AN EXHIBITION exploring campaigning for disability rights was launched in Ballarat last week.
Entitled Grassroots Democracy: The Campaign for Disability Rights, the exhibition is on show at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka.
Exploring the deinstitutionalisation of the 1970s, the right-based activism of the 70s and 80s and the recent introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the retrospective show is exhibited both in the museum and online.
Grassroots Democracy guest curator Ashley Heenan said the show aimed to start conversations about the disability rights movement in Australia by exploring key milestones of change and introducing the people behind that change.
“The disability rights campaign has a decades-long story. The same time that moratorium marches hit the streets of Australia to protest against Vietnam, so too was another grassroots movement making their voices heard.
“Deinstitutionalisation of Australians with disabilities was a result of many, often unrecognised people who wanted a better way of living, and control over their lives.
“Greater access to public transport and buildings, employment and study, family and community, was fought for by the campaign, and while there are still many gaps and omissions, this exhibition hopes to recognise just some of the campaign leaders of the past and present.”
Mr Heenan said he hoped conversations around disability rights would be ongoing, especially with the full roll-out of the NDIS.
“We need to draw from the strength and knowledge of the disability rights movement.”
Grassroots Democracy features 12 iconic photographs of disability rights leaders from past and present including Frank Hall-Bentick, Margaret Cooper, Craig Wallace, Drisana Levitzke-Gray, Gordon Prior, Joan Hume, John Walsh, Katherine Annear, Kelly Vincent, Lesley Hall, Stella Young and Uncle Lester Bostock.
The photos were taken by photographers from Ballarat and beyond including Belinda Mason, Margherita Coppolino, Aldona Kmiec, and Leon Woods.
M.A.D.E marketing and retail manager Zoe Bradshaw said the museum had partnered with the Google Cultural Institute to launch the online component of the exhibition.
“As part of the ongoing development of the exhibition online, M.A.D.E created a digital honour board to pay respect to those who worked and campaigned for the rights of Australians with a disability,” she said.
“M.A.D.E and the City of Ballarat are inviting communities around Australia to nominate a disability rights leader through the museum website.”
To nominate a campaigner, visit http://www.made.org
What: Grassroots Democracy: The Campaign for Disability Rights
When: Until July 29
Where: Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka
Tickets: Free upon entry to M.A.D.E