Virtual Ability: IDRAC 2018 in Second Life

via Virtual Ability

Currently underway in Second Life through October 5th and 6th, 2018 is the International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC), organised and hoted by Virtual Ability Inc. The theme for its years conference is Taking Care of Us, which the organisers note is very open to interpretation, offering the guest speakers opportunity to talk on a range of subjects related to disability rights and care.

The conference is taking place at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island, and will feature presentations from Hong Kong, the UK, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Mauritius, Canada, and the United States. Presentation will be of around 90 minutes duration, including time for discussion and breaks between.

Schedule of Sessions

The conference schedule, as it stood at the time of writing, was as follows. Please visit the conference page on the virtual Ability website for any updates and to read the biographies of the individual presenters. All times are SLT.

Friday, October 5th, 2018

07:00 Lusha Huang (Hong Kong): Enhancing Visually Impaired People’s Travelling Experience through Mobile Applications
08:30 Coomara Pyaneandee (Mauritius): The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
10:00 Debbie Engelen-Eigles (USA): Learning from Korean Women with Disabilities: Lessons from the Field
11:30 Jason DaSilva (USA): Documenting Disability & Looking Towards the Future
13:00 Lauren Bruno and Cassandra Willis (USA): A Survey of Alternative and Traditional Special Education Teachers’ Perception of Preparedness
14:30 Panel discussion of care giving issues with caregivers and care recipients
The Sojourner Auditorium
The Sojourner Auditorium, virtual Ability Island

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

08:00 Patrick McKearney (UK): Care and Visibility: Modes of Agency in L’Arche
09:30
Reginald Nii Odoi (Ghana): We Are The World: Making It a Better Place
11:00
Peter Catapano,  Editor of the Opinion Section of the New York Times (USA): Interview
12:30 Rev. Olutayo Shodipo (Nigeria):
14:00 Amra Mohammed (Saudi Arabia): Creating Policies to Support Twice-Exceptional Students in Saudi Arabia
15:30 Panel discussion of care giving issues with caregivers and care recipients

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Exploring Malaika Park in Second Life

Malaika Park; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrMalaika Park – click any image for full size

Malaika Park is, according to region holder Leroy Voorhees, “A happy place, and home to a very few people . The ground area and the mystical waters underneath are for exploring, photos and fun.” He goes on to note that changes may occur at time in décor, but visitors are invited to embrace and enjoy the setting.

I can vouch for the fact things change at Malaika Park; we’ve visited this full region numerous times over the past few months – although it has actually been around since 2014 – and each time there have been changes both large and small in the current design: a building moved from one side of the bay to the other here, the addition of a piece of art there, the arrival of a car… and so on. All if which have piqued curiosity and encouraged return trips.

Malaika Park; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrMalaika Park

There is a certain eccentric look and feel to the region, marking it as a delightful curio among Second Life regions. Oriented north-to-south, it presents a island with a somewhat Mediterranean feel to it due in part due to some the architecture used, but which also feels a little as if it has been lifted from a storybook with its tall, slender houses rising like multi-hued bristles from the back of a hedgehog as they climb the island’s rocky hump.

The southern end of the region forms a small bay marked by an outstretched rocky promontory on one side and the long arm of wooden decks on the other as they stretch forth from the rocky coast, offering mooring for boats and yachts. A café and an open-air bar face one another across the inner face of the bay, where stone stairs step their way down to the water’s edge – and then under it, as if daring visitors to follow them below – although it wasn’t an invitation to be accepted at the time of our visits; the steps only led to the sensation of getting wet 🙂 .

Malaika Park; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrMalaika Park

Instead, it is better to climb the hump of the island, either by taking the steps up the the terraced café and its rooftop pool or, for a longer walk, up the broad road leading uphill between the talk ranks of the island’s houses and they stand to attention behind what might be a gentleman’s club close to the waterfront.

None of the brightly coloured town houses are actually furnished, but this doesn’t mean there is nothing to appreciate within the town. Follow the road to the top of the hill, and an ageing, pavilion-like house awaits, the path down to a beach off to one side while just behind it, the north side of the island falls away to the sea. This isn’t, however, the highest point on the island.

Malaika Park; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrMalaika Park

This is reserved for a high table of rock rising to the north-west of the island, the location for a studio and workplace set out by Gabriel2009, who along with Leroy, Sangi Phaeton, JJ Goodman, and WayneNZ (responsible for the former Toru homestead region – see here and here for more, and a curator of the former Holtwaye ArtSpace gallery), form the team responsible for the look of the region.

Below this, between it and the café by the bay are a couple of Mediterranean style buildings. One offers itself as a spa with swimming pool and the other a place of table-top and other games, a playable chess set sits on the cobble path outside the walled courtyard setting. Art can also be found at various points across the island, in the studio building up on the north-western plateau, and via sculptures by Mistero Hifeng and Lucas Lameth which sit both on land and in the water.

Malaika Park; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrMalaika Park

And talking of water whilst also returning to our starting point: those who fancy a little on-the-water fun might try the bumper boats available from the deck on the west side of the island’s bay.

Malaika Park makes for a slightly different visit for those who enjoy exploring Second Life; there is no central theme, but enough hints in building styles to give it a certain air of familiarity. The setting is photogenic, and can make an ideal backdrop for photography (join the local group to obtain rezzing rights for props, but do please clean-up behind you.

Malaika Park; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrMalaika Park

Stop Press

Malaika Park will be hosting a special Halloween setting, opening on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 in the sky over the region.

It will be an adventure style thing, an explore and enjoy, thing, all of that plus a hunt with some fun toys and Halloween goodies!

Malaika Park co-designer Sangi Phaeton

So, if you fancy a few Halloween scares as well as a visit to a delightfully quirky and eye-watching region, make a note to visit Malaika Park this October!

Malaika Park; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrMalaika Park

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