E-Blast – Launch of QDN Hot Topics Digital Stories at Griffith Film School, Southbank as part of Disability Action Week

QDN was pleased to co-host with Griffith University, the launch of the Hot Topics Local Support Group Digital Stories as part of Disability Action Week on Tuesday 11 September 2018. The digital stories are a collection of individual and group

stories produced as part of a joint project with QDN, Griffith University and University of Queensland. The event was attended by over 60 guests including family and friends of QDN’s Brisbane Hot Topics members (a self-advocacy group by and for people with intellectual disability) as well as different policy and decision-makers, including Clare O’Connor, Director-General Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors; Natalie Siegel-Brown, Public Guardian for Queensland and Paul Grevell, Executive Director Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, representatives from Office of Public Advocate and Digital Capability Development, Department of Housing and Public Works.  The event was also attended by key community leaders across the disability and community sector with a strong commitment to supporting the voice of people with intellectual disability to influence and inform public policy.

Brisbane Hot Topics is one of QDN’s 22 local support groups that operate around the state. The name Hot Topics was developed by the group when they first started as they wanted to get information, talk about and address the issues that are ‘hot topics’ in their lives. The group has been operating for over 10 years and is a dedicated peer network by and for people with intellectual disability with Donna Best as the group’s convenor.

Paige Armstrong, QDN’s CEO said, “Our Brisbane Hot Topics is a group that shows what it takes to be a leader, to have the courage to speak up about important issues and the power of the collective voice to influence change.”

Griffith University partnered with QDN on this project as part of research to look at the effectiveness of digital story telling as a tool for change and a way of communicating about inclusive policies and practices by and from people with disability to influence decision makers.

Dr Paul Harris, Senior Lecturer (Disability Studies), School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University and a team from Griffith University including Griffith Film School and students, and Dr Kathy Ellem Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Queensland in partnership with QDN staff Jen Barrkman and Lou Abson worked with the Hot Topics group members on this project.

The project worked to build the capacity of people with intellectual disability to create their own digital stories. Dr Ellem said “the task for everyone else was to provide the space and opportunity to have these stories heard.”

Dr Paul Harris said “When commencing the project so we could be clear about the purpose and messages, the Hot Topics members were asked who they wanted to hear their stories and they indicated it was a mix of those closest them to and government decision-makers. It is great to see that this is the mix of people in the room today for the launch of these stories.”

The digital stories produced included seven individual stories and one group stories. The group developed a collective story about how they came together, important priorities and how they have influenced change. The individual stories cover a range of personal stories about the challenges people have experienced in being listened to and being heard, and their leadership and self-advocacy.

Ms Clare O’Connor, Director-General, Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors said, “The launch of Digital Stories is about leadership and participation.  People with disability have a wealth of experience, knowledge and innovative ideas that they can contribute. I congratulate the Hot Topics group members, Griffith University and Queenslanders with Disability Network on this important initiative.”

Mr Morrie O’Connor, President of Queensland Division of Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability officially launched the digital stories. Mr O’Connor said,  “My congratulations to the story tellers who appear in Digital Stories, to QDN, to Griffith and UQ; this project is part of that long journey where people with intellectual disability claim voice and claim their equal value.”

Click here to view the group story