Featuring Disabled and d/Deaf artists across Victoria at the CLIMARTE Gallery, this thought-provoking exhibition offered a platform for artists to express their distinct viewpoints on the pressing issues of climate change.
I was asked by curator Louise Marson to speak alongside City of Yarra’s Mayor, Councillor Claudia Nguyen, and artists Jane Trengove and Fiona Tuomy. I spoke about the reckoning the climate movement needs to have on its exclusion of disabled people, and paid tribute to the passion and dedication of the exhibiting artists as climate activists.
This was also my first time exhibiting my own visual art. I started working on collages during the Covid lockdowns as a way to work through my writers block and explore new artistic mediums. When I saw the callout for disabled artists to contribute work about climate change, I knew it was time to challenge myself and enter my work.
The exhibition is open until August 5, and I urge you to visit the gallery and experience the artworks for yourself.
I was proud to be a part of the M/other event at the Wheeler Centre. The whole weekend was a dream program with so many amazing people discussing the politics of motherhood and parenting. I cannot recommend enough that you watch the sessions once they are up online on the Wheeler Centre website.
I had the pleasure of talking about the body as it relates to pregnancy and post-partum as part of a panel with April Helen-Horton (The Bodzilla), Frankie Valentine and Eleanor Jackson. I could have continued the conversation for hours. There just isn’t enough frank, truthful discussion about how our bodies change when we give birth or the ways that our bodies are controlled, perceived and judged in this era of our lives.
I write about being a disabled person, artist and parent. It’s rare, though, that I get to work as a disabled producer putting together an event about disability and for the disabiity arts community. In producing Meeting Place I have finally been able to do this.
Meeting Place is Australia’s annual form on arts, culture and accessibility. It is held annually and brings Deaf, disabled and non-disabled artists with disability together with industry leaders in an accessible and supported space, to present, perform, discuss and debate the latest in arts and accessibility.
This year Meeting Place took place as part of Alter State Festival, presented in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne and Arts Access Victoria. I was able to bring together artists and arts workers I have long admired such as Caroline Bowditch, Gayle Kennedy, Elvin Lam, Joshua Pether, Fayen D’Evie, Fiona Tuomy, Kath Duncan, Larissa MacFarlane, Meret Hassanen, Renay Barker-Mulholland, Robert K Champion and Eliza Hull for workshops, panel discussions and performances. I hope it was as enjoyable for the participants and audience as it was for me.
I’m incredibly proud to be included in this anthology published today by Black Inc. which gathers together stories from disabled parents from Australia. My chapter reflects on how my feminism and disability politics have informed my parenting and vice versa. Spoiler alert: they’re impossible to extricate from each other!
Whether you’re a parent, a person with a disability or have a disabled parent or parent-to-be in your life, this collection is a terrific way to learn about the resilience and tenacity of our community.
You can purchase the book at your local independent bookstore or here online.
How does a father who is blind take his child to the park? How is a mother with dwarfism treated when she walks her child down the street? How do Deaf parents know when their baby cries in the night?
When writer and musician Eliza Hull was pregnant with her first child, like most parents-to-be she was a mix of excited and nervous. But as a person with a disability, there were added complexities. She wondered: Will the pregnancy be too hard? Will people judge me? Will I cope with the demands of parenting? More than 15 per cent of Australian households have a parent with a disability, yet their stories are rarely shared, their experiences almost never reflected in parenting literature.
In We’ve Got This, twenty-five parents who identify as Deaf, disabled or chronically ill discuss the highs and lows of their parenting journeys and reveal that the greatest obstacles lie in other people’s attitudes. The result is a moving, revelatory and empowering anthology. As Rebekah Taussig writes, ‘Parenthood can tangle with grief and loss. Disability can include joy and abundance. And goddammit – disabled parents exist.’
Contributors include Jacinta Parsons, Kristy Forbes, Graeme Innes AM, Jessica Smith OAM, Jax Jacki Brown OAM, Nicole Lee, Elly May Barnes, Neangok Chair, Renay Barker-Mulholland, Micheline Lee and Shakira Hussein. We’ve Got This will appeal to readers of Growing Up Disabled in Australia and other titles in the Growing Up series.
‘Full of deep, beautiful, important stories. I’ve learnt so much from this book.’—Clare Bowditch, musician, actress and radio presenter
I’ve got an article up on ABC Everyday about my experience of the pandemic as a disabled parent. I’d love for you to pop over to the site and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt for you.
The supports I and my family have built into our lives to support my disability have proven to be some of the most useful factors in finding our way through these challenging times.
My disability has made me resilient. It has taught me to be flexible, ready to adapt and refocus on any given day depending on what life throws at us.
I know that even on the worst day it’s the little things that will get you through. These skills happen to be exactly what is needed during our current circumstances.
I wanted to reframe the misconception that having a disability means only having a list of deficits. My own experience is that as much as my disability can limit me, it has also given me valuable skills. Some of which I’m drawing on right now.