Addressing barriers

We have a disability-heavy issue of The Uniter this week. Too often, folks with disabilities are excluded from venues, institutions and other spaces through a lack of accessible infrastructure and broader cultural stigma. The reality is, despite the high percentage of Canadians who live with disabilities, it’s easy for those in power to simply not consider their needs.

Our writing in this issue examines ways we can change those perceptions and consider the needs of others. Arts and culture reporter Hannah Foulger’s cover story focuses on a lack of accessibility in Winnipeg’s art scenes. Specifically, she examines how this impacts not just audiences, but the artists themselves.

Arts and culture reporter Naaman Sturrup looks at Gallery 1C03’s exhibition Yearning for Comfort, Not Cure, which aims to elevate conversations about disability and make them central to how audiences interact with art. And columnist Crystal Rondeau explores how personal support workers can make a massive difference in the lives of those living with disabilities, helping to remove those barriers.

People who don’t live with disabilities might not understand that the majority of barriers experienced by those who do aren’t necessarily barriers related to disability. They’re barriers created by institutions, whether intentionally or through ignorance. Hopefully by bringing these conversations to the forefront, we can encourage folks to consider these realities before making decisions that create barriers.

– Thomas Pashko

Published in Volume 74, Number 14 of The Uniter (January 16, 2020)

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