations, recounting their persecution, activism, journeys to and within Canada. Three years in the making, with an all women crew, in 6 languages, featuring over 30 women. Music by Yvette Narlock. DOP Claudia Medina. Editor Lenka Svab. Sound Editor Emma Hendrix.

Dr Sima Samar. 2001. 11 and 40 minute versions.
Producer, Director, Camera 1, Editing.
Distributor: Women for Women Afghanistan.

In December 2001, Dr. Sima Samar received the annual award from Rights and Democracy Canada. She toured across Canada, speaking about her work, running schools and hospitals for women and girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the 20 years of war, from her home in a refugee camp in Pakistan. About the lead up to and effects of 911, conditions in Afghanistan under US bombing. Three days after recording her Vancouver presentation, she was named Deputy Prime Minister of Afghanistan.

Act Your Age!? 2000. 42 minutes.
Director, Producer, Script, Interviewer, Editor. Distributor: Video Out.
10 women aged 16 to 80 talk candidly about age, ageing, ageism, beauty, disability, friends, lovers. Music by Mik Syroid.

where have all the lesbians gone? 2000. 7 minutes.
Director, producer, camera, sound, editor. Distributor: Video Out.
A mockumentary with a serious message, a humorous wake up call to political complacency.

Meg Torwl's 50 half-hour Radio Programmes with RNZ

One In Five

A weekly magazine and information programme about the issues and experience of disability.

See sidebar for availability of programme audio on the web.

Copies of past programmes of One in Five not available online can be obtained from Replay Radio. CDs are $30 each. Email Replay Radio or telephone 0800 737 529.


A 6 part series on Disability, Relationships and Sexuality, May 18 to June 22.

22 June 2008: Disability, Relationships and Sexuality
Part 6: Auckland - Sexuality, disability and internet dating
Charles Tauhore, Philip Patston, Huhana Hickey and Maria Anderson of the Auckland panel discuss disability and sexuality. Huhana, Philip and Maria compare experiences with internet dating; if, when and how to disclose disability?

15 June 2008: Disability, Relationships and Sexuality
Part 5: Wellington - Sexuality and disability
Mani Bruce Mitchell, Victoria Manning, Ivan Yeo and David Corner of the Wellington panel discuss whether disability effects their sexuality or not; their own attitudes and those they find prevalent in society.

8 June 2008: Disability, Relationships and Sexuality
Part 4: Auckland - Long term relationships and having children
Charles Tauhore, Maria Anderson, Huhana Hickey, and Philip Patston discuss long term relationships and having children. Is disability an issue? Societal attitudes tend to think disabled people only have partner relationships with other disabled people, but is that really true? Or that most disabilities are genetic, and therefore disabled people should not have children. The Auckland panel explore these myths.

1 June 2008: Disability, Relationships and Sexuality
Part 3: Wellington - Long term relationships and having children
The Wellington panel discuss discuss long-term relationships, if those have mostly been with disabled or non-disabled partners, and decisions around having children. Even when faced with the positive relationships they experienced between their parents, in the absence of disabled adults, none of the panelists thought partner relationships would or could be something they would have when they were adults. What changed for each of them, was meeting other people like them, in relationships. For two of the four people this meant going to a different country. The Wellington Panel are: Mani Bruce Mitchell, Victoria Manning, Ivan Yeo, and David Corner.

25 May 2008: Disability, Relationships and Sexuality
Part 2: Auckland - Dating
The Auckland panel discuss what ideas they had about partner relationships growing up, if their disability has affected their dating, and what they are looking for in a partner. The Auckland panelists, known to their friends as: surfer dude, the legalator, ambisexual theorist, and in internet chat rooms as Phylis; take a more humorous, even flirtatious approach. They are Charles Tauhore, a blind straight Maori sportsman, Maria Anderson a young bisexual Pacific Island woman, Huhana Hickey, a freewheeling wahine takataapui lawyer, and Philip Patston, a gay wheelchair using theorist.

18 May 2008 : Disability, Relationships and Sexuality
Part 1: Wellington - Dating
Over several weeks eight people with diverse disabilities, cultures, ages, genders, sexualities dispel myths about disability and dating, sex, relationships, having children. A mother and psychologist who happens to be deaf, an Asian gay guy with experience of mental illness, a straight guy with an intellectual disability who works as an advocate, and an intersex person who is a counselor sit down to talk about their intimate relationships.
The Wellington panel discuss what ideas they had about partner relationships growing up, if their disability has affected their dating, and what they are looking for in a partner. The Wellington Panel are: Mani Bruce Mitchell, Victoria Manning, Ivan Yeo, and David Corner.

11 May 2008: Disability and Health Issues for Asylum Seekers
Dr Tony Wansbrough who works with asylum seekers in Auckland through The Peoples Centre Trust, talks about the unique health and disability situations they may face. Asylum seekers may not have good access to healthcare in New Zealand due to their fluctuating legal status, poverty, or language barriers. For these reasons there is a danger of untreated health conditions becoming chronic illnesses, permanent disabilities, or life threatening conditions.

4 May 2008: Disability and Health Issues for Refugees and Migrants
One in Five is in Mt Roskill Auckland at the annual International Cultural Festival sampling the sumptuous food and music, and chatting with people about disability and health issues facing refugees and migrants to New Zealand. One in Five talks to Stephanie Pollard of RMS Refugee Resettlement, who has been supporting the family of a child with muscular dystropy; Kelly Woolston of CCS Disability Action, involved in a research and referral project; and Tina a student social worker from Denmark with Refugees as Survivors New Zealand, whose Mobile Team promotes the Mental health of refugees. There is also an interview with Dr Therese Khella who worked with the Iraqi community through the The Peoples Centre Trust.
The programme includes music recorded on location with E-Pacs Lion Dance Team and Ecuadorian group Alymayu.

27 April 2008: Lu'i Ola
Manase Lua, former Project Manager Pacific, with the Disability Services Directorate, Ministry of Health, talks about a Lu'i Ola - a positive new concept for disability, in Aotearoa based Pacific Island communities. Lu'i Ola is also the name of an exciting initiative co-sponsored by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs (MPIA) and involving twelve local and regional Government agencies including: the three District Health Boards (DHB) in the Auckland region.
The aim of the project is to provide better information and disability support to Pacific Island people in the wider Auckland region, and is now moving into a national phase. Manase Lua discusses leadership, and interagency communication, to deliver culturally appropriate disability support services to Pacific Island people. He also discusses the findings of the PIASS - Pacific Information Advocacy Support Trust, research report which informed much of the Lu'i Ola project.
In Memorium: Musician and mental health educator Mahinarangi Tocker, who passed away on 15 April 2008. Listen to previous Radio New Zealand recordings with Mahinarangi.

20 April 2008: Pacific Island Perspectives on Disability
Manase Lua, former Project Manager Pacific, with the Disability Services Directorate, Ministry of Health, talks about Pacific Island attitudes to disability, from shame to the duty of care for all aiga (family) which includes family members with disabilities. He talks about the incidence of disabilities in Pacific Island communities, as well as barriers to receiving disability support services.

13 April 2008: Te Roopu Taurima o Manukau: Mokopuna perspective
Mokopuna or Client Trevor Coleman talks about how he went from being unable to do basic things like shopping, to holding down a job and assisting others. CEO Tuila Tenari talks about her cultural heritage and how it informs her work today. We discuss Maori and pakeha attitudes to intellectual disability, institutionalization, and deinstitutionalization, as well as the unique ways Te Roopu Taurima o Manukau works with adults with intellectual disabilities who have high challenging behaviors, and those designated under the Intellectual Disability Compulsory Care & Rehabilitation Act 2003. Tuila Tenari also discusses how Te Roopu Taurima o Manukau works with another challenged population, clients who can not communicate verbally.
Te Roopu Taurima o Manukau, is a kaupapa Maori organization offering tikanga based services to adults with intellectual disabilities and their whanau. Based in Otahuhu South Auckland, with a range of services throughout Aotearoa. Respite care, residential and day services, whanau support, rehabilitation.

6 April 2008: Te Roopu Taurima o Manukau - A parent's perspective
Derek Petera talks about his initial fear of having others take care of his autistic child, and his comfort in finding a kaupapa Maori organization which involved the whole whanau. CEO Tuila Tenari tells us how the organization came to be and the principles of Maori culture, which inform their work. Te Roopu Taurima o Manukau is a kaupapa Maori organization offering tikanga based services to adults with intellectual disabilities and their whanau. Based in Otahuhu South Auckland, with a range of programmes throughout Aotearoa - Respite care, residential and day services, whanau support.
Programme includes music by client Darcy Burkhardt and Support worker Lapi Mariner.

30 March 2008: Assume Nothing
Assume Nothing exhibition at the New Dowse (45 Laings Rd Lower Hutt April 12 to August 31) addresses the physical in gender.
New Zealand photographer Rebecca Swan talks about her exhibition Assume Nothing, how collaboration is central to how she works with her photographic subjects and other artists. Filmmaker Kirsty MacDonald has made a film about Assume Nothing, which will be part of the upcoming exhibition and with Executive Director of the Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand, Mani Bruce Mitchell, who is one of the subjects of Assume Nothing. Mani discusses her decision to collaborate with photographers and filmmakers, to break down stigma towards intersex people. Assume Nothing is described by the New Dowse as: a journey into the intimacies, nuances and complexities of gender identity; an exploration and true celebration of the complex world of gender diversity. It includes portraits of activist Mani Bruce Mitchell, performer Carmen Rupe, politician Georgina Beyers, artist Shigeyuki Kihara.

23 March 2008: Disability and Health Services - Consumers Rights
What happens, and what to do, when consumers rights are not respected when receiving disability and health services.
Robert Martin Self-Advocacy Coordinator IDEA Services talks about how he was affected by sexual abuse in a school and an institution for people with intellectual disabilities. In the past when people had little access to making a complaint, and what would help now. Tania Thomas, a Deputy Commissioner with the Health and Disability Commissioners Office has a responsibility for people with disabilities, Maori, people in prisons, and education. She talks about consumers of health or disability services rights, and what to do if abuse or inappropriate behavior occurs in the context of disability service provision. Why making a complaint can be difficult for people with disabilities, and people with intellectual disabilities in particular.

16 March 2008: Frozen Funds Charitable Trust
Chair Mary O'Hagan and Board member Robert Martin of the Frozen Funds Charitable Trust, launch and call for projects. In the 1980’s institutions for people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness administered residents benefits, and kept the interest earned on that income. This was stopped by the Director of Mental Health, and in the 1990’s the government began a process to return the interest funds to their rightful owners. Over half the funds were unable to be returned, and these became the “Frozen Funds”.
More than 20 years later a Trust has been formed to distribute the interest each year from the funds; in projects which benefit and are lead by users of mental illness and intellectual disability services.The Trust was launched in Wellington in February 2008. In the first year the Trust is seeking project proposals in advocacy, education, the creative arts, media, research or any other approach; which deal with the effects of institutionalization.

9 March 2008: Disability Advisor, Minnie Baragwanath
Meg Torwl talks with Minnie Baragwanath, Auckland City Council Strategic Disability Advisor about what her role involves, from parking permits to policy, and what it was like when she was one of the first Disability Advisors in a City Council in 2001.
Also discussed are the plans for the 2008 National Disability Advisors Conference in Auckland March 27, and what came out of the 2007 Disability and Seniors Advisors Conference in Wellington.

2 March 2008: A trip to Japan
Meg Torwl talks with Minnie Baragwanath, Auckland City Council Disability Advisor, about a recent trip to Japan she lead, with 13 young civic New Zealand leaders. They all went on a 2 week learning exchange with representatives from Japan, Sweden and the UK, focusing on issues for youth, people with disabilities, and older people.

24 February 2008: Ruamoko Marae
One in Five’s Meg Torwl visits Ruamoko Marae, at the Kelston Deaf Education Centre in Auckland. Ngati Turi, the Maori Deaf, tangata whenua of the marae, welcome, and tell the history and story of Ruamoko. With staff: Micheal Wi, Maori Tutor; Sandra Wooster, Senior Teacher of the Marae; Daniel Greenwood , Transition Teacher, and the Students of the Transition Class.
This programme has a transcript (PDF format).

17 February 2008: Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand
An interview with Mani Bruce Mitchell who is the Executive Director of the Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand, consultant, educator and advocate about intersex issues. We discuss barriers faced by people, both within the medical system and within wider society; who for physical, biological, genetic, or environmental reasons do not fit neatly into a definition of female or male.
For more information, a list of useful books, and resources: IANZ.

10 February 2008: Waitangi
A magazine style program, with Sylvia Tai reading her own story from the Book and DVD Seeking Community - He Ngakau Aata Kitea - living with a learning Disability. Which was a collaboration between People First - Nga Tangata Tuatahi, Videographer John Wheadon, and the Whitireia Publishing Course. Poetry by the late, great, Hone Tuwhare, as sung by Mahinarangi Tocker (not available in webversions).
An interview with Mahinarangi Tocker about her own experiences, and work with the Mental Health Foundation, as a Like Minds, Like Mine Project worker. In 2008 she was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for her contribution to music, she reflects on this.
Plus music by US born, Canadian resident, singer songwriter Yvette Narlock.
Seeking Community DVD and Book.
People First National Office.
PO Box 9199 Marion Square.
Wellington. NZ. 0800 20 60 70

3 February 2008: Canadians, Cupid, Poets and Pranksters
A magazine style program with Canadian Filmmaker Bonnie Sherr Klein talking about what it was like returning to filmmaking, and starting to work in radio after a stroke. Humour with NZ resident pranksters Mike Gourley and Huhana Hickey.
Five short poems by Raumati based writer Julie Leibrich, from her collaboration with Christchurch composer Eric Biddington resulting in their 2006 CD Cupid and Psyche. US born Canadian resident singer songwriter Yvette Narlock.

27 January 2008: Magazine Program
Blind Heretaunga High School students Mary Fisher and Dylan Neale, talk about their experiences with web design. As part of a team which won the Secondary School Team Section of the TVNZ website challenge 2007. Poetry meditating on the word invalid, and some of the ways words to describe disabilities, are used as expressions in the English language. Jo Butler brings humour with new segments: "What really annoys me is"; and "You not to, when". Featuring the music of Eric Biddington from his new CD Rendezvous, with conductor Rupert Bond, 2 pieces with oboe, trumpet and string orchestra.


23 December 2007: Secondary Sight
The technological challenges and advances, which are hindering or helping vision impaired students in their schooling.
A panel discussion with Kylee Maloney, Disability Consultant with technology company Squiz, Heretaunga High School students, Mary Fisher, and Dylan Neale, whose team won the Secondary School category of the 2007 TVNZ web challenge, Matt Dodd and Tom Mitchell, members of the Tech Crew, at Wellington College, which mentors teachers in new technology. Mary, Dylan, Kylee and Matt, were all involved recently with Secondary Sight, a Squiz inspired initiative which brought together students from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, with relevant education and techno types to design the way of the future for blind students.

16 December 2007: Disability and Violence
Disabled people are more vulnerable to experiencing violence, and the services which might be able to assist them are not always accessible. That’s changing, partly through the work of the Disability Coalition Against Violence. A partnership between NNSVS - the National Network of Stopping Violence Services and DPA - the Disabled Person Assembly of NZ.
To talk about the issues confronting disabled people escaping violence, and the challenges for service providers, are members of the Disability Coalition against Violence: Brian Gardner, Tauiwi manager, National Network of Stopping Violence Services; Jo Butler, a service Coordinator with Preventing Violence in the Home; and Robyn Hunt, Co-chair NZ Disability Strategy Reference Group, and DPA member.

9 December 2007: Acting Up: in Rehearsal
Acting Up is a group of adults with intellectual disabilities, involved in drama and music workshops, in Wellington and Lower Hutt. Local actor, Madeline MacNamara, and musician Andreas Leper facilitate the 10 week workshop series. Acting Up participants work on art, movement, song, and improvised percussion music. Meg Torwl caught up with Acting Up in a rehearsal, at Wellingtons Arts Centre recently, and talked with Madeline MacNamara about how the workshops have been developing.
Acting Up have 2 performances in December:
Friday December 14 at 2pm:
Idea Services Alpha St Arts Space, Wellington.
Saturday December 15 at 3pm:
St James Anglican Church Hall, 71 Woburn St, Lower Hutt.
If you want to attend the performances, or get involved with Acting Up contact Madeline MacNamara: 027 380 5843.

2 December 2007: International Day of People with Disabilities!
International Day of People with Disabilities is celebrated December 3. Mike Gourley, and Huhana Hickey both attended the 7th, Disabled Persons International Conference, in Korea. We discuss current issues effecting disabled people world wide, including issues facing indigenous disabled, women with disabilities, and challenges to the implementation within countries of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
Mike Gourley Is a Disability Advisor with SPARC - Sport and Recreation Council. He’s a former producer and presenter of One in Five. He’s currently the president of DPA, Disabled Persons Assembly of NZ.
Huhana Hickey is a Solicitor and Human Rights Consultant, she has degrees in law and policy from Waikato University. Her PhD thesis, is on the ‘unmet social, cultural and legal needs of Maori with disabilities’. She is Coordinator of Mana Tua a Kiri, and the Maori with Disabilities Discussion Group Te Hunga Haua Awhina Roopu.

25 November 2007: Being Deaf Part 2: Deaf and Proud
ABC - Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Producer and Presenter Kirsti Melville.
Children and adults who've grown up in the deaf community - identifying as culturally deaf - or deaf with a capital D. They are deaf, proud and many have no desire to be 'fixed' with cochlear technology. The Australian Deaf community likens itself to an ethnic community - with unique values, behaviour, history and language (Auslan).Winner of the 2006 Human Rights Award for Radio. Link to the transcript of this programme

18 November 2007: Being Deaf Part 1: Time lost
ABC - Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Producer and Presenter, Kirsti Melville.
Ninety per cent of deaf babies are born to hearing parents - people who usually know nothing about deafness and who are unprepared for the grief, tough decisions and hurdles ahead.
Without entering this world who would know, for instance, about the politics parents face over the choices they must make? That deaf children are often actively discouraged from learning Auslan - the sign language of the deaf community? That learning to speak is the new way forward? And that many deaf children are so integrated in mainstream schools they have little support in the classroom and consistently lag years behind academically? There is a growing fear we are creating a new generation of disadvantaged deaf people. Parents speak candidly of the shock of finding out their child is deaf and the bruising experiences they've since had with health professionals and education departments.
Winner of the 2006 Human Rights Award for Radio. Link to the transcript of this programme

11 November 2007: Regional Roundup!
Four regional representatives discuss health issues of concern to the hearing impaired, Deaf, Maori Deaf, and Maori disability communities. There's Wellington based, Paul Wolffram on cochlea implants; Kaipara resident Tania Simon, on Maori Deaf youth and sports; Hamilton based, Huhana Hickey with her Haua Tangata Maori centred approach to disability service provision; and Christchurch resident, Ann Charlotte on working in radio with a hearing impairment, and media portrayal of people with disabilities.

4 November 2007: Let's Learn NZ Sign Language
Wellington New Zealand Sign Language Teacher, Maureen, and hearing students, Dale, Bronwyn, Mary-Claire, and Michelle, discuss how and why they are learning New Zealand Sign Language. Lets Learn Sign Language! explores the motivations of hearing people for learning NZSL, the challenges and rewards, of Sign Language Classes and Deaf Club events. Why a need exists for qualified NZSL Interpreters and regional Training Programs. This is part 3 of a 3 part series, Part 1, Sign of the Times June 17, and Part 2 Purerehua July 29, considered the importance of New Zealand Sign Language to Pakeha and Maori Deaf communities. In April 2006 New Zealand Sign Language, the language of the Deaf Community, became New Zealand’s third official language.

It’s Spring! One in Five is celebrating the performing arts, with a five-part series on radio, theatre, music, and writing.

28 October 2007: The Young and the Mutated
A young woman explores the reaction of her friends, colleagues and self to a diagnosis of cancer in the context of existing disabilities. This is developed through writing excerpts, medical files, and social comedy. Papaya, mutated cells, jellyfish, hormones, employment agencies, humour, bullies and pet rams are involved!
Weblinks: Young Women and Cancer
Young Survival Coalition (USA)
National Conference for Young Women with Breast Cancer (Canada)
Crazy Sexy Cancer Documentary and Book
First New Zealand National Conference
For those who have experienced breast cancer
Featured Music:

21 October 2007: NZ musicians with disabilities.
In NZ Music Awards week, we feature work by local musicians with disabilities: percussion with youth band Kimi Ora Rhythm Machine; original pop with Carol Henry; Celtic music with Kylee Maloney; cocktail music with Shaun Johnson; classical music with Eric Biddington; jazz folk with Mark Laurent; and UK rap with Matt Fraser.

14 October 2007: Ten Thousandth Night
Shaun Johnson has been interested in music since he was 4, and has been playing piano at the James Cook Hotel in Wellington for 27 year. He plays some of his favourite tunes and discusses highlights of his musical career.

7 October 2007: The Beast of Pack N Stack.
Intellectual Disability Empowerment in Action offers a range of community services through IHC. In 2007 this included a drama workshop series offered by Hamilton IDEA Vocational/Day Services. Ten members of the cast introduce themselves and their characters from the play ‘The Beast of Pack N Stack’.
Participants worked with improvisational director Viv Aitken from the University of Waikato to create a drama from their own lives, experiences and dreams. The performance incorporated acting, a synchronised supermarket trolley dance, singing, and slideshows of participants' dreams. Visual and music cues assisted actors with timing.
Like any supermarket, the fictional Pack N Stack has bland shoppers, discontented workers, tyrannical managers, staff intrigues and power struggles. But there's one exception: this supermarket has a mythical beast, which only comes out at night to forage for food in the bulk bins and wreak havoc in the staff tea room.
‘The Beast of Pack n Stack’ explores whether the shoppers will find everything on their lists? Will the staff ever achieve their dreams? Who will finally catch the elusive ‘Beast of Pack n Stack?’

30 September 2007: Talking Up Disability
Living on a farm as a young child with polio, Edith Morris greatly appreciated the company of Radio New Zealand. These days she returns the favour by hosting a weekly half-hour magazine-style radio programme, Talking Up Disability, on Hamilton’s community radio station.
Edith aims to provoke and challenge those in the community who have a disability, focusing on living out of ability, not disability. Along with interviews, music and local happenings, she also hosts a website, with audio on demand, news and views, local disability resources and current events. (In Edith’s online interview from 10 July 2007, you can hear Meg Torwl talking about her plans for One in Five.)
Talking Up Disability is sponsored by the Waikato branch of the Disabled Persons Association, and Edith has been hosting the program since it started 18 months ago.

23 September 2007: Charles Tauhore, athlete
Charles Tauhore, is a dedicated worker and award winning athlete. He’s funny, charming, and blind. He talks about his work with the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind in Auckland, and the sports he plays at competitive regional, national and international levels - goal ball and cricket. He loves to swim and boogie board at Raglan and Piha, and one of his goals is to learn to surf.

16 September 2007: Ann Charlotte and the Benefit Review Committee
Ann Charlotte of Christchurch talks about the rewards and challenges of her work as a community representative on a Christchurch Benefit Review Committee, for Ministry of Social Development. If you receive a benefit, from Work and Income New Zealand, for example, as many disabled people do, and a decision about your benefits is made which seems to you in error you can ask to have the decision reviewed. We talk about how the review process works, what happens at a Benefit Review Committee hearing, how Ann Charlotte deals with her own disabilities in a work context, and how she remains aware of the needs of others during a hearing.

9 September 2007: Ashley
The troubling situation of U.S.A disabled child Ashley, whose parents had her sterilized and have hormonal treatment to stunt her growth, so that physically she will always remain a child. Disability, human rights, and bioethics experts discuss quality of life, and ethical medical issues.

2 September 2007: Shameless - the ART of Disability
Bonnie Sherr Klein talks about the provocative film she made with four other disabled artists, after a stroke interrupted her film career 17 years ago. ‘Shameless: the ART of Disability’ maps the territory where art, disability, activism and sexuality meet, and features five North American artists with disabilities: director Bonnie Sherr Klein; multi-media visual artist, curator and author Persimmon Blackbridge; dancer, KickstART Festival Director and visual artist Geoff McMurchy; writer, teacher, and human rights activist Catherine Frazee. U.S.A. based comedian, actor and writer David Roche. Each artist creates new work, and muses on what brought them to this time and place in their life, history and relationships.

26 August 2007: Huhana Hickey
Solicitor and human rights consultant Huhana Hickey discusses disability language, representation and rights from a Maori cultural perspective. She also discusses: Mana Tua a Kiri, a network for Maori women with disabilities that she is coordinating through the Maori Women’s Welfare League; the Maori with Disabilities discussion group Te Hunga Haua Awhina Roopu; Article 11 of the NZ Disability Strategy; and the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Contact the Mana Tua a Kiri network by email.

19 August 2007: Equity-for-Illness
Melanie Trevethick of Equity-for-Illness outlines her Human Rights Commission case, claiming discrimination based on disability acquired by illness, not covered by ACC.

12 August 2007: Maria Talks Back!
Maria Anderson, a young Samoan woman with a disability, has attitude. She discusses education, friendships, job prospects, and her plans to take talkback radio by storm!

5 August 2007: ThisAbility
Facilitator Lorna Boschman and participants discuss ThisAbility, a video training program for adults with intellectual disabilities. Gerry Juzenas, vice-president of the board of directors for the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion, and self-advocate, discusses his regional and international advocacy work, particularly with survivors who were once incarcerated in institutions for the ‘mentally handicapped’.

29 July 2007: Purerehua
It's Maori Language week, and 39% of deaf people under 19 are Maori. Purerehua, the butterfly is the sign for New Zealand Sign Language. Butterflies are free, independent, and deaf. Minister of Maori Affairs and Associate Minister of Education, Parekura Horomia, and trilingual interpreter Tania Simon talk about the importance of New Zealand Sign Language to Maori youth, in accessing Tikanga Maori.

22 July 2007: When is a house not a home?
Appropriate housing continues to be inaccessible for many disabled people, according to the findings of the Housing and Disability Report, commissioned by the Centre for Housing Research Aotearoa New Zealand (CHRANZ) and the Office of Disability Issues. With researcher Kay Saville-Smith from CRESA, the Centre for Research Evaluation and Social Assessment, and Jan Scown, director of the Office for Disability Issues.

15 July 2007: Functionally Diverse
Philip Patston discusses his latest work: 'Making it Easy to Do the Right Thing', a DVD offering inclusive, respectful and non-discriminatory services. We discuss his plans for Momentum09, an International Disability Arts Symposium in Auckland, and his experiences as a NZ Social Entrepreneur Fellow. And we get philosophical about his disability language theory of functional diversity.

8 July 2007: Krys Baker - Full Circle
Thirty years ago, Krys Baker, 18 and disabled, left New Zealand to travel the world. She returned from Sydney a teenage mother,and later continued her education and work as a volunteer in community organisations and a government department. She is back in Sydney as a case manager coordinating support services for people with disabilities. Musical introduction by Krys’ cousin, Hinemoana Baker: 'Blue Sky' from the album 'Puawai'.

1 July 2007: OpenI
OpenI is a media training programme for youth with disabilities, who work in small groups with disabled and non-disabled mentors to create their own videos. Featuring project coordinator Annalee Weinberger, audio excerpts from the youth videos, and what disabled youth themselves have to say about the project. See more at the Pacific Cinematheque.

24 June 2007: The Right to Life
Two perspectives, from Jo in New Zealand and Jeff in Canada, on fighting to take experimental drugs to treat life-threatening health conditions which no longer respond to current medications: HIV and Lupus.

17 June 2007: Sign of the Times
Featuring Victoria Manning and Paul Wolffram, directors of the film 'Sign of the Times', which documents the deaf community’s struggle for language and cultural recognition and screened at the Human Rights Film Festival. This celebrates the Launch of NZ Sign Language Week. (May 7 -13) and the passing of the NZ Sign Language Act in April 2006, which made sign language New Zealand’s third official language.
Learn how to say "Kia ora" or "Come over for a barbeque" in NZ Sign Language at the NZ Sign website. Full text of Ruth Dyson's speech at NZSL Week Launch Parliament May 7 2007.
We also have a full transcript of this programme. (NB: We do not normally provide transcripts of programmes). The second part of this programme, which considers the importance of NZSL to Maori, will air on 29 July.

10 June 2007: Te Whare Tapa Wha
Elizabeth Kerekere discusses her diverse human rights activities - in whangai (foster parenting), Takataapui Kapa haka group Tiwhanawhana, as an author, and Treaty Integration Consultant - in the context of Te Whare Tapa Wha, a Maori holistic approach to health, which helps her keep everything in balance.

Media and Disability Article

Women in Film and Television Vancouver. Fall Newsletter 2004


People with disabilities are one of Canada's largest minorities, 14.6% or 3.4 million people, yet we have little representation in media. (1) In January 2004 the CRTC passed a ruling requiring private broadcasters, to reflect positive portrayals of people with disabilities in their programming, in on air positions, and to reflect these changes in their December 2004 annual reports. For anyone moving towards this kind of integration I would recommend the report as a useful resource: CAB’s Draft Action Plan to Examine Issues Concerning the Presence, Portrayal and Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Television Programming. (2) These recent developments came only after a campaign by Don Peuramaki, and many others, to get disability back on the CRTC's agenda. Momentum towards equitable representation has been building for some time, says Don, a producer with Fireweed Media Productions, formerly of D-Net (Disability Network) a CBC TV, disability news program, which broadcast over 200 award winning programs including 70 documentaries 1990 - 97.

With the development of digital media, decreasing the cost, size, and weight of equipment, media making has become more accessible for many. People with disabilities are one of many communities, taking up cameras and telling our own stories. Barriers to full participation in media still exist, and there is a diversity of experience with technology; from no experience due to inaccessibility or poverty, to people who use technology everyday e.g. to communicate instead of speech. The cross over between adaptive and media technology, is resulting in innovative approaches to, and inventive uses of media technology.

Disability Film Festivals have occurred in the US, UK, Russia, Netherlands etc, for some years. In 2001 the Calgary SCOPE Society held the first International Disability Film Festival in Canada, Picture This, featuring films by or about people with disabilities. The Toronto Projections Film Festival, June 2004, featured films by people with disabilities. Such festivals are a great way to showcase the talent and diversity of work, within the community. However, it is important to integrate films by people with disabilities into film festivals generally, and not just in specialized or one-off screenings, to bring our work to a larger audience, and avoid "ghettoizing" films and filmmakers. We are media makers first, and people with disabilities second, which means our films may or may not deal with disability.

Why are we under represented in film and television programs, and production? Similar to visible minorities, First Nations, lesbian and gay, it comes from a history of segregation in society, marginalization, treated as "other", by the mainstream. The idea that we don't know what's good for us, can't live our own lives, is carried over into the media where we are not considered capable of formulating, telling, and producing our own stories. This kind of patronizing paternalism has led to negative, inaccurate and stereotyped media portrayals. Such as "inspiring innocent angels", "supercrips", "axe wielding psychos", "I'm disabled but I can still get the girl", storylines, and made for TV "crip of the week" movies.

Barriers to media makers with disabilities integration into media training programs and the industry are: structural, (e.g. lack of wheelchair access); funding (e.g. for sign language interpreters, note takers, adaptive technologies); services, (e.g. lack of accessible transit, appropriate tutors); attitudinal, (e.g. "those poor helpless/stupid/dependant cripples/blind/deaf"); fear based (e.g. "you're different/we don't know how to work with people with disabilities/what if it's really complicated/what if we do the wrong thing); time, (e.g. lack of flexible work hours,). Many more media makers with disabilities, are making their own media in their own time, in the more cooperative, arts, new media, independent: filmmaking, music and theater communities, than in the highly competitive and deadline driven movie and TV industries.

The majority of people with disabilities live below the poverty line, because of disability benefit rates, employment discrimination, part time and/or low paid jobs. "The most inescapable reality for women with disabilities is poverty. In Canada 74% of women with disabilities are unemployed."(3). Few of us are going to be able to afford to go to film school in the absence of designated scholarships, we are learning media through access studios, skill sharing, internships, self teaching.

People with disabilities are 9.9% of the working population aged 15-64. Reported rates of disability increase with age; 15 - 24, 4%; 25 - 44, 7%; 45 - 64, 16.3%. (4)
Within the film and television industry people with disabilities are engaged at the following rates. (5)

Employer % of Persons with Disabilities
CBC-Radio Canada 1.9%
Large private broadcasters 1.6%
Small private broadcasters 0.3%
Film and television production – employee identified 0.5%
National Film Board of Canada 1.5%
New Media – paid employees 1.8%
New media freelancers 4.6%
Teaching staff of screen-based programs, 0.7% - 2.0%.
Students in screen-based media programs, 0.4% - 1.4% ."

It is important to not over generalize, but closely analyze these stats in terms of how women, Aboriginal, and people of color are likely to be represented within them. Which means women with disabilities as teaching staff of screen-based programs, could be as low as 0.6%, and visible minority women with disabilities, 0.03%. Female media students with disabilities may be only 0.5%, and Aboriginal women with disabilities, 0.05% of film students. Clearly we have a long way to go to achieve representation at anything like our real presence in society. (7)

Media makers with disabilities are making our own films, lobbying for fair representation, funding, TV programs, training and mentorship programs. A recent local initiative is ACCESS NFB, which in the first 2 months has made contact with over 50 media makers with disabilities in the BC/Yukon area. The NFB will be holding a meeting with these media practitioners October 27th, which may result in a future screening and networking industry event. Increasing integration into all levels of the industry can only enrich the community of media producers and consumers, by bringing a diversity of experience, styles, innovations and stories to the larger community.

Meg Torwl is a filmmaker completing post-production on her feature documentary "Towards the day…we are all free", about women refugees in Canada from nine nations, and recently was Project Coordinator with ACCESS NFB, an outreach project to media makers with disabilities.

1. 4. Stats Canada. Participation and Activity Limitation Survey: A profile of disability in Canada 2001
2. 5. The CRTC ruling, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2004-2, clause 52.
CAB Action Plan
3. DAWN Ontario. Fact Sheet on Women and Disability
5. 6. 7. Frame Work: Employment in Canadian Screen-Based Media - A National Profile. Women in Film and Television Toronto Report. 2004.

Resources: (reference to 100's of films made by people with disabilities)
(Canada) and
(US) (UK) and - lists disability art/film fests worldwide