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.