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Meet Julia Svaganovic, a local creative producer who created the ‘I am an Artist’ series profiling local artists. Julia is also a geek girl, TV addict, and powerchair sports athlete. She co-founded and runs the @WeAreDisabled Twitter project, and is currently the vice president of Powerchair Sports Victoria and Social Media Officer at getaboutable.com.

Tell us about your community, and why it’s important to be part of one?
I have a few communities that I’m part of, I have my geek community from Continuum, Melbourne’s speculative fiction and pop culture annual convention which is where I found people who share my interests. It is also a great space to discover new things and often inspires creativity and ideas.

I am also part of the powerchair sports community, and it's here I have befriended people passionate about sport and who share similar experiences as they have disabilities like mine. Then there’s disability Twitter where I have learnt so much, is a wealth of information and support and keeps up the fight for access and inclusion.

All these communities have connected me with people not only locally in Melbourne, but also interstate and overseas. Being part of a community is important for a sense of belonging and connection. They let you know you are not the only one, they can be a resource and support and a place of acceptance and joy.

What keeps you up at night?
On a good day, karaoke sessions with friends. Usually I'm tired enough there's not a lot that keeps me up, though it tends to be worry or anger if it does. The worry stems from how I'm going to solve a particular problem whether it be a project I'm working on, support staffing issues, the logistics of going out and doing something if it's a situation I haven't been in before, if I've done something right or done it wrong and made a mess of things, all the stuff everyone worries about. And sometimes it's because I have an idea that my brain can't stop working on whether it's a current project, or an issue that is occupying my thoughts. I have written many a blog post in my head while in bed that never made it into the written form everyone can read.

What makes you feel inspired or like your best self?
Engaging with things that remind me to believe in magic, and just how in the everyday world can be. This mostly comes in the form of movies and books, sometimes we just get so bogged down by everything that goes on in our lives and we forget to see the magic. I am also inspired by people who are passionate about what they do and making a difference in the world. And music, I surround myself with music a lot, it makes me feel lighter and more like myself.

Imagine you’re in company with a fellow disabled creative, what would you share with them?
I like to think we would talk about what we are both passionate about, what interests us and sparks creativity. If they are having trouble seeing a path to do what they want to do, and which are some of my experiences to show you don't have to take the traditional, nondisabled way to get where they want to be, that you can do it in a way that works for you and is a different journey but no less valuable. In a Covid-19 world there are so many more opportunities now that the world has discovered doing things virtually and remotely opens up so much more accessibility.

Why should we go see FEM-aFFINITY at Bunjil Place?
For a start, the art is fantastic! And a wonderful mix of mediums that explore different aspects of the feminine. It is such an important exhibition because it demonstrates no matter your perceived ability art is art. And although artists come from diverse backgrounds with different styles, there can also be common threads that connect not only the work but the artists.

Watch Julia's I am an Artist video series on the FEM-aFFINITY exhibition page.