What are sustainable communities?

Excerpt from the Montenegro conference that Yaniv presented at the EASPD Conference in Montenegro:

From social justice to leadership
Yaniv and Annick Janson

Social justice refers to principles of stewardship, participation, the common good and solidarity as applied to rectifying injustice that the poor and the vulnerable suffer. What if we went one step further: identifying and enabling the development of leadership amongst people with disability?

Five years ago Yaniv Janson launched the Taking Action! UNESCO project, bringing to the fore the leadership messages of people with disability in the areas of social and environmental sustainability. In 2017 Janson developed the Please Do Touch series of installations to make a connection between art, social and environmental issues and disability. The installations focus on high priority themes that address the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Art can facilitate the complex understanding between humankind and its environment through alternative languages involving all our senses. Please Do Touch installations make use of visual, body, oral and kinetic languages to speak to the variety of human experiences - to collaborate and work on humanity’s Sustainable Development Agenda. This project is the vehicle that strengthens his voice and establishes him as a thought leader and ART-itivist, as raising awareness about climate change and how we can address these big issues for instance with the intentional environmental or urban planning that can make a difference.

In Janson’s eyes, he has a unique viewpoint to offer – this could stem from being on the autistic spectrum:

“I know that I have a different point of view. I think about the fact that I paint things in different ways than other artists – for instance I especially want others to touch and take photos of my art.”

Janson uses technology to enable project management: The Taking Action! blog [http://tinyurl.com/taking-action-unesco] serves the double function of: 1. Documenting outcomes in real time for project funders as well as 2. Assist him remember key dates, people and meetings.

Janson is supported by Creative New Zealand funding [http://www.creativenz.govt.nz/news/over-520-000-in-grants-awarded-in-latest-creative-new-zealand-funding-round]: he is partially funded through mainstream channels, which support all New Zealand artists. He also uses his Individualised Funding [from the disability sector] to achieve his life goals and build his career. He plans to build his career up until he no longer needs the financial assistance of the disability sector.

Plastic free campaign in Raglan!

Visited Corrina at Orca Restaurant and Bar and Aaron at the Raglan Social Club who display the Please Do Touch artwork on cups donated by Raglan Coconut Yogurt!

Thank you everyone for your support! We can live without plastic bags!

Above: June-July activities

Exciting meeting with Carl Jackson from the YouthNet trust about possibilities to inspire young people in the Waikato. Carl works with vulnerable youth and has boundless energy for community development... More to come!!

Please Do Touch Media Pack

Please Do Touch concept 
The Please Do Touch series of installations make a connection between art, social and environmental topics and disability. The installations are part of the Taking Action! UNESCO project that Yaniv Janson launched 5 years ago.

The installations focus on high priority themes which address the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Yaniv is working on creating new art for this exhibition and plans to travel in New Zealand to consult with the disability community and so be able to integrate their ideas into his work. This would make this project the first collective one of its kind. 

Art can facilitate the complex understanding between humankind and its environment through alternative languages involving all our senses. Please Do Touch installations make use of visual, body, oral and kinetic languages to speak to the variety of human experiences - to collaborate and work on humanity’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Proud to report support from Creative New Zealand and from the EASPD for a solo exhibition of Please Do Touch at the EASPD Montenegro Conference [Community-based support and Sustainable Development] and Paris HQ UNESCO in October 2017.

Reference: Creative New Zealand [http://www.creativenz.govt.nz/news/over-520-000-in-grants-awarded-in-latest-creative-new-zealand-funding-round]

This Taking Action! blog [tinyurl.com/taking-action-unesco] reports on the project.
Yaniv paints about the Sustainable Development Goals, for instance:

Goal 13 - Climate Action
Yaniv launched the Changing the World - One Painting at a Time campaign in 2010 painting about the ice cap melting and the sea level rising, as reported in the “Hot Topic” blog of the Royal Society of NZ. He has been active in this field ever since, with the help of the UNESCO APAH (Asia Pacific Art Hub) to disseminate these ideas globally. The photo below shows side by side the "Goldilocks zone" where the sun pours over vegetation helping it grow and flourish (right) and the Climate Change turbulence that will result (left) should we continue on an unsustainable development path.

Goal 14 - Life Below Water

Conservation has a vital role to play in supporting our fragile ecosystems. The photo below shows these works - we could either have biodiversity or inert water.

Project lead background
Yaniv Janson who leads this initiative is a young artist and political commentator. Through his art, he works to raise awareness about environmental and social issues and to move audiences to create impact. He has exhibited his work extensively in New Zealand and abroad. Yaniv’s passion is to give a voice to more disabled people whilst contributing back to society:
“Working towards crucial environmental goals allows Yaniv to give back to his community by proving that disability is not a barrier to achieving and sharing a social message with others”
Margalit Berrier, Presidente, Memoire de l'Avenir, Paris, France
Janson’s animation on the website of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission [hrc.co.nz/yaniv-janson/impact] and his books featuring art, social change and education illustrate the concepts inspiring his work with international organisations.

Yaniv's second book and educational resource ‘Changing the World – One Painting at a Time’ has been adopted by international organisations such as the UNESCO and is showcased on the Asia Pacific Art-educators Hub/UNESCO website (see project background tab on this blog].

In 2012, Yaniv donated it to the UNESCO for distribution to art teachers worldwide. Since then Yaniv has lead a series of interventions aimed at raising expectations from disabled people and match their motivation to contribute to their communities. Working in close partnership with Apple Australasia, Yaniv designed the first accessible Art electronic book - a multimedia-training resource for workers supporting disabled artists. The Please Do Touch installation will include a set of iPads for the audience to interact with the art.

A multimedia resource will accompany the project.

In Nov 2016, the Please Do Touch project was listed on the United Nation's website [screenshot below] at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/partnership/?p=13138

The project video trailer can be viewed below:

Yaniv Janson is a gifted fine artist residing in Raglan, New Zealand. Having begun his journey as an artist in November 2007, he has showcased his work in over 40 exhibitions, in 4 countries, receiving over 18 awards, scholarships and sponsorships. In addition, he has sold over 150 paintings and his work is collected in New Zealand and overseas. Now in his early 20’s, Yaniv’s mission is to raise awareness about environmental and social issues and inspire audiences to create change – through art.

More photos and details of the project here.

In June, the "Invisible Disability" project was launched at the New Zealand Parliament by Hon. Nicky Wagner, Minister for Disability Issues, with new avenues for the Please Do Touch message, including the Minister's tweets!

6. Media
Yaniv's "art-ivism" was reported in more that 40 media pieces (view here); the latest were Kia Ora Magazine, the magazine of Air New Zealand distributed at 400,000 copies and UNO Magazine [screenshots below] at: http://www.unomagazine.co.nz/the-arts/yaniv-janson-message-colour

 Well... if we all play our roles, we can make a better world!!

Press items that specifically report on the Please Do Touch project:
Raglan Chronicle article at: https://www.raglanchronicle.co.nz/community/2017/07/1683

Waikato Times article [online version]:

Waikato Museum curator Leafa Wilson said Janson has a rare understanding of colour and composition: "[But] his work is not just pretty pictures. He usually has some kind of intent behind his work," Wilson said. "He's using the idea of kinesthetic art where you have to touch it to get the sensation and to get an idea of what he is feeling when he is painting it. He's just really committed to painting part of his language." Wilson said people like Janson, who are on the autism spectrum, are often able to catch details and messages that others don't see. "Their world is different. They see things quite differently.

7. Collaboration with the Memories of the Future UNESCO project 
(http://artsandsociety-iygu.org) The Please Do Touch project will feature as one of the global art projects that Memory of the Future will exhibit at the World Humanities Conference (WHC: http://www.humanities2017.org/en) in Liege in August 2017.

The jury wrote:

"Dear Yaniv, Thank you very much for your work and for your poetic engagements. Your work and words prove well that, beyond all borders and differences, art can unite and offer ways for expressions and contact between all people. Your statement about special people is strong and beautiful! Indeed with art one can resist, transfer ideas, evoke debates... encourage dialogue and respect to towards people. We hope via Arts and Society we will initiate contact between people, artists and projects around the globe, to encourage others to react!"

Please Do Touch ethos
I am on the autistic spectrum and live with epilepsy. I feel that this installation would be a meaningful contribution to community. Please Do Touch facilitates sensory art experiences for all audiences, including people with visual impairments and special sensory needs, such as people on the autistic spectrum like myself. I choose to challenge traditional art ‘rules’ by inviting the audience to touch the art and engaging with audiences that were traditionally excluded from the experience of art. Conversely, this demonstrates that the disability community is keen to participate in mainstream society – by experimenting with different experiences of art for all to try” (Yaniv Janson, Project Lead).

On: http://artsandsociety-iygu.org/artists/yanivjanson

8. Exhibition at the Paris Gallery Memories of the Future
A new opportunity has arisen for the Please Do Touch artworks to be also exhibited as part of the collaboration with UNESCO MOST [http://www.memoire-a-venir.org/leprojet_en.html]

9. A public evening under the Arts and Society project hosted by Dr. Guillaume Dumas, Chief Researcher at the Pasteur Institute [https://research.pasteur.fr/en/member/guillaume-dumas]. Dr. Dumas researches Human Genetics and Cognitive Functioning and their connection to autism and art. See Guillaume's talk here and exhibition-roundtable here.

Mémoire de l'Avenir
Espace interculturel pluridisciplinaire 
45-47 rue Ramponeau
75020 Paris
Tél : 09 51 17 18 75 

M2-11 Belleville, Couronnes ou Pyrénées
The resource that will accompany it, Changing the World - One Painting at a Time, revised for this event is accessible to all and can be downloaded in 2 different formats:
  1. pdf file for all systems
  2. An ePub multimedia file for IOS systems, including movie clips, image galleries, gifs to illustrate some points and an interactive map. Epubs work interactively on systems that can read ePubs - for instance iPads and iPhones - screenshot below

Link to this post: tinyurl.com/Please-Do-Touch

Working on Sustainable Development Goals and aiming to go international with the Please Do Touch project

Had a great meeting as part of my Please Do Touch project with Hon. Minister Wagner and Danielle Ryan who agreed to test the concept for us. We want our audience experiencing art using different sensory channels

My aim: to lead a project for New Zealand to exhibit in New York, either at the United Nations or... 
I am looking for partners to carry this project with!!!

Visual Arts - multi sensory interaction

It was great to open an exhibition where the audience could interact with the art in many ways - including touching it!

Visiting Arts Access Aotearoa

It was great to meet Richard Benge and Iona McNaughton!  Arts Access Aotearoa does great work to help Artists with disabilities.

Redefining contributions through work rather than narrow jobs or employment concepts

Have a read of the United Nation Development Programme report that re-thinks the word "work":
From a human development perspective, work, rather than jobs or employment is the relevant concept. A job is a narrow concept with a set of pre-determined time-bound assigned tasks or activities, in an input-output framework with labour as input and a commodity or service as output. Yet, jobs do not encompass creative work (e.g. the work of a writer or a painter), which go beyond defined tasks; they do not account for unpaid care work; they do not focus on voluntary work. Work thus is a broader concept, which encompasses jobs, but goes beyond by including the dimensions mentioned above, all of which are left out of the job framework, but are critical for human development.

How appropriate for human development perspectives to re-think basic concepts and recognise the many contributions that are made from people of different abilities!

We follow UNDP Helen Clark's communications via social media that keep a steady information stream on these topics.

The ripple effects from exhibiting art about social and environmental issues

Ngaire talks about my work exhibited in her Auckland Newmarket gallery:

I want to engage people of different ages and abilities on my blog. Click on the "compose puzzle" grey button below to jumble up my plankton painting... can you reassemble it?

Human Rights Commission meeting

The highlight of the week was meeting with Shawn Moodie from the Human Rights Commission. It was great visiting the premises and meeting the team. We are looking at publishing a set of articles and resources that can be used by people with disabilities, advocates, teachers, businesses and other people interested in raising awareness about how people with disabilities can contribute to their communities.

The Human Rights Commission is very supportive to setting an example to demonstrate how people with disabilities can be proactive in changing attitudes about inclusion and integration!

Below is how the Yaniv Janson Project was started on the Human Rights Commission website: www.hrc.co.nz/yaniv-janson

Thank you Erin from the Human Rights Commission in Wellington!!! Erin is helping us with the Yaniv Janson Project page of the Human Rights Commission website!

I have been watching video interviews and speeches with John Crowley, UNESCO, MOST [http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/most-programme/whos-who]
Here is his talk about the Ethical Implications of Technological Changes broadcasted at the WSIS forum I contributed to online: http://www.unesco.org/archives/multimedia/?pg=33&s=films_details&id=2520
Today I met with Drew in South Auckland and donated a teacher resource for the library of their organisation. Trust they will share the resource with their staff and the people they serve!

Measuring impact

Finding out that KiaOra Magazine, the official Air New Zealand magazine wrote about my July 2016 exhibitions was a big surprise! The magazine is viewed by 400,000 people. Raising awareness is a must when it comes to our human and environmental ecosystems, and we are starting to talk about big numbers!

Jude from TV New Zealand really likes our ideas and has promised to help!

Following this, a group of us met at the Hamilton EnviroCentre to paint banners in preparation for the Earth March on Sunday 2 December. Stephanie Christie will promote the book and its message to the EnviroCentre audience!!!

Meeting with MSD Regional Disability Advisor

Glad to have met Vaughan Dodd at the ImagineBetter Auckland Assembly. Vaughan is visually impaired and could touch my painting "Deep Tunnel" to give me some feedback on how to make my paintings accessible for the blind and visually impaired.

Need to gather more support from my community! Get in touch if you are interested!!

Visit with the Enabling Good Lives Waikato Demonstration (Ministry of Social Development)

A conversation with Kelly Woolston and Nicolina Newcombe from Enabling Good Lives Waikato was very fruitful in uncovering new knowledge. One really good way to help some people with Aspergers' syndrome with their social skills is to facilitate the first meetings with a new person. It is important for people in social care to understand that with some people, it is enough to hand them a person's phone number and they will follow it up on their own. For some of us with Aspergers Syndrome, making initial contact is hard and part of our social phobia - so some facilitation to help with initial contact and getting to know someone will go further as we can pick up once we have met a person.

Mount Roskill Grammar School visit in Auckland

I enjoyed my visit to the Mount Roskill Grammar School, in Auckland. I spoke to Janice Whittaker-Hall, HOD MacLean Centre about the school's goals with disabled students and how they worked with each one to help them maximise their potential. One point to pay attention to is to keep focused on each student's gifts and capabilities, in spite of time and scheduling challenges.

Visiting the Learning Centre at Baradene College

What a great discussion with Jackie Wood, Learning Centre co-ordinator! We talked about a potential follow up meetings with a student and family and how the resource will be shared with teachers so that they can encourage students with disability to develop potential future interests for after they leave school.

More to come soon!

Auckland Art Gallery

Great meeting today at the Auckland Art Gallery E.H. McCormick Research Library and stoked that Changing the World - One Painting at a Time will now be available for people to use in their research. Loved the atmosphere at the library, the study mode and the space!

Great to meet Hon. Nicky Wagner again!

At the 2015 New Zealand Disability Support Network conference in Te Papa!!!

Meeting with movers and shakers

I was hugely impressed at meeting Chloe from France who is embarking on her Masters study in the Arts and is interested in my Taking Action work with teachers about raising expectations about children with disabilities! Come back soon to New Zealand Chloe and let's work together!

Getting ready for the week in Wellington and my new mentoring opportunity!

2015 Finalist Artistic Achievement Attitude Awards

Stoked to have been selected again as a finalist for the 2015 Attitude Awards to recognise Artistic Achievements!!! The Attitude Trust and Attitude Live people are so amazingly supportive that I was buzzing when we left both meetings with them in Auckland!

How can we maximise impact on disabled people's lives and reach as many people and families as possible to encourage them to pursue their dreams and fulfil their potential?! We need everyone and all abilities to stride together into our future - and keep a watchful eye on our social structure and environment!!

In the photo above one can understand the power of print in helping me communicate. Sometimes I find it challenging to talk about all my different activities in real time - so the pictures in the books help start power conversations... then the magic of human connection happens - rallying energy around common interests. I am so grateful that these books explain why I am passionate about how art can add to the social conversation.

I am looking forward to put to good use the time leading up to the Awards Ceremony (3 December in Auckland) to achieve more of my Taking Action! goals by working with movers and shakers in the disability sector!

Meeting with Greenpeace

Really interesting meeting with Laura Hazle from Greenpeace Aotearoa where we talked about the importance of their supporters in disseminating their message wider. I am passionate about working with teachers because so much can happen in the classroom that has long term impact! Laura and I will be thinking about ways we can collaborate to help their activism.

Reaching people throughout New Zealand

Yesterday RadioNZ Carol Stiles interviewed me at my studio. She asked interesting questions about my work. Looking back at how this project is running, I am so thankful to all the people that have helped me up to now. Broadcasting our vision about the Taking Action project will definitely spread our reach faster. Looking forward to listening to the programme which will air soon! Updates here of course:)

Carol also interviewed Gillian Ingham (bottom left) and Steven Lim (top left): Gilliam was my art teacher starting at high school and has been supporting me all the way through to today. Steven is Waikato Management School Professor and an art collector who has purchased 3 of my works. Steven brought with him the "No More Mines" piece and explained how a discussion with him about his work on land mines inspired my to make this piece.

Interview: www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/oneinfive/audio/201760099/one-in-five-for-28-june-2015 and screenshot below!

As I was packing books (top right) to send to Olivier Lacoua, GM CQ Wellington I explained to Carol how Olivier is an awesome supporter of disabled artists and how he recently launched the first NZ Sign Language restaurant menu which we were so honoured to attend!

As we work with our collaborators and help each other reach further, we find that our actions have the cumulative impact needed to jolt people out of indifference into action.

Hamilton City Council Award Ceremony - 30 under 30

What a buzz at the "30 under 30" award ceremony from the Hamilton Mayor on Friday 29 May. There was great interest in the Taking Action project and in its future development - enabled through the new funding just received from SOFRANA.

and for my non-Facebook colleagues:

Network meeting at the Auckland Art Gallery

I had the privilege of being invited to the Auckland Art Gallery Outreach Network meeting and met new people with common interests.

So many thanks to Ioka for her kind invitation!!! Really looking forward to collaborating and working together on upcoming social integration projects!

Engaging with the French business community

The meeting with Nadine Plet was a great opportunity to evoke common roots - being French nationals, we had a lot to talk about! Moreover, Nadine is the President of the French NZ Chamber of Commerce and there are interesting future possibilities to discuss. Her wide experience of business is priceless for our social innovation project!

As we were looking over my books, the person sitting at the table near us looked on with interest!

New support for the Taking Action project

What an inspiring meeting we had today at SOFRANA's Head Office! Benoit Marcenac, Managing Director is a truly visionary leader - he has decided to support the Taking Action project - I am stoked!!!! In the coming months I will be contacting another 20 organisations, schools and businesses to give them a face to face presentation about how they too can take action!

Benoit supports the environmental message laid out in 'Changing the World - One Painitng at a Time". "My vessels sail the seas and the issue of rising water levels is important to us".

But Benoit also strongly supports the project's social message that disabled people want to contribute to their communities and that communities can help by 'raising the bar', namely having high expectations of their disabled citizens - It indeed was my experience that my teachers supported me and encouraged me to pursue my passion.

Merci Benoit!!!!!

John Armstrong reviews Changing the World

A strong supporter of the theory of Social Role Valorisation, John knows too well how important it is to be recognised for the contribution one is making authentically - so role modelling how following one's passion is important!

John's short interview below describes what he thinks about raising hope with families in the disability sector:

Meeting with the Whangarei Sunrise Rotary Club organised by Jan Hewitt

At my Whangarei Sunrise Rotary meeting last week, there were many questions about helping disabled students before they leave school. I agree with that view because this makes a significant difference in their transition into young adulthood. I am so happy that Jan is considering following up on our presentation through her contacts with school boards and perhaps through the Disability Expo she is helping organising for August in Whangarei.

David Bennett working on the self-employment project

David Bennett, MP Hamilton East, was moved by our UNESCO project presentation at the end of which he asked what we thought could be done to encourage more young people like me to stand up and be counted? We think that the bar for disabled students should be raised and that their teachers and support people should support their dreaming about big accomplishments! David is helping plan a project brief for us to see more self-employment ideas coming from disabled people - this is just the beginning!!