Jodee Mundy is committed to making work that enriches
people’s lives through inclusivity. Specifically, she is known for making
performance projects by, with and for people who experience isolation as a
result of disability. “The greater degree of social isolation a community
experiences, the more divergent and culturally rich their views will be,” says Jodee.
One such community are those who identify as Deafblind,
and it is their culture and lived experience that sits at the heart of her most
recent performance project Imagined Touch.
Performers Michelle Stevens and Heather Lawson are two of over 300,000
Australians living with the dual disability of Deafblindness. “There are very
few projects with Deafblind people and we’re creating work to shed light on the
lack of representation…rather than asking why
we should make work with Deafblind performers, we’re just asking how we do it.”
Imagined Touch. Image credit: Jeff Busby
The result is a
multi-sensory performance project exploring the world of Deafblind culture.
Audience members are given headphones and goggles that impair their own hearing
and vision and then greeted and introduced to the space by the Deafblind
performers, who mostly communicate using touch.
According to Jodee, low expectations of those in the
Deafblind community are a major roadblock when making work like this and Imagined Touch takes enormous leaps towards
overcoming them. For example, some
people are surprised to learn that Deafblind performer Michelle Stevens studies
music at Melbourne Polytechnic and even plays piano during the performance.
Michelle Stevens in rehearsal. Image credit: Jeff Busby
“Inclusivity means sharing,” says Jodee. “We’re all told
to do that as kids but then we grow up. When we prioritise inclusivity, nobody
loses and everybody wins.”
Imagined Touch is supported by the Australia Council
for the Arts, through the Projects for Individuals and Groups grants category.
It will run from 7—11 September at Arts House in Melbourne.
information about Jodee, her artistic practice and unique process, please visit
her website .