Hope all is well. It has been a little while since I have said hello and just wanted to update you on my progress with Culture Days.
In my last newsletter I mentioned taking my workshop, "Steelpan With Suzette", to the next level. This idea stemmed from an attendee, while attending the first National Congress on Culture, who mentioned the importance of being aware of ensuring that our workshops are accessible to all. Last year, I made sure the location of my workshop was wheelchair accessible. However, I left the conference thinking about her statement.
I had been recently thinking about my grandmother who had passed when I was about 9 years old.
She was a woman with a loving spirit who had become progressively blind due to glaucoma. She never had the opportunity to see or hear about my love for the steelpan since I took it up as a teenager.
I thought about what it would have been like for me to play for her and even get her to play.
A few days after the conference I said to myself, "I would like to give a steelpan workshop for the visually impaired and blind".
I had never done this type of workshop and connected with Catherine McLeod, Ontario Culture Days Interim Manager. Having previously been involved in art accessibility projects, she was able to give me some valuable advice and suggestions towards making this a reality.
I also put forth the idea to the Parliament Street Library who invited me to do a workshop for Culture Days. Branch manager Barry Gray was very supportive of my proposed workshop.
I know I have a lot of work ahead of me and I'm sure there are challenges I haven't envisioned but I am confident. Just knowing that I can connect and share my gift is a joy.
I really would like to reiterate the words that were told to us while sitting in the audience at the conference that day (paraphrased), “those that will be presenting an activity for Culture Days to consider making your workshop accessible to allow everyone to be able to participate”. At the end of the day, isn't that what it's all about?
"Communities that include everyone become stronger and everyone wins."