Beyond Communication: Building Bridges with All Abilities at International Purple Fest 2024
Panjim, January 7, 2024: A stimulating workshop on “Media and Disability” brought together renowned figures and eager young minds of Don Bosco College, Panjim. Curated by Brotherhood and Shruti Pushkar, the event saw the inaugural address graced by esteemed dignitaries like Shri Subhash Phal Dessai, Minister for Social Welfare; Shri Guruprasad Pawaskar, Goa State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities; Mr. Taha Haaziq, Secretary of Goa State Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Mr. Arvind Khutkar, Kala Academy member secretary; and Special Guests, Ms. Shruti Pushkar, Dr. Prerna Sharma, and Mr. Satish Kapoor.
Guruprasad Pawaskar, Goa State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities said, “It is a very important session for students; not only this session, but if students participate in the Purple Fest, they will learn so many new things that are aimed towards their future life.”
Setting the stage for meaningful dialogue, Mr. Taha Haaziq officially declared the workshop open. The room then buzzed with the energy of 30 first and second-year Mass Communication and Journalism students eager to delve into the complexities of media portrayal of disability.
Subhash Phal Dessai, Minister for Social Welfare said, “This session will be value graded, and you will understand what we need to do to communicate with people who have disabilities, whether physical or mental. So, how can we communicate, understand them, and present it to the rest of the world? Hence, media plays a very crucial role in communicating and spreading knowledge. Make the best use of this workshop and prosper the joy of media”
This interactive workshop wasn’t just about disability in media – it was about dismantling it from the inside out. Students, the future storytellers, battled with representation in movies, news, and literature, learning to perceive disability not as an an afterthought, but as a woven thread in the fabric of every human experience.
The aim wasn’t to create “perfect” journalists, but to cultivate responsible ones. Students discussed how to address disability as a crucial cross-cutting issue rather than a charity case. They focused on creating narratives that normalise and sensitise, rather than pity and sensationalism. This was not a lesson on reporting; it was a change, a journey towards boosting true voices and cultivating genuine understanding.
The workshop, led by Ms. Shruti Pushkar, Dr. Prerna Sharma, and Mr. Satish Kapoor, was far from a passive lecture. It thrived on interactivity, challenging students to engage with the topic through diverse activities. From brainstorming movies featuring characters with disabilities to analyzing the nuances of a short film presented by Mr. Kapoor, the participants were encouraged to think critically and express their own perspectives.
This dynamic approach fostered a space for open dialogue, dismantling stereotypes and promoting empathy. Students grappled with the complexities of media representation, learning to identify both harmful biases and inspiring portrayals. As they delved deeper into the topic, they began to see disability not as a limitation, but as a facet of human experience deserving of accurate and respectful representation.
The “Media and Disability” workshop with the Mass Communication students of Don Bosco College was more than just an academic exercise; it was a spark that ignited curiosity and challenged perceptions. It equipped students with the tools to become not just media consumers, but informed creators, shaping a future where disability is portrayed with understanding and inclusivity.