“I have really enjoyed the whole legislative theatre process and having my concerns as a young disabled person highlighted and my voice heard by to those who can actively help to make much needed changes.”Amy, young Driver for Change.
“Attending the Democracy Pioneers event was a valuable reminder of how critical it is that we hear all voices. The performances brought these everyday challenges to life, and the overarching messages from the event have stayed with me. We must ensure that we are actively listening to the experiences of young disabled people and how we can implement climate actions that can reduce existing inequalities. As we move as quickly as we can towards net zero, involving disabled people and the organisations that represent them throughout the process will mean we build a fairer city as well as a more sustainable one.”Cllr Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction
GDA’s Young Drivers for Change members have just taken part in a Democracy Pioneers project funded in connection with the COP26 and facilitated by Katy Rubin, who founded Theatre of the Oppressed, NYC. The project delivered a powerful legislative theatre performance, though a summer pilot, then a formal Performance at the Technology & Innovation Centre, Strathclyde University, and finally a community performance at Calton Heritage and Learning Centre. The Project Team was made up of young GDA members and young people from YoMo (Young Movers) and was based on a technique which helps communities – such as disabled people- to create proposals and drive change in relation to their priorities. Yo“Attending the Democracy Pioneers event was a valuable reminder of how critical it is that we hear all voices. The performances brought these everyday challenges to life, and the overarching messages from the event have stayed with me. We must ensure that we are actively listening to the experiences of young disabled people and how we can implement climate actions that can reduce existing inequalities. As we move as quickly as we can towards net zero, involving disabled people and the organisations that represent them throughout the process will mean we build a fairer city as well as a more sustainable one.”ung members from both organisations shaped an interactive play highlighting some of their priorities, issues and barriers around climate change including:
- lack of support to participate meaningfully in decision making
- disabled people’s voices must shape and create a more accessible environment
- need for more accessible and affordable transport
- vital to address fuel and food poverty
- how lack of social care support impacts on disabled people’s buying choices, e.g. reliance on pre-prepared food and single use plastics.
- Challenging discriminatory attitudes – including ‘eco-ableism’.
Following a performance based on these themes, the young people worked with audience members to develop three key recommendations:
- More meaningful community engagement and ongoing dialogue: Use more diverse methods and forums to involve young people and disabled people in ongoing participation around climate policy, learning from the climate assembly, and/or legislative theatre. In order to be more effective all meetings should be welcoming, inclusive, fun and interactive.
- Transport improvements: Increase accessibility features on buses, including launching audio announcements, and more spaces on buses available for wheelchair users. The Glasgow Bus Partnership (which includes the bus companies and Glasgow City Council) should prioritise these improvements.
- Parks and Neighbourhood Planning: Involve young people’s organisations, disabled people’s organisations and other community groups in the current Open Space Strategy to identify which parks, open spaces and local food growing plots have high need and potential for redevelopment: ensure that these people and communities are able to then contribute to their design, so those facilities are accessible and multi-functional.
Democracy pioneers took place in partnership with Glasgow City Council & Shared Future CIC. GDA members involvement was also supported by Glasgow Centre for Population Health’s COP26 Small Grants Fund. The formal performance was attended by Councillor Anna Richardson, Glasgow City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, and Councillor Angus Millar, Chair of the Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Committee. This followed the pilot version of the performance which was delivered to Glasgow City Council staff working on the Glasgow Transport Strategy and the City Development Plan over the summer.
All of these teams have committed to consider incorporating the policy ideas and recommendations generated through the process into their respective plans, thus creating policy that better addresses young disabled people’s priorities.
They have committed to keeping participants informed of progress on these policies, and to engaging in ongoing dialogue with young disabled people around climate change and sustainability policy in Glasgow.
The final performance, took place on Saturday 23rd October, with friends, family and other community members attending and feeding in their ideas for creating a fairer, more accessible and more sustainable Glasgow for all. GDA members involved agreed that the process has given them confidence and amplified their voices to make sure disabled people’s priorities are central in developing climate and sustainability policy.
“….this is only the beginning of their journey as disabled climate activists!”Luke, one of GDA’s young members.
“We know climate justice and social justice go hand in hand, and we know that people experiencing poverty and younger people have contributed least but look like suffering most from the impact of the climate crisis. To avoid having decisions made at us we need more participation from communities too often excluded. Our invitation to participate has to be attractive, accessible and it must be able to make a difference. That’s why the work of Glasgow Disability Alliance and YoMo Glasgow’s Democracy Pioneers was so impressive. It was creative, engaging and had a real impact on the people participating and the decision makers invited in. We need more and better democracy and this made democracy fun.”David Reilly, Communities and Networks Manager, Poverty Alliance
So, lots to do! If you are a disabled person and interested in contributing your voice, please do get in touch.
If you are a planner, architect or engineer, we’d love to hear from you and discuss how we can support you to engage and support disabled people to contribute to public realm policy and design.
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