As the snow has almost cleared and we are back into the swing of things, resumes my undergrad research. In December during finals weeks. I hosted an art exhibit featuring works by the artist studied. The exhibit was a success. It gave me so much joy to see how simple giving someone the platform and the right tools to express themselves, completely opens the door to all new possibilities. For many of the artist they have never had the chance to be celebrated and validated. This exhibit utilized technology to show case their work and left them with a invaluable sense of pride. In speaking to their family members present it really made this research so much more meaningful and worthwhile. It has taught me that we should never underestimate the importance of validation and encourage others to be creative and to do their best. Art is more than ascetic it is also a non-verbal form of advocacy.
At this point I think I have learned the most through my setbacks dealing with the artist themselves. There have been issues such as scheduling set backs leading up to the exhibit and one artist did not show up to the exhibit, which was not a problem but he did not get the opportunity to advocate for himself, ad I wish he would have been there. Now that the exhibit portion our research is over I will be putting more of my focus and energies into the research for the paper. But the success of the exhibit and the reaction from the artist is motivation to have this valuable research accessible and heard, so that myself and Professor Lawler may advocate for those with disabilities and also the importance the arts and technology bear on the individuals on the spectrum.
I have really enjoyed getting to know the artist I’m working with. The experience so far has been incredibly rewarding. From my experience in working with individuals with disabilities I have found that passion is a key to happiness. The artist I am learning from all have a story and passion behind why they make the art they do. From Corey who draws nature scene to Stephen who comes from a family of photographers, their passion is what drives and excites them. This has made researching all the more enjoyable for me as I get to listen to their anecdotes about their inspirations and get to see their creativity come to life as I continue to piece together their stories for the exhibit being held by Dr.Lawler’s CIS102W class who works with adults with disabilities. It is through this class that I have been able to connect with the Artist. This Wednesday I am actually going out to the community programing center native to one of the artist to see his pieces that are their on display.
Recently there has been more research done on the role of the arts and technology in regards to its impact on those with disabilities. As I read articles and conduct research I really have been able to see first hand how these mediums effect the individuals. It is a beautiful thing to see someone who struggles to speak express them selves through a communication device such as a VOCAS or seeing their emotions reflected through their drawings and paintings. It is worthwhile to consider the role in business in developing such a market to manufacture and produce these technologies. Especially consider when you move out of the metropolitan area and consider those with disabilities living in communities that don’t provide the necessary education and programing outlets for these individuals.
Understanding the Role of the Arts, Technology, and Disability
In working with adults with developmental disabilities I have learned that their silence is not because they have nothing to say, but rather the lack of means to communicate with others. Through art and technology, those with disabilities have found ways of communication that provide them with the ability to connect to others like never before. Dr. Lawler’s Web Design for non-profits class has established a partnership with AHRC in which students use technology to facilitate communication and advocacy amongst the people. The three artists participating in this showcase are currently in Dr. Lawler CIS102w class that partners with AHRC.
Our plan for this research is to engage the three artists from AHRC to learn about their art and also their backgrounds, to better understand them as individuals. With this understanding, we hope to promote awareness and advocacy amongst a community often disregarded. In December, we will be hosting an exhibit showcasing the work of the three artists, allowing them the opportunity to communicate with other using art and technology, as an extension of themselves.
- Produce a product that the artist can be proud of.
- Empower the artists to present their products with mobile / multimedia / social media technology.
- Educate the community on the importance of the arts/ media and disability
- Achieve funding for research programs at Pace.
Having worked with Dr. Lawler before in CIS102w I have seen first hand how important technology and the arts can be to individuals with disabilities. This medium has been tremendous in bridging the gap between those with disabilities and those without. Through further research I hope to be able to contribute more to the advancement of those with disabilities. Working with the artist from AHRC provides me with invaluable primary sources. Through our library session with Ben Peck, I have been able to target my research, and have been finding really interesting works to supplement my understanding of the role of technology and those with disabilities.