Taishoff Center Hosts PHOTOVOICE Exhibit to Spread Voices of Disabled Community

The Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education is hosting the photography exhibit “PHOTOVOICE Changing the Image of Disabilities: Reflections and Resolutions,” a national project that gives community groups a voice through photography and poetry.

PHOTOVOICE is free and open to the public and will be on display in the Hoople Special Education Building, 805 S Crouse Ave., through the fall 2011 semester. Descriptive tours for people with visual impairments will take place Sept. 28 and Oct. 11 at noon.

PHOTOVOICE began as a project on the campuses of Eastern Michigan University and the University of South Carolina in which disabled students were given cameras to express their emotions through art. The project has since spread to more than a dozen campuses nationally, and now includes hundreds of pieces of artwork, including poems and photos created by disabled college students.

PHOTOVOICE came to Syracuse University for display at the Taishoff Center’s DisAbled & Proud conference in August 2011, along with its student curator. After the overwhelming response from DisAbled & Proud, the organizers from the University of South Carolina agreed to lend the exhibit to SU for the fall 2011 semester.

Wendy Harbour, Lawrence B. Taishoff Professor of Inclusive Education in the School of Education and executive director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, first saw the exhibit at the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) international conference in Seattle in July 2011. She made the decision to bring the exhibit to SU for DisAbled & Proud because of how “authentic the pieces of art are, being created by non-professionals, and how its raw qualities provide multiple perspectives on disability.”

Harbour says she’s excited to see an exhibit like this come to SU in a secure, public place where many different people can experience it. “I’ve seen many visitors, students, staff and faculty all looking at the art,” Harbour says. “The fact that it literally stops people in their tracks says a great deal about the strength of the images and how they get people thinking.”

Images in the PHOTOVOICE exhibit are accompanied by Braille descriptions so visitors with visual impairments can experience them. Poetry in the exhibit also contains Braille translation.

For more information, call the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at 315-443-1288.