WIMS Project

This project focused on a "day in the life of" scenarios, students took on a disability or discrimination for an afternoon or a day and filmed their experiences. This page features the videos that each student made documenting their new lives for the day. Each student had a very different experience and each took away something more than what they went into their project with.

Wheelchair Diversity Awareness

A full 19% of the non-institutionalized population of the United States suffer from a mental or physical disability of some sort. That includes the over 1 million people who use a wheelchair to get around. Our society is making strides toward making our world as accessible as reasonably possible. For instance, since 1995 we've gone from 62% of all public transportation having wheelchair access to 98% in 2007. That said, it's impossible to understand how well we are doing in wheelchair accessibility unless we "walk a mile in their shoes," or in this case, get off our feet into their chair.

In this video I, Wes Halverson, try to get a glimpse into what it's like to navigate life from a wheelchair. I went to a shopping mall, and tried to complete tasks that would be considered part of everyday life. There were definitely some situations that lifted my spirits when I realized how well were looking out for the disabled. However, there were other situations that showed that we are not yet where we need to be in terms of handicap accessibility.

Homeless for 24 hours

Homelessness is a serious problem in our country. Many people in our local area are living without shelter. According to the official city of Portland Oregon website (2013) the homelessness count identified 2,869 people who were “literally homeless” sleeping in an emergency shelter or unsheltered on the night of January 30, 2013. This number includes 1,895 people who were unsheltered (sleeping outside, in a vehicle, or abandoned building) and 974 people who were sleeping in an emergency shelter (para. 3) It is easy for us to judge the homeless and panhandlers, because most of us have never walked in their shoes.

For my project I simulated living as a homeless person with limited shelter for 24 hours from 8:00pm-8:00pm. I parked my 1972 Chevrolet truck in a parking lot located by an industrial area and used it as shelter for 24 hours. For the 24 hour period the truck would remain parked and never started to generate heat. In order to make this as real as possible I skipped dinner for the beginning of the project, and only gave my self $1.25 to use for food for the entire simulation. I cut myself off from using my cell phone too, but kept it in the truck in case of an emergency. I filmed a self documentary of the experience with just my GoPro camera to showcase the experience.

Gender Identity Awareness

It is estimated that 2 to 5% of the population is transgender, with roughly 85% of that demographic reporting having experienced verbal abuse due to their gender identity or presentation, and 37% and 30% reporting physical violence, MTF and FTM, respectively. Along with dealing with discrimination, many individuals within the community also have to face the many misconceptions that are commonly held about transgender individuals, such as: all transgender people are homosexual, that all transgender individuals go through sex-reassignment surgery, or that all who fall under the trans-umbrella identify strictly within the binary of male and female, bypassing considerations of androgynous and bi-gender identifications altogether.

For this project I, Christine Waller, attempted to gain perspective on the discrimination that transgender individuals experience as well as some of the anxieties that come with trying to conform to a socially-enforced gender binary when one doesn’t traditionally fit the standard. Therefore, issues such as which bathroom to use, which pronoun to respond to, and even presenting an identification card become a source for anxiety as I take on the persona of a trans male for the day, displaying a masculine presentation, and carrying myself accordingly. Though expecting hostility, I ultimately experienced little in regards to discrimination, but learned a lot about the personal anxieties that come with living openly as a genderqueer individual, as well as some of my own reflections about my personal ambiguous gender identity.