Earlier this year, we introduced our Ambassador program and profiled some of the men working with ParaQuad. This month, we’re excited to introduce women who have chosen to come on board and share our vision by participating in Q&A’s, live videos and interviews that will take you into their lives and share their incredible achievements.
Introducing our lineup:
Lynda Holt, ambassador:
My name is Lynda Holt, and I am a business owner, former Paralympian (who is currently making a comeback in shot put and discus), a disability advocate and a massive goal setter!
Just over a year ago, I decided to come out of my sporting retirement and get back on the athletics circuit with the dream to represent Australia again at either another Paralympics, World Championships, or Commonwealth Games. It will take a lot of training and commitment, but I love my sports and enjoy every step I need to take to get to where I need to be. Additional to my sporting goals, I run my own NDIS business, Choice Consultancy, supporting other people living with a disability in the community, which I love to do.
Working with Paraquad will allow me to help people living with SCI, like myself, know that they can set their own goals and make changes to their own lives. Just because we live with a disability does not mean we cannot contribute to society or create our best life!
Riana Head-Toussant, spokesperson:
My name is Riana Head-Toussaint, and I am a disabled, interdisciplinary artist who uses a manual wheelchair for mobility. When I say ‘interdisciplinary’, I mean that the work I make often crosses traditional artform boundaries and involves using skills and knowledge from a range of different practice areas. I employ choreography, performance, video, sound design, and immersive installation design to create works (for online and offline spaces) that interrogate entrenched systems, structures and ways of thinking; and advocate for social change. The ongoing concerns across my works are agency, representation, the limits of empathy, and how these impact people across different marginalised intersections.
I am currently preparing for a new new performance work, currently titled ‘Animate Loading’. In this work, a group of people with vastly differently politicised bodies and movement languages are dropped into a location (eg. a car park), and explore, traverse and interact with it. Their movement brings to light the hidden conditions, assumptions and expectations that often hide within public spaces and within the minds of audiences.
I am hoping to have some fellow people with SCI perform in this work! We have so much to offer movement-wise, be it in our wheelchairs, on crutches, etc; and the skills we have around creatively navigating and interacting with public space are so valuable in a choreographic context. I’ll be sharing some info soon on some upcoming workshops I’m running to introduce people to my choreographic style, and would love to see some of you there! Making sure everything is as accessible and comfortable as possible is really important to me, and that will be a core part of the process.
In terms of other info about me, I’m also a qualified solicitor, and so I do a lot of legally-underpinned advocacy work around making arts and cultural spaces more accessible to disabled folks. I also DJ, curate arts events and am about to start radio presenter training at FBi 94.5.