REDLAB- A University of Guelph Initiative

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While reading my alumni magazine for the University of Guelph I came across Project Revision. The project, which is led by Carla Rice, a professor in U of G’s Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, “uses arts-based methods to dismantle stereotypical understandings of disability and difference that can create barriers to healthcare, education, and inclusion in society.”

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The University of Guelph opened REDLAB (re-visioning differences media arts laboratory) in 2013, which is a place where participants can turn their story into a 2-3 minute video. While there are other disability groups and projects around, and even some that focus on the arts, there are none that are using video to change health-care or educational providers’ perceptions of disability.
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According to those working on this initiative, people with disabilities often have a more challenging time with healthcare than those who do not.

Just ask Eliza Chandler in Toronto. The 31-year-old has cerebral palsy, although that’s not always what takes her to the doctors office. ‘I experience this when I go to the doctor for earaches. They assume I’m there for my disability,’ says Chandler, who this year completed a PhD at the University of Toronto and has begun a post-doc in Ryerson University’s School of Disability Studies…It would be a benefit to have doctors with a more nuanced understanding of disability.

Aspects of Project Revision have been shown at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, and their exhibit “inVisibility: Indigenous in the City” (a look at Aboriginal students educational experiences) was featured at the John B. Aird Gallery in Toronto. I would be interested in seeing some of the videos and hearing more about the changes that are being made because of them. It’s an interesting idea and I hope that as the project grows it will become more “accessible” to the general public.

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