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“Today there is an estimated 140 million children who are out of school, the majority being girls and children with disabilities. Among them, 90% live in lower middle-income countries and over 80% of these children are in Africa. There are countless others within the school system not receiving quality education. How many of these children who are not attending school live in your country? How can we take steps towards ensuring that these children, who have a right to education, are not left behind?
This is why I say inclusion is a never ending story and I am glad that I had the opportunity to bring you closer to the struggle and lives of these people. You can also learn something from them as I did during this research”. (Jovana Stokanic, director of Blind Spots)
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Blind Spots is a documentary film project investigating the contradictions and challenges enfolded in the ongoing inclusion process of the blind and partially sighted children and youth into the formal schooling system of Serbia.
THE GOALS motivating this production are:
- to raise questions and reveal contradictions embedded in the governmental strategies and the implementation practices of the education reform referring to the visually impaired students;
- to give a voice to the community of the visually impaired people, (which was so far not consulted during the inclusion process), and confront it with the opinions of educational specialists working with this group as well as experts who were working on the Government inclusion legislative programme;
- to use this case study as a basis of reflection on our society strategies and prejudices when dealing with minority groups;
- to use artistic visual approach and anthropologically informed commentary in order to emotionally and intellectually engage the audience to change their perspectives and raise awareness towards the stereotypes, as well as motivate public discussion and have an outreach towards organisations that deal with this topic.
The documentary Blind Spots deals with the problem of visibility of a certain social group (visually impaired students) and the challenges of their integration into the existing educational system in Serbia.They seem to be occupying the “blind spots” of society, not exactly invisible – but indiscernible under the integrative unity we force onto our social environment. The documentary is researching the model of inclusion through one of marginal groups; blind and partially sighted people. The model of inclusion aims to includechildren with special needs into the regular schooling system thus enabling them to leave the blind spots. The film is called Blind Spots because once they are moved into our schooling system they accept our educational system and our view of the world so once again they fall into a blind spot by assimilation with us within our cultural and social field. Major part of the movie is dedicated to the development of typology in Serbia and in particular technology behind it. It is stipulated by the law that equal opportunities must be provided for all students. Technology is a major instrument for the integration of the partially sighted and the blind. The success of this integration is bound up with the adequate deployment of technical facilities, their availability and their usefulness in the everyday activities of the students.
Director: Jovana Stokanic, Anthropologist and movie maker. Being a student of anthropology at the University of Belgrade, I had the opportunity to acquire highly relevant knowledge on political anthropology, methodology and art as well. I strongly believe that applied anthropology and its visual representation offer a great opportunity to interpret the society we live in and both to offer answers and create new questions for the comprehension of the reality diverse people and groups within society live in while making it accessible for greater public.
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