K’jipuktuk/Halifax — December 3 is recognized as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). It was first proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) in 1992, following the International Year of the Disabled Person in 1981 and the UN Decade of Disabled Persons, 1983-1992. The day was created to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities, and to increase awareness of their experiences in all areas of society. Disabilities, which can be visible or invisible, are experienced differently by each person, and can intersect with other forms of identity.
The theme for IDPD this year is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.” We have all seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified pre-existing barriers to accessibility and has a disproportionate impact on persons with disabilities.
Today, I invite you to watch Dr. Eliza Chandler’s talk delivered at NSCAD on November 2, 2021, titled Critical Inclusions: Disability Arts Practices Towards Cultural Transformation and to think about the significant ways in which artists are challenging normative leadership models and decolonizing disability. Click here to access the talk.
Here at NSCAD we inhabit spaces that are, in some circumstances, fully inaccessible. Accessibility and the rights and needs of people with disabilities is a central part of our planning, and we are actively finding ways to prevent and remove barriers. Through NSCAD’s EDI Targeted Action Plan (EDI TAP) and the complementary work of the Accessibility Working Group, NSCAD affirms our shared commitment and responsibility to the creation of an equitable environment. But on this day, to those persons with disabilities who are the forefront of this work, we must say thank you for making visible how far we have yet to go.
I would also like to thank publicly the members of the Accessibility Working Group: Mara Toombs (Chair. Community member), Anwen Service (student), Carleana de Wilde (student), Charisma Grace Walker (Director, Opportunity and Belonging), Isabelle Nault (AVP Operations), Ann-Barbara Graff (Provost), Leanne Dowe (CFO), Jayne Wark (faculty), Karen Keddy (community member), Laura Carswell (community member), Megh Dorward (student), Lucky Howard (community member), Ratish Mohan (Registrar).
Dr. Ann-Barbara Graff
Vice-President (Academic & Research) and Provost