In 2005 we were commissioned by the NSW Government to create a campaign for the International Day of People with a Disability. We wanted to break through existing prejudices and cement the significance of the event by creating strong, ground-breaking (and eventually award-winning) campaigns. The preconceptions have their own supporting stories, and we call them stereotypes. To defeat preconceptions we turned their stereotypes against them.
We engaged some of Sydney’s best known fashion photographers and with them we created a campaign that presented People with a Disability as empowered, vital and proud. We did not broadcast disability in the images. The individuals were simply presented as they are. The psychological dissonance between image and reality confronted the viewers’ perceptions of what is ‘normal’ and the validity of stereotypes. The success of this campaign allowed us to pursue more challenging, and more effective, campaigns.
The Don’t DIS my ABILITY campaigns we created not only won awards, but also highlighted the sense of pride and empowerment among people with a disability.
Don’t DISmyABILITY Campaign, 2004–08 photography credits: 2004–2006 Juli Balla
2007 Petrina Hicks
2008 Harold David