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IDOPWD Celebration

Attending the Access2Arts International Day of People With Disability soiree was a real breath of fresh air – literally.

The spectacular rooftop garden venue above the Access2Arts office had beautiful views and a light breeze (and lots of people praying for the rain to hold off!).

But, to be perfectly honest, after the first few minutes, I forgot all about the gorgeous venue in favour of the event itself. I’ve been to many events for December 3 over the years, almost all of them involving speeches and inspirational presentations by and about disabled people who have achieved something or been a role model or some other admirable feat. I do love hearing about other people’s lives, although sometimes it can get to a point of overload at this time of year.

The thing that I enjoyed most about the A2A event was not (just) that the one speech went for under 60 seconds. Or that the space was full of disabled people leading artistic and interesting lives. (Although both of those things were supercool all by themselves). But the best thing was that the event was so relaxed that I had the opportunity to hang out (to the tunes of DJ TR!P, no less) with the artists and arts workers who A2A works for without stopping for scheduled inspirational speeches.

Among my highlights of the evening, I got to chat to a dancer I’ve admired for ages, a performer who’s off overseas this week on a professional adventure, an audio describer who’s about to go to the UK on a British Council award tour and lots of other people doing stuff I’d never heard of before.

Two of the people I got chatting to were telling me all about new software available for DJs who are vision impaired (a whole new world for me, as I grew up in a house with two deaf parents and wasn’t aware that the radio in the car played music until I was about 12).

I had a great night and left feeling inspired by art and artists looking forward to a whole new year of creativity and imagination. Bring on 2014!

PHOTOS by Freddie Brincat and Amber Venner

Amber is a professional Auslan interpreter and also runs a video production and public relations company specialising in disability and Deaf accessible communications.