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Meet the real people behind their disabilities

21 August 2008

Our Stories exhibition meets the real people behind their disabilities

Leigh at work - photo by Hanne Johnsen


TheNewDowse is hosting a nationally-touring project from IHC and CCS Disability Action that aims to change New Zealanders’ attitudes towards disability.

The Our Stories exhibition runs from 13 September 2008 to 1 February 2009 (free entry) and challenges Kiwis to get to know people with disabilities – to see the person rather than the disability.

Based on Hanne Johnsen’s photographs and Glenn Busch’s book The Man With No Arms and Other Stories, the exhibition uses photographs, words and film to tell the stories of people with disabilities. Busch’s collaborators speak candidly of growing up, the importance of work, family, relationships, parenthood, and of wanting to be treated like everyone else in a world that still chooses to see them as different.

Our Stories is more than just an exhibition. This project includes workshops for schools and information evenings for employers (Tuesday 16 September) and service, sport and recreation groups (Tuesday 23 September). Our Stories sends the message that people with disabilities have a right to fully participate in the community, and deserve the access and attitudes from others to allow this.

For three weeks during the exhibition, primary school pupils will take part in awareness workshops, while intermediate school pupils will interview local guests with lived experience of disability and make a short documentary using the latest technology as part of the Film Fest workshop.

"The workshops break new ground, because people with disabilities are being profiled as the experts on their own lives. They will teach children about what an ordinary life means for them," says IHC New Zealand Inc Chief Executive Ralph Jones.

“Our Stories is a far bigger, more varied and more exciting project than was first planned. There is no better way to begin to understand the varied experiences disabled people have in their daily lives than to listen to and see their stories,” says David Matthews, CCS Disability Action Regional Manager, Upper South.

For more information, visit the website - or contact:

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