All Wales People First launches Through our Eyes exhibition and image library

‘Through Our Eyes’ shares the stories of people with learning disabilities in Wales through photographs and videos. A celebration event in the Senedd on the 24th November from 2-4pm will officially launch an exhibition and free image library.

The exhibition, running in the Senedd until the 4th February, challenges perceptions and stereotypes by highlighting the valued roles and activities of people with learning disabilities in our communities.

Through our exhibition you can learn about the things that matter to our community and the work that our self-advocates do to create a more inclusive and accessible world for everyone.

The event will launch our image library which contains free to use images of people with learning disabilities going about their lives. The images celebrate achievements in employment, volunteering, sport, education and other areas of life. They highlight the importance of self-advocacy, human rights and access to the essentials in life that most people take for granted.

Through Our Eyes represents people with learning disabilities in their own words and as they see themselves.

Join us in changing the picture.

All Wales Chief Executive, Joe Powell said, “‘For too long other people have owned the narrative for people with learning disabilities. If other people own our narrative then we become whatever others say we are. This has contributed to negative, deficit centred perceptions which have kept us isolated from our communities and unable to take our place
as active and equal citizens in Wales. Our members wanted to change this, by portraying learning disability ‘Through Our Eyes’.

The Covid 19 pandemic highlighted the fact that many people with learning disabilities are viewed as having lives that are of less value and quality than other citizens. This was especially prevalent in the issuing of highly inappropriate DNR notices for some.

I hope this project helps, not only to show that people with learning disabilities are ‘people first’ but are human beings, with hopes, dreams and aspirations like anyone else.’

Lucy Hinksman is the Through Our Eyes project worker and a photographer with a learning disability. Lucy said, “It is amazing how people with learning disabilities and autism have a great lifestyle and I was proud to go around Wales and capture everyone’s lives, doing things like sport, employment and being parents.

The exhibition shows the things we want to tell the world about. We are all equal and we all have a voice. We should have the opportunities to do the same things that everyone else can. People with learning disabilities can do things that other people wouldn’t expect, like driving a tractor and winning medals doing sports.

We hope that people can see all of the incredible things that we do and realise that everyone can achieve their goals in life.”

Note to editors:

* All Wales People First is the united voice of self-advocacy groups and people with learning disabilities in Wales. All Wales People First is an organisation for, and led by men and women with a learning disability.

* The Through Our Eyes project is funded by the People and Places programme of the National Lottery Community Fund. Starting in April 2020, just as the pandemic hit, the project was adapted for online delivery until face to face photoshoots and workshops could take place. The project will conclude in December 2022.

* The project has undertaken over 40 photoshoots with members and People First groups across Wales involving more than 250 individuals.

* The Through Our Eyes exhibition opens in the Senedd on November 16th and runs until February 4th. The project photographers are Natasha Hirst and Lucy Hinksman.

* The end of project celebration event and launch of the online image library takes place on the 24th November. First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS will be the keynote speaker, arriving at 2pm and will be joined by Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice and sponsor of the exhibition.

* The image library contains free images of people with learning disabilities and can be used to illustrate articles, features and
content on a range of issues. Topics do not need to be related to learning disability since we aim to normalise the representation and participation of people with learning disabilities in daily life.

* What is self-advocacy?

Pic: Stacey yn Ynys y Barri. Natasha Hirst, Through Our Eyes.

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