Name: Max Magain
Course: Bachelor of Design Studies (current)
Bachelor of Visual Arts and Applied Design
Photographic Technician Certificate
University of Adelaide (Bachelor of Design Studies)
Adelaide South TAFE SA (Bachelor of Visual Arts and Applied Design)
South Australian Institute of Technology (Photographic Technician’s Certificate)
Photographic portfolio to the North Adelaide School of Art
Mode of Study:
Mobile work bench
Different height for computer desk
Bench for photographic enlarger – height adjustable for wheel chair users
Post polio Multiple sclerosis (in later life)
I have always been involved in an artistic field of work. I ran my own photographic business and was a photographer for GMH in Australia. I also worked at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for 13 years in radiology when my employment was terminated due to invalidity. It was this action by my employer that motivated me to improve and develop myself and to undertake tertiary study at TAFE and university.
In addition I started taking night classes in drawing as a leisure course at a private art school and discovered that the cost of doing this one class was equivalent to undertaking a diploma at TAFE where I could study 12 subjects for the same cost. I approached the North Adelaide School of Art and showed them a portfolio of my photographic work. There were 80 applicants for 30 places and I was one of the 30 students whose portfolios were accepted. I was assessed solely on my artwork and not my wheel chair which made me feel really good!
My short term career goal is to specialise in graphic design as a part of my Bachelor of Design Studies. However, my long term career goal is to study architecture with a focus on the built environment. Once I have gained this qualification I plan to become self employed as a consultant advising ageing people on how to modify their homes to accommodate disability access without affecting the real estate value of their home and incorporating design elements into the modification.
"My experiences at tertiary level have been an enjoyable challenge".
I decided to undertake sculpture studies as part of my Bachelor of Visual Arts and Applied Design and to specialise in bronze sculpture. I enjoyed sculpting three dimensional forms and wanted to undertake a challenge in order to prove that I could do the same as everyone else.
My works have been extremely successful and in the year 2000 my sculpture featured on the Front Cover of the University of South Australia’s International Graduate School of Management course handbook. This year I have an upcoming exhibition at the Royal Society for the Arts 150th year celebrations and will submit an entry in the Waterhouse Natural History of Art competition that will be exhibited at the South Australian Museum.
“Once I got my degree I found that opportunities existed that had never happened before. I was offered consulting positions. It opened up doors to other opportunities at different universities who offered me places once I had got my degree. I could do honours or masters. I went into architecture doing a Bachelor of Design Studies. These are opportunities that just didn’t exist before.”
My advice to potential students is to ignore the ‘dis’ and concentrate on the ‘ability’.
Having a disability is hard and challenging and you will have to make extra effort but the outcome is rewarding!
Number 1 - Preparation
Preparation is a big part. Make sure you asses what you can and can’t do and evaluate how you can get around any problems that you foresee. You might need to build up your endurance and fitness. I undertook hydra therapy and swimming to build up my own strength as sculpture is a physically demanding course. It is important that you plan ahead and identify any problems in advance.
It is also important to prepare for the day by planning personal hygiene and medication time tables to best fit in with lectures and tutorials, so you don’t get caught short or embarrassed!
It is also helpful to know where the toilets are located before your course begins and don’t hesitate to use a lift to enter the lecture theatre to avoid being stuck up the back of the room.
Number 2 - Safety Considerations
Look at the safety aspect of your course and the occupational health and safety implications. Don’t try to be a hero if it is going to put your life at risk or in danger. Be smart about your decisions.
Make logical decisions regarding the impact your disability will have on your chosen course of studies.
Number 3 - Disability Staff
Speak with disability staff as early as possible to ensure that you organise the accommodations that you need. Disability staff are an important resource and through them you can find out information that you would normally be aware of such as scholarships and grants for students with disabilities.
“I discovered grant applications and got a personal development grant of $500 to meet the cost of fees. It is not a lot but it goes along way to meet fees and materials. From here I found out about tother grants that I could apply for and if I worked hard enough and made the right submissions I could get other grants such as the Dawn Slade-Faull Award and the Charles Bright Scholarship.”
Number 4 - Speak Up
Talk to lecturers and speak up if you are having problems. Don’t miss deadlines because you didn’t speak up and ask for assistance. You only have yourself to blame if you don't ask for assistance.
Pace yourself. Don’t burn yourself out. If need be, study part time. Don’t take on too much just because everyone else does it normally.
Number 5 - Disclose
Take the initiative -don’t be too proud - disclose!
Networking is a big part of the transition process. Be a part of voluntary organisations and get involved.
I am a member of the Abilympics and the Community Arts network and through word of mouth I was invited to be a consultant with Arts in Action after I had graduated.
“Once I had become a qualified artist I was approached by Arts in Action to become a consultant for them. I am employed 2 or 3 times a month to help people with disabilities who also want to become artists. Consultancy is a job that I would never have dreamed of and they approached me.”