What is the RD Project?
The Redefining Disabled Project is a photo/narrative series that aims to showcase people with disabilities in their daily lives and to celebrate these individuals as they live and thrive though the physical challenges and social stigmas may be great. The Project’s stories are about people, not disabilities, though disability is a common theme that runs through each of our model’s lives in some way. Each story is different, but all of them honest, raw, and valuable to the Project’s greater vision of developing a clearer, deeper understanding of people with disabilities. Alongside our able-bodied allies, the Project and its models break down the misperceptions and stereotypes of disabilities and the people who have them.
Kim Lan, the RD Project director, interviews and photographs people with disabilities who have applied to be part of the Project, then writes a short biography sharing that individual’s experiences and message, whatever it may be. The stories and portraits that are then published on the website create a safe community in which each person has a voice that, in some way, redefines what it means to be “disabled.”
The Redefining Disabled Project needs your financial support to continue our mission.
Of our many goals, we’d like to send Kim Lan to different places around the country to meet with, interview, and photograph people with disabilities from all over, with different backgrounds and lifestyles, with very different needs, expectations, and perspectives. The traveling component is an important one to the Project as it makes way for unique stories that have likely never been heard.
Over the next year, we’d like to send Kim Lan to at least 5 different locations around the country to meet with at least 35 new models to hear their stories, capture their lives in photographs, and to share with her audience their disability journeys.
This year, too, Kim Lan intends to create 3+ photo series related to the RD Project’s mission in capturing artfully creative portraits focusing on disability and sex and intimacy, disability and athleticism and movement, and disability and fashion, among other important, engaging topics. Kim Lan will also continue her education and advocacy throughout the country by attending and participating in conferences, public speeches, radio interviews, and university lectures.
Each interview costs the Project a minimum of $150 from first application to website publication.
Each trip from Durham, NC, will cost approximately $1,000, including but not limited to airfare, car rentals, and hotel stays. Each trip will be extremely productive and will ideally include 2-3+ interviews, portrait sessions, and hours of narrative writing and publication.
In addition, Kim Lan and her small staff have volunteered their time gratis since 2014 to realize the RD Project’s vision. We would like to be able to offer our volunteers artists’ fees and stipends for their dedication to the cause.
We need $20,000 to bring this facet of the project into fruition, though our overall operating budget is a whopping $65,000. Your contribution* to the Redefining Disabled Project, however small or large, will greatly help us advance toward a more inclusive and understanding community, together redefining “disabled.”
*While monetary donations are most versatile and allow us to allocate funds where they are needed most, we also welcome certain in-kind donations. Please contact Patty@redefiningdisabled.org to contribute an in-kind donation.