“Using Art for Social Change – Transform the Narrative of Illness, Disability and Life Challenges”

Dr. Shanali Perera (MBBS MRCP) offered a special lecture on “Using art for social change – transform the narrative of illness, disability and life challenges” to a group of students who are reading for B.A. Honours Degree programme in Mass Communication on the 12th of December 2017. Dr. Shanali Perera is based in Manchester, UK, and is currently a patient under the care of Rheumatology at the Manchester Royal infirmary treated for vasculitis. She uses digital applications for artwork to cope with pain, chronicle the illness experience, adjust to living with vasculitis, to communicate with health providers, family and friends and to challenge stereotypes of disability. During the lecture, Dr. Shanali Perara spoke candidly of her lived experience of disability and how she uses digital art as a coping mechanism, to gain a sense of ‘control’ and to encourage changes in societal attitudes towards disability. The lecture ended with a discussion on the responsibility of the media and therefore the students of Mass Communication in challenging negative stereotypical portrayals of persons with disability. The lecture was organised jointly by the Coordinating Centre for Students with Disabilities together with the Department of Mass Communication of the University of Kelaniya.