People with disability are rarely allowed or permitted to shape the discourse around disability. Whether it’s attacks on those receiving the Disability Support Pension, or the objectification of people with disability through inspiration porn, very often we’re either portrayed as fakers or objects of pity. This is what Spoon Week is about – promoting understanding of the experiences of students with disability, taking control of the discussion, and starting conversations with the wider community.
The “spoon” in Spoon Week comes from “spoon theory”, which is used by some people with disability to describe their experience when their disability presents in a reduced amount of energy available for productive tasks. Spoons are an intangible unit of measurement used to track how much energy a person has throughout a given day. Although the theory originated as a way to explain chronic illness, it can have a wide applicability.
It’s also useful when thinking about the ways in which institutions like the ANU can help or hinder the inclusion of students with disability. When the ANU fails to implement measures like disability awareness training, or create important documents like a Disability Action Plan, this impacts on the spoon counts of students with disability. This is why we need Spoon Week, because it’s not enough to be content with the status quo – we have to have conversations about how we can do better and take action.
Spoon Week is happening during Week 10, from 2nd-6th of May, and we’re running five events. On Monday evening is our Spoon Week launch event, where we’ll be talking about how the ANU can work towards world-class inclusion of students with disability and launching our petition. On Tuesday evening we’ll be having a discussion/Q&A on myths and misconceptions about disability. On Wednesday afternoon, we’ll be talking about disclosing disability, whether that be in social situations or the workplace. On Thursday at midday, we’re running Universal Lunch Hour and a Spoon Week market day where you’ll have opportunity to familiarise yourself with all the fantastic resources available at the ANU and in the ACT. On Friday, we’re officially launching the Spoons Space (our autonomous space for students with disability) with a crafternoon, plenty of cake, and a movie night throughout the day.
Whether you have a disability or not, we want you to be involved in the conversation. For more info including specific dates & times, check out anudsa.com/spoon-week/
To learn more about Spoon Theory and support for Disabilities on campus, check out the next issue of Woroni, the Spoon Week Edition, out in Week 10.