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Kelly Vincent

People of Adelaide


Posted on 10 Feb 2020

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About the guest

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Kelly Vincent

"There is no one who is literally voiceless ... There are only those people to whom we haven't yet learned to listen."

A history-making former South Australian MP, an aspiring poet and, in every pursuit - including her latest role as Access and Inclusion Coordinator for the 2020 Adelaide Fringe - Kelly Vincent is a tireless champion for people with disabilities and their right to be heard.

In Episode 3, Kelly - who grew up with undiagnosed autism - shares how she turned to storytelling as a way of making sense of the world, and why her life's ambition is to break down the time-consuming barriers of 'bureaucracy, perception and misconception' faced by all minorities.

Resources

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photo-icon Deb Tucker

Tindo Utpurndee - Sunset Ceremony AT ADELAIDE FRINGE

Visit the following organisation's websites for more information about the:

Visit the Adelaide Fringe website for information about Accessibility at the Fringe and to download the 2020 Adelaide Fringe Access Guide.

Check out Kelly's picks from the 2020 Adelaide Fringe program:

Transcript

The transcript has been automatically transcribed for accessibility purposes; we apologise for any inconsistencies with the recording.

Christina Hagger: 00:40

Kelly Vincent exploded into Australian consciousness, making history in 2010 as the youngest woman ever elected to an Australian Parliament and the first Australian elected on a platform of disability rights. An advocate for people with disabilities and their carers, Kelly's vision is for a fair society, a world where no one is voiceless - and she takes this drive to the 2020 Adelaide Fringe as the Access and Inclusion Coordinator. Let's hear from Kelly as she charts her course to the Fringe, back from those early and certainly very difficult days when she first illuminated the Adelaide social and political radar.

Kelly Vincent: 01:26
I think at the time, Christina, I don't know that I was entirely conscious of exactly how powerful everything that was happening was. Because you have to remember that part of my 'exploding' as you put it, came from the death of my colleague Paul Collier, who was the number one candidate for the Dignity Party at the time. And so not only am I processing that loss, that's a personal loss but also a loss to the broader disability and Adelaide community, but I'm also a 21-year-old who has stood in this candidacy, absolutely promised there was no chance of getting elected and so I've got a lot to process at that time.

Kelly Vincent: 02:12
But I think you could drive yourself mad looking for a reason as to why everything happened the way that it did. And absolutely, I wish it happened differently, but it happened. And in so many ways, I have been so lucky to have the opportunities I've had, to make the changes that I've made, and to also have the past that led me to that position as well. I mean, my mum has three children. I've got two brothers, one of whom is also disabled. And so we were very much raised, all three of us, advocates, particularly for disability, but broader human rights as well.

Kelly Vincent: 02:52
My mum always used to tell us that we won the lottery in life being born in Australia, because of the freedoms and the rights that we have here, that people don't always have in other parts of the world. And so I think I'm really lucky, but I don't think that I know that with the opportunities that I've been presented with, but also the upbringing that I had leading me to have those opportunities and indeed lucky to have the voice that I do because of course representing, in particular, disabled people, you're not always representing people who have found their own voices yet.

Kelly Vincent: 03:31
And you're also dealing with a society who doesn't always recognise disabled people as being capable of having our own voices. So it's been an enormous privilege. But to sum that shockwave into one sentence is almost impossible because there was so much going on at that time and so much processing, but it was also happening so fast as well. Suddenly you've been elected, appointed to Parliament, you're learning all those rules and regulations, you're adjusting to being the boss of your own office, which is a very strange thing at the age of 21. And so it wasn't until I was out of Parliament that I really had time to stop and take stock of how that felt for me personally, and I don't think I've finished that yet.

Christina: 04:21
Now that you're looking back, what do you see as some of the greatest triumphs and some of the greatest challenges?

Kelly Vincent: 04:29
In terms of the greatest challenges, I think they range from everything from how I was perceived by the public and by my parliamentary colleagues, particularly in the early days. I mean there were colleagues literally knocking on my door to come and say hello, just to get a sense of who I was; who was this young one with an obvious disability, try to wrap their head around how this was all going to work, to other staff. I remember someone working in the Parliament House canteen telling me once that they had had a journalist ask them, 'How late Parliament would be sitting that night?' and they had said, "Oh, we don't think it'll be a late one tonight." And they said, "Oh, that's right, you don't sit late anymore, do you, because of that Kelly girl?" Now, I'm at least half the age of most people in there, I'm probably able to sit up much later than most of them.

Christina: 05:23
Definitely.

Kelly Vincent: 05:23
It was just funny the assumptions that we make. I mean I used to get ask particularly in the early days by journalists, questions about my politics and all that stuff as well, but even things like, "How do you go to the toilet and how you got to manage that?" when no one else gets asked that question. And obviously I've been managing that for, at that time, 21 years of my life. It never got in the way too much. So it was just interesting that we make these assumptions.

Kelly Vincent: 05:52
But I had a chat with my friend and mentor at the time, Natasha Stott Despoja, you might've heard of her.

Christina: 05:59
Absolutely.

Kelly Vincent: 06:01
And she said to me, gave me some really good advice at that time, which is, "You're going through this, all these silly questions, all these misconceptions of who you are, so that at some point someone doesn't have to." So it won't be such a novelty to have people with different abilities, people from different backgrounds, different ages, whatever it might be. It's about having people in those places so that the novelty wears off. Given the Parliament is supposed to represent all people, all across South Australia, from all walks of life, I believe we can only do that by having those people in Parliament, having those people in positions of authority, lobbyist positions, MP's, members of staff, whatever it might be, from all levels.

Christina: 06:45
Including age under 30.

Kelly Vincent: 06:48
Absolutely, yes. I'm very privileged that I beat that one by a long shot at the time. In fact, I just celebrated my 31st birthday in October (2019) and so May the sixth will be 10 years since I first sat in Parliament. Absolutely flown by. Amazing.

Christina: 07:05
So the transition into Parliament, as you said, was a very difficult time. How about the transition out of Parliament?

Kelly Vincent: 07:16
It is really, really fascinating, for good and bad. I remember on the first week of the first job I got after leaving Parliament, with the Education Department here in South Australia, calling up a friend and saying, "I'm leaving work and it's still light outside. I don't understand." I was literally amused. So there's certainly some good aspects of that. I have a lot more time for family and relationships now and just a bit more time to take stock of ...

Christina: 07:50
Of who you are.

Kelly Vincent: 07:51
Who I am and where I'm at in my health and my own needs and energy levels. So it's been very interesting. But certainly I still get a lot of the same requests, maybe not in the same quantity, but for advocacy and for assistance and advice, which I'm still really enjoying doing on a more freelance, pro bono level. I have my days when I, in fact today was one of them, I drove past Parliament House on the way to the studio to do this interview and had that sense of longing. And then there are other days when I have to drive past or walk past and think, "Oh, you can keep that." So it's mixed feelings, but it's something that I think will always be a part of me and for that I'm so lucky and so thankful.

Christina: 08:38
Because I mean all the skills that you brought into Parliament, you've just enhanced them. Now with your parliamentary skills, it's made you even stronger, even more powerful. And I mean you're taking that now into your new role at the (Adelaide) Fringe are you not, what's your title?

Kelly Vincent: 08:53
Access and Inclusion Coordinator.

Christina: 08:56
So tell us how that's rolling out.

Kelly Vincent: 08:59
So basically in a nutshell, I coordinate all of the accessibility needs for Fringe events. So whether it's sign language interpreters or audio description for a blind or vision impaired audience, making sure that as many of our venues are accessible as possible. This year we're going to try and do some things like rolling out accessible matting in some of our outdoor events to make it easier for people with mobility aids or people with prams or people who might be a bit unsteady on their feet for other reasons, to get around. So, there's a lot to think about and it involves liaising with the disability community, which as you've alluded to is something that my previous role involved a lot of too and also involved in liaising with venues and Council to work together to get those things happening as well. So there is a lot of the same kind of liaison that goes on, just at a different level.

Christina: 09:50
But I gather that what's happening with the Adelaide Fringe is a bit 'trailblaze-ey'. Is that right from a festival perspective and that there are other festivals around the world watching what you're doing in this space.

Kelly Vincent: 10:05
Yeah. I mean the Fringe is turning 60 years old in 2020.

Christina: 10:09
60?

Kelly Vincent: 10:10
Yeah, it's our Diamond Anniversary. And we have to understand that our understanding and attitude toward inclusion of all people, including disabled people, has evolved enormously over the past 60 years and will thankfully continue to do so. And so 2018 was the first time that we had the Access and Inclusion role or Access and Diversity role, as it was called last year.

Christina: 10:36
So that was the first year you were in that role?

Kelly Vincent: 10:37
I wasn't in that role, it was someone else. Bec Secombe, who's since moved away. She's an Occupational Therapist, but did a great job in that role.

Christina: 10:47
So tell us how you have to work with the system to make this change happen.

Kelly Vincent: 10:53
Yeah, so there's a lot of negotiating with artists, with venue and venue organisers, with Council. We were very lucky that the City of Adelaide has been very supportive of a lot of our projects at Fringe over the years, including this coming year. But there is a lot of negotiation, but not only that, I think it was the late great, Stella Young who said-

Christina: 11:18
Stella Young.

Kelly Vincent: 11:19
Yes. Amazing, amazing journalist, activist, troublemaker-in-chief, comedian, just whatever you can think of to be, that was Stella. And I'm going to paraphrase her. I can't think of the exact words she used, but she really talked about 'the personal being political when you live with a disability'. And she was absolutely right because everything from the fact that when we go out and just spend time with our mates, have a few drinks with our mates and people see us doing that and that might change their perception about people with disabilities actually being able and wanting to get out and about. Or, when we go to the shops and find out we can't access that particular store, that's political. When we advocate for ourselves in even the most minor of day to day ways, that's political. Because in doing all these things, we're sending a message to society at large about how to treat us and about the importance of listening to us and respecting our voices as the experts in our own lives. So yeah, I'm a big advocate and believer in that old adage that' the personal is definitely political'.

Kelly Vincent: 12:29
And I think coming back to the Fringe role, that's why it's so important to have people who are disabled in those roles, because it really informs that in a way that I think someone without a disability, with all the best intentions, just can't have that same lens. And that same connection to community as well, to know where to reach out to get lived experience advice, to know who to speak to and how to speak to them, to have those sort of contacts as well and that place in the community, I think is a really powerful tool.

Christina: 13:00
This is all part of the work you're doing to build beyond that into better awareness and education in the broader community isn't it? And as you said, is it the multiplier effect?

Kelly Vincent: 13:12
Absolutely.

Christina: 13:13
It just keeps going out and out and out and the Fringe is a wonderful venue to really push that along.

Kelly Vincent: 13:19
Absolutely, and I think the same is true of, I hope, all of my work. Often you do one thing thinking that it will assist a particular group of people, only to find that there is that ripple effect and lots of other people have been affected in different ways also. And there are a couple of examples I can think of here. One is the way in which the Dignity Party, as it was at the time, negotiated to get Universal Design principles into state planning law to make sure that we have consideration of the needs of all people; whether it is people with disabilities at the moment, or those who will have them in the future through accidents or injuries. Or even parents with prams, how do we design venues and public spaces from the get-go, to make sure that the widest possible range of people can utilise this space, from the get-go rather than getting into a mad panic when we realise we've left people out and therefore doing more expensive and often less effective things to try and patch those gaps.

Kelly Vincent: 14:25
Now we didn't get as far as we would like, in that Universal Design isn't mandated law as yet, as it is in other countries, but we have mandated consideration of those principles, which is still a step forward. But I want to really emphasise that the reason we didn't get that mandated Universal Design in place, was that the Planning Minister at the time had particular bodies in his ear about how much the perceived cost and burden of this, which there are plenty of statistics out there to show that this is not true, that Universal Design is often cost neutral for many reasons.

Kelly Vincent: 15:04
One is that you open that venue or that public space up to more people. So, of course more people can come and spend time and money there, where appropriate. So you're actually opening up a new source of income. But where it does add cost, it's usually up to only about 2%. So in the cost of something like building an Adelaide Oval for example, or a hotel, this is such small, it's literally 'small change', in terms of finance. There is such a big investment in our future, particularly given that South Australia has a rapidly ageing population.

Kelly Vincent: 15:38
But another example I can think of that I think will be really effective in years to come, is our negotiating for a treatment Centre of Excellence for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD. Now, this is one of the most maligned and misunderstood serious mental health conditions in existence. People with BPD often struggle with emotional regulation, with their self-image, with their identity. They have a lot of unstable relationships. There's a very high rate of self harm and suicide attempt and it's really, really tragic. We are losing so many, particularly young people, to suicide, with BPD in South Australia. Not only that, but we have repeat Emergency Department presentations because without that specialised support, there was nowhere else for them to go. They were cycling in and out of ED's, in and out of other clinics and therefore they're lost to the workforce; they're lost to volunteering; they've lost their family connections, family relationships. And so by putting these specialist supports in place where they are so sorely needed, we can hopefully, in time, see those people getting well enough - because we know now that BPD is not a life sentence. It used to be absolutely believed that it was incurable. We know that's not the case now. Yes, it's a lot of investment upfront and it's so easy to say when you're not directly involved, but again, even if we take away that personal aspect, that we shouldn't have people dying and we shouldn't have people suffering, take that away. Just the Emergency Department presentations on their own can cost up to $1,500 per person, per presentation.

Christina: 17:24
So is this something that you're bringing into Adelaide?

Kelly Vincent: 17:28
This is something that is already up and running. It's called BPD Co.

Christina: 17:33
And that was something you were pushing, advocating for?

Kelly Vincent: 17:35
Yes. Pushed and pushed and pushed for and finally got it.

Christina: 17:38
And that was while you were in Parliament?

Kelly Vincent: 17:40
Yes, it was one of my last negotiations in Parliament, which is just an absolute fantastic legacy to have. Having worked so closely with people with BPD and their families and ...

Christina: 17:54
And you're right, it operates at both levels. There is the extraordinary enormous personal cost, but there's also the cost to the healthcare system. So that's a big triumph. Are there any others you'd like to share?

Kelly Vincent: 18:10
Absolutely. I'm also very proud of the fact that we negotiated, including with the City of Adelaide, to bring Changing Places to South Australia. Now Changing Places, the way I usually describe them is - if you take a standard accessible toilet, it's got handrails, a bit of extra space - put that on steroids. So it has those things but also extra room, again, an adult size change table and room for a hoist so people can bring in their sling and be hosted on and off the toilet or on and off the change table if they need. Now, one of the reasons this was so important is that we know there are a lot of people, particularly, again, given our ageing population, who do need assistance with toileting, high level assistance, who are going without, who really have to limit the amount of time they spend outside of home because they need to literally build their routine around when they'll be able to go to the bathroom.

Kelly Vincent: 19:11
Either that or they're being forced to change or the floor of a public toilet. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm kind of germaphobic. I'm not the tidiest person, but I do like to be quite clean. And so the thought of getting-

Christina: 19:25
I share both.

Kelly Vincent: 19:27
You can come and tidy, I'll do the cleaning. But the thought of getting changed on the floor of a public toilet just absolutely makes my skin crawl. So that dignity that that affords people and again, the ability to stay longer in the city, spend your time like anyone else, spend your money, come back into the economy, come back into the community, I don't think you can underestimate.

Christina: 19:51
I read, I think in one of your profiles, that the thing that drives you is the need to shift and change people's attitudes to disability. And that you're absolutely driven by the disproportionate chunk of their lives that people with disabilities have to spend battling bureaucracy simply to gain fair access to the world.

Kelly Vincent: 20:15
Absolutely. And I think as well, the City of Adelaide has been quite a proactive Council on access across the board. I mean you have Sarah Cleggett - the Disability Inclusion lived experience Committee that informs the work you do, your Inclusion Plan, you are one of the Councils I think that had a Disability Inclusion Plan even before it was recently mandated by law. So I think City of Adelaide has always been quite a proactive Council. It's been a real pleasure to work with, continue doing so in my new role too.

Christina: 20:48
You've been a playwright always, haven't you?

Kelly Vincent: 20:51
Ah, yeah. Yeah, I think so. I mean I always used to, whether it was puns or little short stories, or little plays that I would make-up with my toys and dolls. I was just one of those really weird kids. But I think it was-

Christina: 21:06
Nah, nah, nah, 'creative'.

Kelly Vincent: 21:07
Oh, creative, absolutely. My mum would say that too. Yeah, I think as well, being autistic and growing up undiagnosed autistic, I think telling stories about the way I see the world or saw the world, was really a way of me to consciously or not, trying to make sense of it and trying to understand the ways in which people interact with each other and with themselves. So yeah, it's something that I've always loved to do and I'm just starting to get back into now. I've started doing some poetry writing in the last few weeks, that I'm trying to get the guts up to share with people. But I'm very lucky that my partner is also a brilliant spoken word musician, spoken word poet and musician. So that's been very inspiring for me too to have her.

Christina: 21:56
So you share that. And then that playwriting background with your political background, it makes it so easy for your transition into the Fringe, doesn't it?

Kelly Vincent: 22:07
I think so. I mean, growing up as a drama kid, one of the things that drew me to drama and the arts more broadly as a kid I was, you wouldn't believe this, but I was debilitatingly shy and really had trouble expressing myself, really had trouble communicating, which I think is true of a lot of young people that come to the arts and find their home there, and learn about communicating and storytelling and find people that like them and share their interests as well. So I think through that, that confidence building and honing those abilities, held me in good stead in Parliament and also into whatever new roles I take on from here. I take on that confidence and those speaking abilities and those ideas about how to tell a story and how to craft your message. All of that really is founded in drama and learning through the arts.

Christina: 23:03
Yes, storytelling narrative, that's how we make change, isn't it? Often.

Kelly Vincent: 23:10
Absolutely. And that's something I've 100% believed in all my life and indeed in Parliament I think it was one of our more effective strategies because I think it's so easy to talk in statistics and all that stuff, but when you actually sit down with somebody and say, "Well, this is Christina, they live with BPD or with chronic pain or with whatever it might be. And this is how they're affected." It is then so much more difficult for people to turn their noses and look the other way, when you've actually got somebody who says, "Well if everything is so going so well statistically, then why am I still going without the income I need to survive. Why am I still in a revolving door of Emergency Department presentations? Why am I having to quit my job to take care of by family member with X, Y, Z needs?" All of those things.

Kelly Vincent: 24:03
So those lived experience stories I think are one of the most powerful tools we have to affect change. And I think sometimes, particularly in minority groups and especially women, we have a habit of downplaying the power of those stories and the power of what we can achieve by sharing them. Because ultimately it doesn't matter whether you think you're interesting or whether you think your story has changed the world. In fact, I was on a panel recently, I was emceeing and one of our panellists said something that I think will stick with me forever. They said, "You don't have to change the world to change the world around you." And I just thought, "Nailed it." That's what it's all about. Sharing those stories, whether it's one person or two people or a thousand people, I don't think we know the power that our own stories have.

Christina: 24:54
Adelaide, as you know, was set up as a city with early ideals of freedom, diversity and inclusion and it's tried to be a city that breaks frontiers. From the original Festival of Arts under Don Bishop, to women's suffrage, decriminalisation of homosexuality, to our first Space Agency. How do you think what you're doing actually is very much picking up that same banner and charging and saying, "We want further change?"

Kelly Vincent: 25:26
Well I think going back to what you've said earlier and what I've always said, is that I think my biggest ambition in life is to try and take away that enormous chunk of our lives that people with disabilities and indeed all minorities spend just battling bureaucracy, perception, misconceptions, all those things.

Christina: 25:48
It's the system.

Kelly Vincent: 25:49
Yeah, the system, the man, whatever you want to call them.

Christina: 25:52
Systems can be changed.

Kelly Vincent: 25:53
Yes, absolutely they can. And I think one great example of that through our work has been the Disability Justice Plan, which basically puts in place, to make a long story short, things for vulnerable witnesses, perpetrators and victims of crime. So in particular, if they need assistance communicating their evidence, if they need a trial brought forward to give them the best chance to recall their evidence if they have memory issues. All these things, we've come such a long way.

Kelly Vincent: 26:30
Now that was a five year battle and we literally went from having a Chief Justice that said, "Well, you never going to do this because this is so traditional and has so many rules, we're never going to be able to fit anybody in." So almost what's the point? To having one who was willing to meet with me right before Christmas and sit down and say, "Explain this to me. What needs to happen? What needs to change?" To having that passed in law and being the first one in Australia to do so and having the rest of Australia, if not most of the rest of the world, looking to us on that, is absolutely ... And again, that was achieved for lived experience. People who had been let down enormously, let down doesn't do them justice, by the justice system. In fact, I don't believe we could even call it that in its current makeup, the justice system, because it hasn't been historically.

Kelly Vincent: 27:24
It has said, people who communicate their evidence verbally, are unreliable witnesses, even though they might be able to communicate it perfectly well in another way. And that's when I came up with the saying that I've always believed ever since, and always will. And I think this is the most important, if I can teach people nothing else, let it be this. 'There is no one who is literally voiceless. There is no one who is actually voiceless. There is no one who is 100% voiceless. There are only those people to whom we haven't yet learned to listen.' And I absolutely believe that 100%. And to now be a nation leader in the way that we respond to those people as victims of crime, giving them a voice. And yes, a lot of this has been devalued and defunded by the current government, I'm not even going to get into that because time doesn't permit me, but still we are nation leading in this, we're in some ways, world-leading on this. And I think that's something that Adelaide and South Australia more broadly can be enormously proud of.

Christina: 28:29
And it takes an enormous amount of courage, because otherwise we do remain stuck in the same systems and people do tend to feel systems can't change. But it takes storytelling, it takes grit, it takes persistence and time.

Kelly Vincent: 28:46
And often you are pushing and pushing and pushing too for so long and just when you're starting to think, "Oh this will never change." Is right when the moment it does. And then suddenly you're on the next thing. It's really funny how that works sometimes.

Kelly Vincent: 29:00
On that thing about bravery, I think that is true. I mean not to blow my own horn at all. But, I'm not a lawyer. I have no union experience. I've had no previous formal politics experience or parliamentary experience prior to my role and there I was, in the example of this Disability Justice Plan issue, taking on the Chief Justice and lawyers and all these highly trained, very intelligent professional people. So was that brave or was that stupid? I'm not sure. But in some ways I think that's almost what made it easier because when you don't know the rules, you can make them up. Do you know what I mean?

Kelly Vincent: 29:42
If you're not so bogged down in tradition and that's not to say I wasn't professional, I certainly wasn't all the time but tried to be most of the time, but I think not having that such a, this person's on a pedestal and this how I behave around them, is actually what enables you to sit down with them as a person and say, "Well look, with all due respect, I do respect your experience and the knowledge that you have. But let me tell you, I know what these lived experience stories are telling me, these real people are telling me and let's find a way to work together rather than being so adversarial."

Kelly Vincent: 30:17
Because I think that's an issue that modern day politics faces, as well as that it's so adversarial, or at least seems to be. What we see in the news, the Question Time where we're all yelling and screaming at each other. Let me let you in on a little secret, that's not when we make change. Most of that's all for show. When we make change, that's all behind the scenes, when we sit down together and say, "I appreciate this as an issue. Let's sit down and find a compromise."

Christina: 30:46
Collaborate.

Kelly Vincent: 30:46
Yeah, collaborate or, "I don't understand why this is an issue. Can you teach me? Can you show me your perspective? Can you show me this?"

Christina: 30:56
Because we all have different perspectives.

Kelly Vincent: 30:58
Absolutely. Quite often you'll be debating a bill in Parliament and somebody else will say, "Oh, what about this group of people? Or what about this issue?" And you'd think, "Oh, I should've thought of that." So that diversity of perspective, that diversity of life experience, is absolutely vital to making positive change.

Christina: 31:16
Two questions. What keeps you in Adelaide? And where to next for Kelly Vincent?

Kelly Vincent: 31:26
A few things. One, I was born here, this is my home. This is where my family is. I've also fallen in love with someone who's also in Adelaide. So as long as she stays here, I guess I will too. My cat really doesn't like travelling in the car, so that's something to consider. But honestly it's also just my community is here, particularly the disability community in South Australia is so tight knit because we are a small state, so our community, again, is smaller. We are close knit, we all do know each other even if we don't get along all the time. And that sense of community and belonging, it's not something you find easily elsewhere. But it's also just the, I think, the gratitude to the opportunities that Adelaide has afforded me and wanting to give back.

Christina: 32:18
Some people would say you've turned challenges into those opportunities and you're actually saying that you see Adelaide has given you the opportunities.

Kelly Vincent: 32:27
Maybe it's a mixed bag. Maybe we did a little from column A, a little from column B. But growing up a drama kid, you get taught this thing that we also say in the Fringe office when we're having a bit of a bad day, "You don't say no, you say yes and." So you're presented with a challenge and you build on the next step to solving that. So, I don't know, maybe Adelaide and I have a bit of a 'yes and' relationship.

Christina: 32:52
I like 'yes and'. Last two questions. Where to next for Kelly Vincent?

Kelly Vincent: 32:57
Where to next? I would love to go back to Europe. I have these visions of going to live in Europe in a Garret in Paris somewhere and writing my poetry. Or even Iceland, I was reading recently that one in 10 people will publish a novel in their lifetime in Iceland. Extraordinary storytelling culture.

Christina: 33:19
Your top three Fringe picks and you may or may not want this question, top three Fringe picks and why. And this question is optional: if you're a Fringe show, what would people expect?

Kelly Vincent: 33:31
If I was a Fringe show, what would people expect? I think a lot of my, I know this is shockingly new, really cutting edge, new thing to say that no writer has ever said ever, but a lot of my material came out at the time that I have spent in depression. I know, it's really cutting edge stuff. And so I try to write a lot of stories that talk about the hardships that people face, but also for want of a less cliche phrase, the light at the end of the tunnel and the power that we have in sharing those experiences as well, and admitting that we're not doing okay. So, 'Antidepressants: The Musical' maybe, I don't know.

Kelly Vincent: 34:15
But my top three Fringe pics, really excited to see Amanda Palmer again, formerly of the Dresden Dolls. I adore her. She's an amazing performer and feminist and just person in general. And she's also one of our Fringe Ambassadors this coming year, so absolutely pumped to see her. We also have a number of shows that are being offered in Relaxed Performance as well. So fewer lights and loud sounds, particularly for people who might be autistic or have other sensory needs or just enjoy a quieter performance. So I'm looking forward to getting into that.

Kelly Vincent: 34:52
I'm really looking forward to Tindo this year, which is our Sunset Ceremony that we're having in lieu of the parade to open the festival. So we're having Karl (Telfer) who's going to be doing an Aboriginal Sunset Ceremony for us. Joanna Agius, who's a deaf Aboriginal woman, also will be involved in that. So I'm really, really looking forward to seeing that. I think we had a crowd of about 15,000 turn out to that last year. So, really looking forward to it being even bigger and more accessible this year. Also Yabarra, which is a walking exhibition in Tandanya as well, that will go throughout every day of the Fringe, so where you can walk and see different arts and different, Yabarra: Dreaming in Light. So there's a lot of reference to first nations culture and their use of light, as well as the importance of light to them as well. I think it's going to be really beautiful.

Kelly Vincent: 35:44
But yeah, check out our guide. There's hundreds of brilliant, amazing shows coming and a lot of them, many of them, are also being offered in our Access Guide as well, which shows you what's available in AUSLAN, what's available with audio description, what's available with open captioning, what there is for Relaxed Performances. So lots of variety in both genre and accessibility of shows this year.

Christina: 36:09
And I believe that program's deliberately in black and white too.

Kelly Vincent: 36:13
Yes, the Access Guide is printed in black and white to make it more accessible to people with a vision impairment. So yeah, every little step that we make is getting a bit closer to being the fantastic ... actually we're the biggest open access arts festival in the southern hemisphere, but I want us to be the biggest open access and accessible festival in the Southern hemisphere. So every year that we chip away at that, gets us closer to that. I'm really grateful to the community for their feedback and hoping that this year even more people with all kinds of different needs, can get out and about.

Christina: 36:48
Performers, as well as audience.

Kelly Vincent: 36:50
Absolutely. I really would love to see that grow. And who knows, maybe 2021 will be 'Antidepressants, The Musical', so who knows?

Christina: 36:58
Kelly, that is wonderful. Thank you very much.

Kelly Vincent: 37:01
Thank you so much. Absolute pleasure to be here, Christina.

Christina: 37:04
Thank you. Ciao.

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Christina Hagger

Dr Christina Hagger combines her radio presenter, writing and researcher skills to help people tell, and share, their stories. She understands the power of voice and narrative to inform, build community, and influence change.

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