Dr Mark Bagshaw is a man on a mission and that is to change the perception of disability. The former IBM executive who has quadriplegia since a diving accident over 40 years ago has struggled to deal with the misconceptions people in the community hold about disability. So in 2013 with a little help from some influential contacts he set up the Able Movement. A non-government organisation, the aim is to empower people with disability to help change people’s attitudes using the social media network.
“We want to show the world that for the most part the current belief system around is that people with disability are less able and less capable and we know that is not true, they are just capable as anybody else. The reality is that most of the imagery that is presented in the media or in the public arena fits into one of two categories,” he told F2L. Bagshaw said it is either showcasing the challenging lives people with disability are leading and trying to get basic support to those at the other end of the spectrum who are achieving incredible things. He added that these images have to be balanced, “we need to throw out these tired old beliefs and convince the average citizen that you don’t have to be a super hero or a super motivated person to be a participating member of society. There are ordinary people with disability out there leading average lives and their stories never get told.”
But that is about to change. On February 11, the Able Movement will kick off its first campaign that will showcase a selection of personal videos from people with disability. According to Bagshaw while it is important to tell the story about those who are overcoming obstacles the primary objective is to show ordinary people getting on with their lives. “We invite them to record stories at home, at work or wherever they might be using their mobile phone, tablet, webcam or whatever technology they have to tell their story to the Australian people.” The stories will be available on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The Able Movement website goes live on February 12 and will have a tab for users to get information and tips on how to prepare their videos.
The videos will be edited by accredited video editor Christopher Hills, an 18-year old with cerebral palsy who uses a single switch on the headrest of his wheelchair to edit film.
The Able Movement has received pro bono support from the Boston Consulting Group and OddfellowsDentsu Advertising for the campaign. Apple is also running a series of workshops for people with disability at selected Apple stores to coincide with the launch.
For more information visit: www.theablemovement.com.au