December 2008 - February 2009: Issue 29
An Issue on Teaching Artists, Part One

News And Notes

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SAG, AFTRA and AEA Announce Disability Rights

In October the Performers With Disabilities (PWD) Tri-Union Committee of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and Actors' Equity Association (AEA), announced the launch of a major disability rights campaign to increase the visibility and equal employment opportunities for actors, broadcasters and sound recording artists with disabilities throughout the entertainment and news media. The announcement of the campaign, dubbed I AM PWD (Inclusion in the Arts & Media of People With Disabilities), was made at simultaneous news conferences in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC to coincide with National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Robert David Hall, National Chair of the Tri-Union Performers with Disabilities Committee, said, "I'm fortunate to have a good career as an actor and creative artist. The normal struggles any performer faces, however, are complicated ten-fold by our industry's reluctance to include people with disabilities in the full landscape of entertainment. In the 21st century, media is the world's common cultural environment. Society's values and priorities are expressed and reflected in film, television, theatre, news and music. If you aren't seen and heard, you are invisible. People with disabilities are largely invisible within the arts and media landscape. I AM PWD will awaken the general public to the lack of inclusion and universal access for people with disabilities by uniting with a network of industry, labor, community and government allies."

The mission of the Tri-Union PWD Committee is to serve as the means to enhance the status and promote the advancement of performers with disabilities; nurture members' knowledge and skills; improve members' professional careers through the sharing and dispersing of information; promote the profession as a whole; further the understanding of the profession and foster understanding and respect for the disabled performers within; develop and improve working standards and assist in the continuing development of ethical standards for practitioners in the industry.

Over the course of the three-year I AM PWD campaign the group will outreach to the entertainment and media industries, the general public, political and legislative leaders, and to national and global civil rights, labor and community allies in an effort to urge the entertainment industry to open up equal opportunities for disabled performers. Interested allies are urged to join the I AM PWD network of supporters by signing up at
Source: the American Chronicle


Annual Pacific Rim Conference Scheduled for May

The 25th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities (PacRim) will take place May 4-5 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Sponsored by the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii (, this year's PacRim is entitled "Working Toward a Brighter Future" and is intended, in the words of the Center, to "celebrate the collective achievements of the past and look forward to create an inclusive vision for the 21st century."

The 2009 conference will revisit familiar themes and explore new directions through scholarship, best practices, and international networking. Pre- and post- conference sessions will include an accessible sports Sunday at the beach; an international film festival; and the 2nd Annual International Forum: Securing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Eradicating Poverty.

To help attendees secure their place PacRim 2009 will provide them with early acceptance notices within 2-3 weeks of application submission. Conference rates are said to be very reasonable and the organizers have secured room blocks for under $160 per night. They will also help facilitate room-shares for those interested in trying to keep their costs low.