Write-ability Goes Regional and Online

Monday, February 13, 2017
By: 
Write-ability

Write-ability

Writers with disability will benefit from a new program announced by Writers Victoria at the Having a Say Conference in Geelong last week.

Write-ability Goes Regional and Online is a three-year program for aspiring writers with disability living in regional Victoria. The project has been assisted by the Australian government through the Department of Communication and the Arts’ Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund.

Bridging the gap between mainstream arts and disability communities, the Write-ability program is one of the only disability-led literary initiatives in Australia.  Beginning  in 2012 as a partnership with Arts Access Victoria, the program aims to engage with and support writers with disability, who are hugely under-represented in the writing and publishing sector.

Highly commended at the 2016 Victorian Disability Awards, Write-ability supports writers who face barriers to participation and the development of their skills, practice and writing careers.

Starting in Ballarat in April 2017, Write-ability Goes Regional and Online will target eight regions over the next three years, delivering:

  • Workshops, author talks and webinars for people with disability interested in writing.

  • Professional development for arts and disability organisations.

Following the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the program will then move onto the Loddon region, Inner and Outer Gippsland, Ovens Murray, Western Districts, Goulburn and Mallee regions.

Write-ability Goes Regional and Online will take an innovative delivery approach by supporting people with disability doubly marginalised by living in regional areas.

“It is clear that disabled writers in regional areas are further disadvantaged and often invisible, but this program is a reminder that we exist and we are worthy,” said Write-ability participant Michelle Roger. “That is a powerful message for not just myself as a disabled writer but for all disabled people.”

Key to the success of this disability-led initiative is the employment of coordinators, writers and mentors who identify as people with disability to provide role-models and peer support.

This unique model uses writing and literature as a tool for community cultural development. The program has been designed around the importance of self told stories, disability leadership, peer support, and the need for the quietest voices to be heard.

“There need to be more people with disability telling our stories across all types of media,” said Write-ability tutor Carly Findlay. “Telling our own stories educates, reduces stigma, pity, exploitation and sensationalism, and raises the level of expectation that society has about people with disability.”

The program will also have a national impact through an innovative suite of online activities, videos and legacy research, helping to diversify the range of voices that represent Australian life and culture.

For more information about the program or how to get involved, email Fiona.

Credits

The Write-ability program is a partnership between Writers Victoria and Arts Access Victoria. This project has been assisted by the Australian government through the Department of Communication and the Arts’ Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund. Write-ability is also supported by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and the Grace Marion Wilson Trust.

Comments

My daughter who is a keen writer would love to be involved in these programs ,Do you know when they will be in Gippsland ?We live in Inverloch but would be happy to travel so she could participate .

Hi Noelle,
Based on our current schedule, the Write-ability Goes Regional and On-line program will be in Inner Gippsland which includes Inverloch for the 'Own Voices – Why Writing Matters' Forum in December 2017. The Inner Gippsland Writers Groups will run from January–August 2018. Please contact regional@writersvictoria.org.au to be added to our mailing list for further updates.
WV

Does living in Melton count as regional and how do you qualify a person's disability?

Hi Terry,
Melton is in the Brimbank Melton NDIS area, which is a metropolitan region and therefore doesn’t fall within the scope of the Write-ability Goes Regional and Online program.
Upcoming metro-based opportunities include Write-ability: What about YA? with Shivaun Plozza in August (https://writersvictoria.org.au/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=286) and Write-ability: Finding the Form with Karen Andrews in September (https://writersvictoria.org.au/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=287).
Currently the 2017 Write-ability Fellowships are open for applications: https://writersvictoria.org.au/calendars/opportunities-competitions/2017...

The Write-ability program is based on the social model of disability, where we rely on self-identification and don’t ask participants for ‘proof’ or ‘qualify’ people as having disability. Both the above events are free for writers who self-identify as a person with disability, or as someone who experiences barriers as a result of their condition. These barriers include the lack of physical access, communication barriers, discrimination or other people’s attitudes. This includes (but isn't limited to) people with sensory or physical impairments, hidden impairments, ongoing medical conditions, intellectual impairments, learning difficulties or mental health conditions.​​

Hi there. I live in Belgrave. I think we class as regional here. Just wondering if my area will be included?

Hi, Sue.

The Write-ability Goes Regional and Online (WGRO) program follows the NDIS regions and Belgrave, as part of the Yarra Ranges council area, falls into the Outer Eastern metropolitan region and won’t be included in the WGRO program.

However, you can sign up to take part in any webinars run as part of the WGRO program or any metropolitan-based Write-ability events. See our calendar (https://writersvictoria.org.au/calendars/events) for more information.

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