GADIM – visibility, accessibility, representation, inclusion

The Global Alliance for Disability in Media and Entertainment was created to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in mass media.

GADIM’s mission is informed by Article 8 (Awareness-raising) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

A black and white bumper sticker from that says “nothing about us WITHOUT US” and has the international wheelchair symbol.

“Nothing About Us Without Us”

This phrase has become the central theme for the disability rights movement’s activism around media. It is communicating the idea that no decision should be made by any media organization without the full and direct participation of members of the disability community.

This idea is reflected in GADIM’s approach to the representation of people with disabilities in the news and entertainment media – people with disabilities must be involved in all aspects of mass media to convey their authentic stories.

GADIM is a global project to leverage all media, culture, and entertainment to promote the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities. The project’s main mission is to improve the portrayal of disability in mass media.

GADIM invites all media organizations and industry participants – news, entertainment, advertising, etc. – to increase the representation and authentic portrayal of people with disabilities in all areas.

Join our efforts and be a part of this network

Create Fund Disability All in Winners Group showing photos of the winners Elizabeth Rachert, Neha Balachandran, Oaklee Thiele, Dean Strauss, Jade Bryan and Omid Omidvar along with the sponsor logos for Shutterstock, World Institute on Disability, and GADIM

Six artists win ‘Disability – All In’ production grants from Shutterstock  

December 3, 2022 – GADIM has partnered with the international stock photography company, Shutterstock, and the World Institute on Disability (WID) to support its Disability – All In initiative, which provided production grants to artists with disabilities and allies to contribute authentic disability imagery to the Shutterstock Disability Collection.

Shutterstock’s Create Fund Artist Investment Program awarded $50,000 in total funding to six artists in the disability category. The production grants are given in the areas of photos, videos, and illustrations to increase and diversify Shutterstock’s portrayals of disabilities. Shutterstock’s Create Fund provides historically excluded artists with financial and professional support to help close access gaps, fill content gaps, and further diversity and inclusion within its content library and its contributor network.

The new Create Fund winners told Shutterstock what this opportunity means to them and how their work is advancing how persons with disabilities are portrayed in photography, illustration, and videography:

Dean Strauss: Illustrating Comprehensive, Inclusive Portraits

Strauss is an illustrator and designer who specializes in true-to-life portraits. His work focuses on queer and disability representation.

Shutterstock: What does winning this grant mean to you?

Strauss: Winning this grant is a chance to show the impact of disability representation. This grant will show the disability community I know that doesn’t get much time in the spotlight.

SSTK: How would you describe your aesthetic style?

Strauss: My style is colorful and joyful. I am very much inspired by the cartoons and kid’s books I grew up with.

SSTK: How do you want to challenge the stock content industry?

Strauss: I would challenge the stock content industry to prioritize not only disability representation, but meaningful disability representation. There has been some progress in acknowledging inspiration porn and the damage it does, but I’d like to see us continue even past that. I want to see disabled folks represented in all categories, with a full range of experiences and emotions represented.

Neha Balachandran: Editorial Photography the Represents Everyone

Balachandran is a photographer who specializes in stunning and bold editorial portraits. The goal of her photography is to highlight and deliver more Deaf BIPOC representation to the media.

SSTK: What does winning this grant mean to you?

Balachandran: It truly means a lot. I feel that this is a huge stepping stone towards my goal of bringing accurate representation of the BIPOC deaf+ community in media. It is a huge honor to receive this opportunity.

SSTK: How would you describe your aesthetic style?

Balachandran: I strive for an editorial portrait aesthetic. I want to bring diversity into my photos, but in the sense that seeing these beautiful people of all backgrounds and shapes is normalized.

SSTK: How do you want to challenge the stock content industry?

I want to challenge the stock content industry to make space for BIPOC content. Often, we see white people demonstrating everyday things. I want people with disabilities to be shown in a way that it is normal to see that group doing everyday things.

Oaklee Thiele: An Artist and Activist

Thiele’s work illustrates life from a disabled person’s perspective. Her activism addresses systematic discrimination within academia, artistic institutions, and everyday life.

SSTK: What does winning this grant mean to you?

Thiele: Winning this grant from Shutterstock gives me a large platform to share my work and allows me to pay the disabled models that inspire my illustrations.

SSTK: How would you describe your aesthetic style?

Thiele: I am a disability rights activist and protest artist who documents the intersectional nature of the disability community, while also celebrating disabled pride and culture.

SSTK: How do you want to challenge the stock content industry?

Thiele: I want the stock content industry to consist of images containing people who look like me, made by people who look like me.

Elizabeth Rajchart: Prioritizing Individuality in Photos

Rajchart prioritizes individuality in her portrait photography. By giving models space to be themselves, Rajchart strives to represent people with disabilities on their own terms.

SSTK: What does winning this grant mean to you?

Rajchart: Winning this grant makes me feel so optimistic about the future of disability representation. So many times, my community is photographed, written about, or filmed by a person without disabilities. To know Shutterstock is committed to diversity on both sides of the lens is incredibly encouraging. It’s also so exciting to have the funding to continue to represent the disability community through my photography. I love what I do, and to be recognized for it just makes me so proud of both my art and the subjects in it.

SSTK: How would you describe your aesthetic style?

Rajchart: My style is very subject-led. My goal in every photo is to show my model the way they want to be shown, and to show their own strength as they see it, not as society chooses to see them. So many times, we’re put in a box by society, shown by the light they choose. I want my models to be able to truly see themselves authentically in my art.

SSTK: How do you want to challenge the stock content industry?

I want to challenge the stock content industry by continuing to insist on authentic representation.

Ann Marie J. Bryan: Filmmaker At the Forefront of Deaf POC Representation

Bryan is an accomplished filmmaker who prioritizes social issues, equality, and accessibility in her work. She uses her platform to address the erasure of POC/Black deaf voices in film and television.

SSTK: What does winning this grant mean to you?

Bryan: As an artist with a disability, winning this grant means creative freedom and a platform to tell my story through the visual art medium.

SSTK: How would you describe your aesthetic style?

Bryan: I am a filmmaker, activist, game changer, and community builder. I am not afraid to be vocal or challenge myself to push the boundaries. When it comes to creating my art or telling my stories, I tend to take pictures or videotape interesting people or things around the city. I use Post-it Notes to write a one-liner logline for each still or clip. This helps me to develop visual story concepts for my screenplays, business ideas, or projects.

SSTK: How do you want to challenge the stock content industry?

By making media accessible through as many inclusion efforts as possible. My social consciousness recognizes what others need for accessibility, in order to feel included in society. I also recognize the constant problems in the entertainment, media, and technology industries that often don’t do enough to include authentic representation of BIPOC disabled people or creators.

Omid Razavi: Collaborating with Other Disabled Individuals

Razavi is a photographer and filmmaker who finds cinematic beauty in the world around him. He is excited to use his award to collaborate further with disabled individuals in his own community.

SSTK: What does winning this grant mean to you?

Razavi: This grant provides me the opportunity to share my artistic vision with others. Also, it gives me the ability to create authentic work to represent the disabled community and collaborate more closely with disabled people.

SSTK: How would you describe your aesthetic style?

Razavi: I take advantage of natural light, which makes photos look very realistic. I re-capture pictures and go through multiple iterations until I find a story in that picture.

SSTK: How do you want to challenge the stock content industry?

Razavi: I capture the world with a normal photographic lens, because I believe that the world is best seen with a human eye. I would rather take static shots, instead of moving ones. This helps me to have a better understanding of my surroundings and create better mise-en-scène. Preferably, I would use a normal lens (50mm) for an entire project.

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