Arts and culture help people understand themselves
Deb Bartlett

Being involved with the Wide Angle Media (WAM) Festival is the latest development in posAbilities’ focus on using arts and culture as a way to incorporate developmental disability into mainstream media.

PosAbilities program director Gord Tulloch says the organization has been focusing for the past two years on developing relationships with regional arts and culture players.

“We think that although we are a service provider with a broad spectrum of services, there are all kinds of critical social impact that could be made just by broadening the social horizons of our communities,” says Gord.

“We believe very strongly that arts and culture is one of the ways of doing that,” he adds.

WAM is B.C.’s first film festival for filmmakers who have a disability.

The festival producer is S. Siobhan McCarthy, an independent film producer and artistic director of Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture.

The festival will be held March 22-25 at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre in Vancouver, and will feature five films by people who have a disability.

Gord says Kickstart has been talking about a festival for more than a year, and posAbilities has been involved since March of 2011.

He says posAbilities was interested from the start because the organization is keen on being part of any opportunity that promotes disability, especially developmental disability.

PosAbilities is providing financial support to the festival, help with communications and media support and volunteers for the event.

Gord says being able to see a movie that opens the imagination to different possibilities and to be greeted or helped by someone who has a disability “makes it real, makes it tangible, makes a connection.”

He says posAbilities believes that arts and culture are important for how a society of peoples understand themselves and their place in the world.

“It’s an incredibly important place for producing imagination, empathy, learning about different ways of being in the world; about different voices, different stories, it stretches us and we learn,” says Gord.

For more information on Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture and the festival, click here.

To comment on this story, or to share your experience with disability in the media, contact Deb at 800-294-0051 ext. 30, or e-mail deb(at)