“Valuing Lives” Screening at Walker Art Center on March 1

Publication date: 
February 22, 2018

On March 1, ICI’s award-winning documentary film Valuing Lives: Wolf Wolfensberger and the Principle of Normalization will be shown in the McGuire Theater at the Walker Art Center, located at 725 Vineland Place in Minneapolis. The free screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the principle of normalization, and the evening will close with a tribute to retiring ICI researcher Angela Amado, honoring her distinguished career promoting social inclusion. The two ICI events are featured on the Walker Art Center's website.

Directed by Jerry Smith, the hour-long film explores the principle of normalization, an idea that challenged our fundamental assumptions about people with intellectual disabilities, and the iconoclastic professor whose intense, multi-day workshops trained thousands of human services professionals in the theory and practice of this idea. Wolfensberger provided a theoretical blueprint for community inclusion as the deinstitutionalization movement was gaining strength in the early 1970s. His formulation of normalization swept through the field of disabilities and had a significant effect on the design of services and supports in North America and internationally. This represented a sea change in thinking at a time when it was considered normal to warehouse nearly 200,000 Americans with intellectual disabilities in large institutions.

Guy Caruso (a student of Wolfensberger’s, co-producer of the film, and the Western Coordinator for the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University in Philadelphia) will be joined on the panel by Trina Simons, Beth Mount (a national consultant working with programs throughout the United States to support others to see capacities in people with disabilities), and DeBrea Chambers (Program and Housing Access Coordinator for Owakihi, Inc., an agency in St. Paul providing person-centered home and community-based supports to people with intellectual disabilities and mental health needs). Colleen Wieck, Executive Director of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, will deliver opening remarks. “It’s time for a new generation to rediscover the principle of normalization and ensure that all people who are devalued in society have access to the good things in life,” says filmmaker Smith. The event runs from 5-9 p.m. The tribute to Amado and the reception will be in the Cityview Room. The event is free, but seating for the film is limited and RSVP is encouraged.