Saturday 31 October 2020

"That was when I realized that through dance I could communicate, and that saved my life."

One day, my mother took me to see Oakland Ballet’s “Nutcracker.” Being Deaf, when I would watch TV or go to the movies, I couldn’t connect with what I was seeing because it was not accessible for me — usually lacking captions or ASL interpreters. I would miss all the jokes. When I watched the Oakland Ballet, it was wonderful. No one was talking on stage; instead, everyone was dancing as a way to communicate. It showed me that I can use art and dance to communicate with the world.

That was the day I knew I wanted to be a ballet dancer. My mom couldn’t afford to take me to dance lessons, so I had to wait until high school to dance. It was a long wait. I was a person that no one understood; therefore, I became a person who felt I had no place in the world. It was a depressing feeling of being an outcast and left out of everything.

My high school dance teacher Dawn James taught modern and jazz, and she believes the spirit of dance lives in everyone … including me. Whenever she danced, it was powerful — a Black woman was giving me permission to find power in myself. She didn’t treat me differently, even though I was the only Deaf student in her class.

One day, she gave us a class assignment to collaborate in groups and come up with a dance performance to Whitney Houston’s song “I Will Always Love You.” Students were supposed to work together, but no one wanted to work with me. So, Ms. James told me to make up my own dance and perform a solo. I couldn’t really hear the words, but I read the lyrics on the back of cassette tape then clicked play and initially rocked side to side expressing the cold and loneliness I felt. During the powerful instrumental break, however, I was suddenly all over the room, my body channeled the lightning, fire, wind and ocean I sensed in the music. When the music ended, I faded off my dance. My classmates were blown away. They told me, “I really felt you were cold and alone.” That was when I realized that through dance I could communicate, and that saved my life.

I could remember that feeling I had when I watched the Oakland Ballet. Dance has the power to communicate, and I felt I could channel that power to communicate with others around me and they would understand me. I no longer wanted to die. (...)

As a dancer, people will say to me, “Oh, you can feel the vibration, that’s it, you’ll be fine.” No. If I jump, I can’t feel the vibration. If I’m running around really fast, I can’t feel the vibration. I have to slow down and stay in one place for a while to feel the vibration. So what does that mean? I’m listening. I’m using every intelligence of my being to do what I have to do to make it work.

For me, this often means creatively finding visual cues to stay on beat. So sometimes, I’d try to see what was happening with the light. Maybe the light would feel the vibration, and I could see what the rhythm is. Or I look at the musicians, and they’re bopping their heads or tapping their feet. I say, “Oh OK, that’s what the rhythm is.”

My body started to develop Deaf instincts, it’s like mother instinct or animal instinct — or like a Spiderman sense. Some people say, “How do you know when the music starts? Or the music changes?” Well, it’s my Spiderman sense. We love feeling the vibration. We don’t just like to feel loud shaky beats, but also clarity in the music through the vibrations. (...)

My work, deeply rooted in social change, will uplift marginalized communities, expose hidden truths through arts while breaking down barriers of judgments from those with white and/or hearing privileges. Marginalized Deaf communities include those who are Deaf youth, Black Deaf, POC Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, LGBTQIA, and other intersecting identities.

Antoine Hunter

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photographs via and via

Friday 30 October 2020

Body Care

"In Body care series, I pose as a modern man who presents a desperate desire to be forever young. Once I stumbled on a nose-slimming pin in the online shop. I remembered my childhood complexes and started to buy seemingly pointless treatments to stop aging and somehow improve my appearance. There is no evidence that a cream or a mask actually work. The irony is: we’d need a lifetime to find out which would make a difference."
Arseniy Neskhodimov

photographs via

Thursday 29 October 2020

Meeting Sofie

"How far should a pre-birth diagnosis go? From an ethical perspective, prenatal tests are quite controversial. Critics see them as a targeted search for sick children in their mothers’ wombs - for embryos with Down syndrome. They also question what this medical control means for people living with this condition - for their rights to assistance, participation and inclusion. Inclusion means giving people with handicaps a presence and visibility within society - and photography is one means of doing so.

I started taking pictures of Sofie young woman with Down syndrome back in 2017 when she was 18 years old. She just finished school and spent almost every day on the family estate in Eilenstedt (Germany). Sofie comes from a family of famous antique dealers and grew up in the magical atmosphere of this farm. Visiting Sofie and her family for over four years, I experienced their everyday lives and shared the highs and lows of her first steps into love. At that time Sofie was in that awkward yet beautiful and thrilling age of transition from a girl to a woman, when every feeling is extremely intense and love seems to be the main purpose of life. Sofie has a very strong bond with her mother Barbara. Barbara was 39 when Sofie was born, at home on Christmas night 25.12.1998. It was three weeks later during a routine doctor’s appointment when she found out Sofie had Down syndrome and should have required an operation on her heart.

With my series 'Meeting Sofie' I want to show the beauty of "being different" and thus to contribute to deeper acceptance, integration and love among us humans."
Snezhana Von Buedingen

photographs via

Wednesday 28 October 2020

"In the end, it all comes down to what kind of world we want."

At times, some critics have said my comedy risks reinforcing old stereotypes. The truth is I've been passionate about challenging bigotry and intolerance throughout my life. As a comedian, I have tried to use my characters to get people to let down their guard and reveal what they actually believe, including their own prejudice. Borat did reveal people's indifference to antisemitism. When as Bruno, the gay fashion reporter from Austria, I started kissing a man in a cage fight in Arkansas nearly starting a riot, it showed the violent potential of homophobia. And when disguiised as a ultra woke developer I proposed building a mosque in one rural community prompting a resident to proudly admit "I am racist against Muslims", it showed the growing acceptance of islamophobia.

Today, around the world demagogues appeal to our worst instincts. Conspiracy theories once confined to the fringe are going mainstream. It's as if the age of reason, the era of evidential argument is ending and our knowledge is increasingly delegitimised and scientific consensus is dismissed. Democracy, which depends on shared truths is in retreat and autocracy, which depends on shared lies, is on the march. Hate crimes are surging as are murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities. Fake news outperforms real news because studies show that lies spread faster than truth. On the internet, everything can appear equally legitimate. The rantings of a lunatic seems as credible as the findings of a Nobel Prize winner. Voltaire was right when he said "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

In the end, it all comes down to what kind of world we want. If we prioritise truth over lies, tolerance over prejudice, empathy over indifference, and experts over ignoranuses, then maybe, just maybe, we can save democracy. We can still have a place for free speech and free expression, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today these rights are threatened by hate, conspiracy and lies. So allow me to leave you with a suggestion for a different aim for society. The ultimate aim of society should be to make sure that people are not targeted, not harassed and not murdered because of who they are, where they come from, who they love or how they pray.
Sacha Baron Cohen 

::: Full speech: LISTEN/WATCH  

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photograph via

Monday 26 October 2020

".... you damned well better be a sex object"

"Prejudice against women is many, many times intensified against older women. You are viewed not as an intellect but as a body.... Astonishingly, even women's liberation has paid extraordinarily little attention to the older woman and to the fact that her job is limited because she is [older]. They say that women shouldn't be sex objects, but you damned well better be a sex object if you want to get ahead in television."
Elinor Guggenheimer

photograph (from left: Betty Friedan, Elinor Guggenheimer, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Gloria Steinem) via

Sunday 25 October 2020

Black Baby, White Baby & Survival Chances

According to a research paper published last year, in the U.S., "black babies are more than twice as likely to die before reaching their first birthday than white babies, regardless of the mother’s income or education level." A new study reviewing 1.8m hospital birth records in Florida (1992-2015) suggests that the doctor's ethnicity plays a major role since black newborns are three times more likely to die in the hospital than white babies if cared for by white doctors (for white babies the doctor's skin tone hardly has an impact on their chances of survival). The disparity halves when the doctor's skin tone is black ... but only 5% of doctors are black (via).

photograph (1970) via

Saturday 24 October 2020

World Polio Day

Worldwide, there is no correlation between a child's gender and immunisation, i.e., there is no gender difference. One important exception is India where females are associated with missed polio vaccination (via).

"(...) there are notable variations where immunization coverage is higher for girls in some countries and higher for boys in others. This is why the polio programme regularly collects sex-disaggregated data to enable it to track gender-related discrepancies and take swift corrective action. Overall it is important to note that data from the polio-endemic countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan) in the past two years shows that girls and boys have been equally reached in house-to-house vaccination campaigns. For instance, in Afghanistan, out of all girls surveyed after vaccination campaigns in 2017, 92.6% were recorded as vaccinated, compared to 92.5% of boys. This high level of coverage is the tangible result of targeted and context-specific communications for awareness raising and behaviour change activities, combined with well-trained health workers recruited from local communities." Global Polio Eradication Initiative

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photograph via

Friday 23 October 2020

... and the fear might evaporate.

“If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends on might evaporate.”
George Orwell, 1984

photograph by Vivian Maier via

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Training Police for Intercultural Sensitivity. Two Approaches.

Intercultural training aims to train people to interact with people with different cultural backgrounds, to convey information about cultures and countries, to develop self-awarenss by examining one's own "cultural values, beliefs and assumptions". This approach emphasises different individuals coming together, cross-cultural understanding and self-awareness. Race (sic) relations training, on the other hand, focuses on raising awareness of one's own racism, understanding structural racism, combatting harassment based on skin tone, and seeks to change social institutions. This approach emphasises intergroup relations and behavioural outcomes.

In their meta-analysis of methods used to train the Canadian police for intercultural sensitivity, the authors come to the conclusion that programmes using the intercultural approach are significantly more effective than those using race (sic) relations training. Another significant finding is that programmes with ethnically heterogeneous participants are more successful than those with rather homogeneous groups (Ungerleider & McGregor, 2008).

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- Ungerleider, C. & McGregor, J. (2008). Training police for intercultural sensitivity: A critical review and discussion of the research. Canadian Public Administration 36(1), 77-89.
- photograph via

Tuesday 20 October 2020

World Osteoporosis Day

Since osteoporosis still has the image of being a so-called women's health issue, it is often overlooked in men and becomes an unrecognised and untreated condition leading to higher mortality and morbidity rates in men (Rao, Budhwar & Ashfaque, 2010).

- Rao, S. S., Budhwar, N. & Ashfaque, A. (2010). Osteoporosis in Men. American Family Physician, 82(5), 503-508.
- photograph by the amazing Vivian Maier via

Monday 19 October 2020

The Migrant Acceptance Index

According to an index that is based on three questions Gallup asked in 138 countries in 2016 and 2017, nine of the ten countries that score a 2.39 or lower are Eastern European countries, most of them  located along the Balkan route. They also happen to be the ones most strongly opposed to accepting Syrian refugees. In Macedonia, Montenegro and Hungary, at least two-thirds say that their countries should not admit Syrian refugees ... a predisposition these countries already had before any "influx of refugees" (via).

But there is evidence that people in these countries -- many of which have long histories of conflicts with neighboring countries -- were already predisposed to be suspicious of outsiders, and the influx of refugees further inflamed these attitudes. Even before the crisis, the majority across Eastern Europe said that migration levels in their countries should be decreased. The same is true of Israel, where three in four residents in 2012 -- the year before the country finished building a fence along its border with Egypt to keep out migrants from Africa -- said they wanted immigration decreased. 
The three questions:
Immigrants living in this country                                  A good thing
An immigrant becoming your neighbor                         A bad thing
An immigrant marrying one of your close relatives       (It depends)*

The least accepting countries:
1) Macedonia: 1.47
2) Montenegro: 1.63
3) Hungary: 1.69
4) Serbia: 1.80
5) Slovakia: 1.83

The most accepting countries:
1) Iceland: 8.26
2) New Zealand: 8.25
3) Rwanda: 8.16
4) Sierra Leone: 8.05
5) Mali: 8.03
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photograph via

Saturday 17 October 2020

How diversity gets lost in design practices of information and communication technologies

Abstract: This article adopts an intersectional approach to investigate how age, gender, and diversity are represented, silenced, or prioritized in design. Based on a comparative study of design practices of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for young girls and older people, this article describes differences and similarities in the ways in which designers tried to cope with diversity. Ultimately diversity was neglected, and the developers relied on hegemonic views of gender and age, constructed older people and young girls as an “other,” and consequently their input was neglected. These views were thus materialized in design and reinforce such views in powerful yet unobtrusive ways. Oudshoorn, Neven & Stienstra (2016)

- Oudshoorn, N, Neven, L. & Stienstra, M. (2016). How diversity gets lost: Age and gender in design practices of information and communication technologies, Journal of Women & Aging, link
- photograph by Pierre Cardin (1970) via

Thursday 15 October 2020

Men Buy, Women Shop?

According to a survey carried out among 1.700 consumers, the notion of women spending much time on shopping while men just take the first thing they see in order to leave the shop as quickly as possible seems to be a stereotype. In fact, men were more likely to do detailed research before buying something than women (men 32.1%, women 26.4%) (via).

photograph via

Wednesday 14 October 2020

The Impact of Culture on How the Media Portray ADHD to the Lay Public

The biomedical model sees disorders and diseases as deviations from the norm and medical approaches as the only possible treatment (via) ignoring psychological and social variables that are "unquestionably important" (via). According to various analyses of newspapers, in the UK, the psychosocial model of ADHD is dominant while in the US, the biomedical model is stressed. In France, there is a rather psychodynamic understanding of the disorder and whenever biomedical aspects prevail, they are presented or discussed in a more nuanced way (Ponnou & Gonnon, 2017). This, again, has an impact on how ADHD is seen and approached.

- Ponnou, S. & Gonnon, F. (2017). How French media have portrayed ADHD to the lay public and to social workers. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Health and Well-being, link
- photograph by Henri Cartier Bresson via

Monday 12 October 2020

Quoting Jimmy Carter

"We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams."
Jimmy Carter

photograph via

Sunday 11 October 2020

Best Picture Nominations & Ageism

It may not really come as a surprise: Seniors are scarce in movies. 25 films nominated for Best Picture between 2014 and 2016 were analysed. The results: 8% of the speaking characters were 60 years of age or older, 77.7% of them men, 22.3% women.


42.9% of the 14 films with a leading or supporting senior character featured a derogatory comment about ageing - referring to health, movement, cognition, senses, appearance or death (Choueiti et al., 2017)

- Smith, S. L., Choueiti, M. & Pieper, K. (2017). Over Sixty, Underestimated: A Look at Aging on the "Silver" Screen in Best Picture Nominated Films, LINK
- photographs of the amazing Donald Pleasence (1919-1995) by Allan Warren via and via

Friday 9 October 2020

Stranger Fruit, by Jon Henry

Jon Henry's "Stranger Fruit" series is named after Billie Holiday's song and a reaction to the murders of black men in the U.S. In his series, mothers pose with their sons "in a manner that evokes the Madonna and child" (via).

“The mothers in the photographs have not lost their sons, but understand the reality that this could happen to their family. The mother is also photographed in isolation, reflecting on the absence. When the trials are over, the protesters have gone home and the news cameras gone, it is the mother left. Left to mourn, to survive.”
Jon Henry

photographs via

Wednesday 7 October 2020

Homogenising the Way the World Goes Mad

To travel internationally is to become increasingly unnverved by the way American culture pervades the world. We cringe at the new indoor Mlimani shopping mall in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We shake our heads at the sight of a McDonald's on Tiananmen Square or a Nike factory in Malaysia. The visual landscape of the world has become depressingly familiar. For Americans the old joke has become bizarrely true: wherever we go, there we are.
We have the uneasy feeling that our influence over the rest of the world is coming at a great cost, loss of the world's diversity and complexity. For all our self-incrimination, however, we have yet to face our most disturbing effect on the rest of the world. Our golden arches do not represent our most troubling impact on other cultures, rather, it is how we are flattening the landscape of the human psyche itself. We are engaged in the grand project of Americanizing the world's understanding of the human mind. 

(...) Particularly telling are the changing manifestations of mental illnesses around the world. In the past two decades, for instance, eating disorders have risen in Hong Kong and are now spreading to inland China. (...) In addition, a particularly Americanized version of depression is on the rise in countries across the world.

(...) Over the past thirty years, we Americans have been industriously exporting our ideas about mental illness. Our definitions and treatments have become the international standards. Although this has often been done with the best of intentions, we've failed to foresee the full impact of these efforts. It turns out that how a people in a culture think about mental illnesses - how they categorize and prioritize the symptoms, attempt to heal them, and set expectations for their course and outcome - influences the diseases themselves. In teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we have been, for better and worse, homogenizing the way the world goes mad. (excerpts)

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- Watters, E. (2010). Crazy Like Us. The Globalization of the American Psyche. New York, London, Toronto & Sydney: Free Press.
- photograph (America Seen Through Stars and Stripes, New York City, 1976, by Ming Smith) via

Monday 5 October 2020

Donate your words

"225,000 older people often go a whole week without speaking to anyone at all. So we've partnered with Cadbury to encourage everyone to have a conversation with an older person and to celebrate the story of an older person you know." 
Age UK

"Captain Sir Tom Moore has joined Cadbury’s ‘Donate Your Words’ campaign in collaboration with Age UK, which aims to encourage Brits to start a conversation with an older person in their family or community, to help tackle loneliness." (via)

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Watch more clips:

::: The Originals: WATCH
::: Manchester United: WATCH
::: Fence: WATCH
::: Donate your words: WATCH

Sunday 4 October 2020

The First Day

"I am Elizabeth Eckford. I am part of the group that became known as the Little Rock Nine. Prior to the [de]segregation of Central, there had been one high school for whites, Central High School; one high school for blacks, Dunbar. I expected that there may be something more available to me at Central that was not available at Dunbar; that there might be more courses I could pursue; that there were more options available. I was not prepared for what actually happened."
"The First Day, which was performed by Kendie Jones, is a dance interpretation of Eckford’s walk that day. Its monochrome aesthetic is an evocative nod towards the black-and-white images of Eckford's public ordeal, which was captured by press photographers and republished in papers internationally." (via)

THE FIRST DAY from barnaby roper on Vimeo.

"I was more concerned about what I would wear, whether we could finish my dress in time...what I was wearing was that okay, would it look good. The night before when the governor went on television and announced that he had called out the Arkansas National Guard, I thought that he had done this to insure the protection of all the students. We did not have a telephone, so inadvertently we were not contacted to let us know that Daisy Bates of NAACP had arranged for some ministers to accompany the students in a group. And so, it was I that arrived alone.

On the morning of September 4th, my mother was doing what she usually did. My mother was making sure everybody’s hair looked right and everybody had their lunch money and their notebooks and things. But she did finally get quiet and we had family prayer. I remember my father walking back and forth. My father worked at night and normally he would have been asleep at that time, but he was awake and he was walking back and forth chomping on cigar that wasn’t lit.

I expected that I would go to school as before on a city bus. So, I walked a few blocks to the bus stop, got on the bus, and rode to within two blocks of the school. I got off the bus and I noticed along the street that there were many more cars than usual. And I remember hearing the murmur of a crowd. But, when I got to the corner where the school was, I was reassured seeing these soldiers circling the school grounds. And I saw students going to school. I saw the guards break ranks as students approached the sidewalks so that they could pass through to get to school. And I approached the guard at the corner as I had seen some other students do and they closed ranks. So, I thought; 'Maybe I am not supposed to enter at this point.' So, I walked further down the line of guards to where there was another sidewalk and I attempted to pass through there. But when I stepped up, they crossed rifles. And again I said to myself; 'So maybe I’m supposed to go down to where the main entrance is.' So, I walked toward the center of the street and when I got to about the middle and I approached the guard he directed me across the street into the crowd. It was only then that I realized that they were barring me, that I wouldn’t go to school.

As I stepped out into the street, the people who had been across the street started surging forward behind me. So, I headed in the opposite direction to where there was another bus stop. Safety to me meant getting to that bus stop. It seemed like I sat there for a long time before the bus came. In the meantime, people were screaming behind me what I would have described as a crowd before, to my ears sounded like a mob."

Elizabeth Eckford, 1997

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Related postings

::: Narrative images: World Press Photo of the Year 1957: LINK
::: Narrative images: The Lost Year: LINK
::: Narrative images: Charles Thompson goes to school: LINK
::: Ruby & The New Orleans School Crisis: LINK

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gif via