Look, listen, learn: collaborative video storytelling by/with people who have been labelled with an intellectual disability
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In 2006, I began working collaboratively with People First members to use video as a means of telling experience-based stories. Although, I found little information that would help prepare me to work collaboratively with people who have been labeled with an intellectual disability. I was acquainted with participatory approaches to making video and with inclusive research methods with people with learning disabilities. After working for over two years and facing a variety of hurdles and barriers, The Freedom Tour documentary was released in DVD in 2008, and a year later, short video stories were published on the Internet as part of the Label Free Zone web-based project. After having worked intensely and with great urgency to “get these stories out,” I felt the need to pause. To reflect upon my experiences and to ask questions about the work I was doing, I chose to write stories adopting an auto-ethnographic approach. Experimenting with auto-ethnography as a method of inquiry and storytelling as a form of representation, gave me the opportunity to experience a process I had encouraged so many others to do: telling experience-based stories. I hope this study will increase our knowledge and understanding of collaborative video storytelling projects involving people who have been labelled. I also hope that by delving into and speaking from my experiences as filmmaker/facilitator, sibling and now auto-ethnographer I have contributed, if ever so slightly, to shifting our thinking about intellectual disability from a deficit perspective to an assumption of competence.