Monday, September 01, 2008

Those with disabilities should likewise create

[30 August 2008 - The Jakarta Post] At the closing session of a recent international conference on "Creative Communities and the Making of Place: Sharing Creative Experiences" at the Institute of Technology Bandung, one of the keynote speakers concluded that in the end, the focus should be on people rather than on cities. This conclusion was certainly indisputable, because a city without people is dead. It is the people in their diversity who make a place lively. As shown by the present range of enterprises in Bandung, people are continually creating new things, either as a hobby, as an expression of art, for research purposes, or as a source of income. Gradually these creative products become an industry, called the creative industry. Not only do people do this creative work for their own benefit, but the urban economy flourishes because of these thriving businesses. ... The most underestimated are the disabled. They constantly face barriers to access physical infrastructure or opportunities for self development. They have the potential to make a significant economic contribution to the city, if only the environment could be more physically and socially friendly for them. People are creative by nature and so are disabled people. By excluding them from development opportunities, the society neglects a rich resource of talented and creative people. People who meet the standard of normalcy in performing creative work, predominate the creative industries. They are the ones who are healthy, agile, not disabled and have the financial resources to start an enterprise. Nowadays, young people are very much involved in creative industries. Thinking creatively, they produce goods with an economic value. Their free spirit means allowing people to be different, which is sometimes difficult in our conformist culture. By tolerating different ideas, their creativity emerges. More

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