Kim Stewart from the Ability Radio Project
Kim Stewart from the Ability Radio Project

The Ability Radio Project is a Brisbane based social inclusion initiative engaging people with intellectual disabilities (ID) through radio.

In August 2015, co-coordinator Kim Stewart gave a guest presentation to the Centre for Communication and Social Change, explaining why she started the project.

“In my experience of work with people with ID, there is a great need to be heard – to tell one’s story in one’s own voice,” she says.

“This is not easy given many people from this group have spent their lives in institutions where behaving, agreeing and complying with authority are expected.

“Learning to use your own voice is a challenge too.”

The project is a co-production between 4ZZZ Radio, the Community Living Association and WWILD.

It offers 14 week courses for participants with ID to learn radio production skills and have their work broadcast on 4ZZZ and the Community Radio Network.

Kim says people with ID make up about three per cent of the Australian population, but remain largely unheard in mainstream and community media.

“Community radio in Australia was founded on the notion that everyone should be able to participate in the social, cultural and political life of the nation,” she says.

It has done so admirably with regard to CALD communities, LBGT communities and Indigenous groups and has played a part in enhancing their rights and empowerment.

“It has not been so successful with regards to disability, with just a handful of stations airing programs that give voice by people with disabilities.”

Listen to audio from the project’s Voiceabilities series online.

More information on the Ability Radio Project can be found on their website.

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