A STORY TO WRITE TOGETHER: WHAT MIXED ABILITY IS
When inclusion is able to take down physical and mental walls: Mixed Ability is the new guiding light for our forthcoming projects.
Some of the stories told in this Blog are centenary, sometime even millennial.
Some other ones, on the other hand, are young, current, perhaps our witness is a helps them being written.
Mixed Ability is one of those. A philosophy, an approach, a movement that is building itself over the years, in order to create possibilities of change in sports.
Such theory is inspired by the awareness that many people still suffer for the barriers they face in their sport practice. They’re about physical and intellectual impairments, age, gender, social background, poor self-perception. Since sports cannot divide, English organization IMAS – International Mixed Ability Sports (www.mixedabilitysports.org) has been working for some years to encourage the discourse related to such topic.
IMAS philosophy is summarized in a manifesto, developed around specific keywords:
– Wellbeing and happiness: sports are aimed at improving; for this reason, human beings cannot be isolated by stigma and/or prejudice;
– Equal participation: Mixed Ability supports collective ways to gather and belong (a team, for example);
– Inclusion and equality: sport must be accessible to both established majorities and minorities;
– Same rules: Mixed Ability disciplines are not adapted. On the contrary, they preserve the same rules of mainstream disciplines, only with minor adjustments to take into account individual participant needs;
– Membership and belonging: non need to be separated, classified or labelled;
– Removal of barriers to let marginalized communities challenge the stabilished status quo and gain access to equal participation.
Mixed Ability also aims at creating teams composed by members of all genders and ages, both able-bodied and with disabilities, whether professional or not. One of the first disciplines embracing this philosophy (also in Italy) was rugby: in the words of Martino Corazza, IMAS cofounder and director, ‘playing is the only goal, as well as embodying values such as passion and solidarity. Expressions like ‘You can’t do this’ or ‘This could be dangerous for you’ are not allowed here. Everybody does everything, according to personal abilities. Persons who didn’t even know about sports have now gained dexterity, self-consciousness, motility’.
Guided by such new awareness, Fondazione FILA Museum embraces Mixed Ability as an inspiration for the future, with projects aiming at intercepting its inclusive possibilities.
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