The collaborative project “I Belong” of Me Alla Matia NPO and ProvaT.O. NPO, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, was completed with great success. 6 accessible, short documentaries with disabled actors take us for a tour in culture while sharing positive examples of inclusion. Through these videos, we are introduced to disabled artists, inclusive spaces, and their activities while highlighting the accessibility needs for the disabled spectators and listeners of cultural events.
All videos have Greek and English subtitles, as well as Greek Sign Language interpretations. The Project has been warmly greeted by the public, garnering over 60.000 views on social media so far.
1. I Belong to… a photo exhibition
Blind at birth Vangelis Avgoulas visits the art photography exhibition of Athens Pride 2021. With the help of Angeliki Grigoropoulou’s descriptions, who is the presenter of the videos, but mainly by using the aid of supporting technology integrated into the exhibits, he can see everything in his own way!
2. I Belong to… the Inclusive Theater Group THEAMA
Angeliki Grigoropoulou visits the accessible theater ISON to participate in an audition by Vassilis Oikonomou. Vassilis is a disabled director and founder of the THEAMA ensemble (Theater for People with Disabilities). Disabled and non-disabled members of the group talk about their experience in this fully inclusive collaboration, which proves how such coexistence is not only possible but also a very rich experience for everyone.
3. I Belong to… Dance
Panos Paraschou is the first deaf professional dancer to study at the National School of Dance. Angeliki meets him at the Vault Theater to show him the song she wrote for him and they choreograph it together. In this video, apart from the final result of the choreography, Panos shares his experience as a disabled dancer. Furthermore, the President of the Association of Greek Sign Language Interpreters, George Stathis, points out the importance of professional sign language interpretation in cultural events.
4. I Belong to… Going Out
In the wonderful and fully accessible space of “shedia home”, Vangelis Avgoulas, Angeliki Grigoropoulou, and Panagiotis Pitsiniagas meet on an equal footing to share their coffee, food or drink. Right from the beginning, this space was designed following the principles of Accessibility Counseling. In this video, we meet Christos Alefantis, the Editor-in-Chief of the “shedia” street paper, who tells us about its various actions and “shedia art”, an artistic project of social and environmental character.
5. I Belong to… the Museum
In the 5th video of the series, Aggeliki visits the Museum of Cycladic Art. Accompanied by Dimitris Ampatzis, a blind Paralympian athlete, as well as members of the Museum, they guide us in a thematic tour adapted for people with visual impairments. A portable showcase with exact copies of some of the Museum’s exhibits is also available for those visitors so that they can explore it tactually and acoustically.
6. I Belong to… the Culture
For a wrap-up, the two partners take us backstage, where it all started. What was the original name of the Project and why did it change? How was the first meeting of “Me Alla Matia” and Prova.T.O? Can accessibility be hidden in a dish or a board game? These and many more questions are answered in the last video of the mini-documentary series.
General Info for the Carriers of the Project
Me Alla Matia NPO
Non-Profit Civil Partnership “Me Alla Matia” was founded in June 2018 by the blind lawyer Vaggelis Avgoulas and a group of disabled young people, who were self-organized with the ultimate goal of claiming inclusion and accessibility through social action. It was implemented as an afterthought of the fully accessible news portal meallamatia.gr, which comprises an excellent way of promoting the disabled for more than 10 years, enhancing their social visibility.
ProvaT.O. (Prova Theater Organization) is an artistic collective created in 2013 in Athens and since 2019 it operates as an Urban Non-Profit Company. The people behind ProvaT.O. are Vangelis Laskaris, director, and Dimitris Maglaras, actor. “In ProvaT.O. we create stories about how people live today and how their behaviors and relationships are shaped. We believe that our work is an act of politics and, of course, responsibility towards the public but mainly towards ourselves.”, describes the director of the project, Vangelis Laskaris.