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The COVID Chronicles – tales of resilience during lockdown

COVID Chronicles banner
by Wintringham Communications

Wintringham resident Sue Armstrong is a woman of many talents. Not only is she a talented artist and passionate advocate for people with a disability, she is also the Chairperson of Mixed Nuts Media, a not-for-profit media and video production organisation staffed by people with a psychiatric disability.

Mixed Nuts Media were recently commissioned by the Moonee Valley City Council to produce a video for the International Day of People with a Disability (IDPWD).

The Mixed Nuts Media team worked with Moonee Valley Access and Inclusion Officer, Andrea to produce The COVID Chronicles, a 25-minute film that showcases the resilience of Moonee Valley residents living with a disability throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

IDPWD at Moonee Valley – COVID-19 edition

In 1992, The United Nations declared 3 December to be the International Day of People with a Disability. As an Access and Inclusion Officer, the day is a big part of Andrea’s role.

“It was really important to me that I worked with an organisation that was driven and staffed by people with a disability. I had a chat with Sue, and it was pretty clear that we share the same sort of philosophy around what we were trying to achieve,” says Andrea.

“On the United Nations’ International Day of People with a Disability, the Moonee Valley City Council usually have an event, but they weren’t able to do that, so they wanted to do a video instead. So through my network, they came to me,” says Sue.

Andrea rounded up participants for the video, while Mixed Nuts Media got busy preparing for filming and making sure that they had informed consent from all involved.

“We were interested in their personal stories and experiences, we weren’t seeking shock value, drama, or high levels of emotion,” says Sue.

“We really care about informed consent, not just ‘yes, yes I’ll do it', but if you go out in public, this will be seen worldwide, and while there are good things about being on camera, there are some drawbacks.

“One of the things we were really clear about is that you don’t have to spill your guts to be heard; you don’t have to tell everyone all your private business. And if you’re uncomfortable with the question, you can always say ‘no comment.’”

Working together in isolation

While the team originally planned to film face-to-face, changes to restrictions meant that The COVID Chronicles were shot entirely on Zoom. While the team quickly adapted to their new way of filming, working on the project during the pandemic did have its challenges.

“It was a difficult time; we were all at home and everybody fluctuated in terms of how they were feeling. It was really important that we had a supportive team and that we were checking in with each other regularly,” says Andrea.

“Even though I had to deliver the project to Council, the priority was that everybody, including the project team and all the participants remained well.

“Mixed Nuts Media were great in supporting the participants, particularly Nathan who did the interviewing. They were really good at communicating with the participants in the video. They were really flexible – they were working with people with physical and intellectual disabilities, so they learnt new skills around the accessibility of that too.”

Their hard work paid off and the team delivered the video on-time for its launch on the International Day of People with a Disability in December. The video reached new audiences to become Moonee Valley Council’s most-watched video of the year.

“I believe the quality was really good, even over Zoom. It opens up possibilities of us doing more filming on Zoom during lockdowns and also internationally,” says Sue.

Sue’s story

Sue came to Wintringham many years ago, when she was referred by her case manager from another provider.

“I’ve been in the sector for three decades, I’m pleased to report that I find Wintringham to be the best service I have ever come across.

“I was reluctant to move from where I was living at the time, but I was struggling at home on my own. It took a lot of very delicate negotiating by my case manager at the time to even get me to come and meet with Wintringham, and at the end of the meeting, I turned to my friend who had come with me, and I said ‘I’m moving here.’”

You can watch The COVID Chronicles here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOOyHvjvxto

Mixed Nuts Media provides video production and training opportunities, specialising in the disability and mental health sectors. Visit their website to find out more: https://www.mixednutsmedia.org.au/  

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If you are over 50, struggling to make ends meet, want a quality affordable home and help when you need it. If you want a good life then contact us on 03 9034 4824.
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Wintringham is a not-for-profit welfare organisation created to address the scourge of elderly homelessness. Wintringham Housing is registered in the state of Victoria as a Housing Association.

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