Eva Sifis

Eva Sifis

 

Once upon a time I was a dancer working across Australia and performing cabaret shows in Japan. When I sustained a serious Acquired Brain Injury in 1999 due to being hit by a car, that life ended. After my coma, a new one began. I refer to this time as my second childhood. The second one lasted just as long! I had to learn everything over again – walking, talking, relating and, most importantly, dealing with a new me.

Although this was a very difficult period, I realised my capability to overcome – to call on my resilience and strengths. My physical needs were attended to very effectively within the system however I experienced a gap when it came to rejoining society.

I have applied myself to recovery: physically, mentally and spiritually with great dedication. Having worked widely within the national disability arts arena with companies such as Arts Access (SA and Vic), Club Wild (Melb), I have also involved myself in projects with the City Of Port Phillip (Melb) amongst many, many others.

My journey has seen me volunteering extensively over the years both in the arts (Restless Dance, No Strings Attached – SA) and also on the campaign trail with the Wilderness Society – SA.

Studies include massage and bodywork with additional training in aspects of Wellness and also Community Development.
Recovering from advanced Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2009 did not hold me back from returning to live in Melbourne where I spent 2012 as an associate director of the Other Film Festival.

Now my focus has shifted to that of advocacy taking on roles at Arts Access Victoria coordinating the Lesley Hall Scholarship – in which a disabled artist with an idea for a meaningful project is recognised and supported through to the project’s delivery. I have also a training role with Women with Disabilities Victoria around the issue of violence against women with disabilities.

Artistically, whilst living in Victoria, I have acted in community theatre and also enjoyed a return to the stage at Carlton’s La Mama Theatre in 2014 in further development of my story using movement theatre ‘Embryonic Zombie Butterfly’.

In my journey, tools have been learnt to help in my progression. I have consulted with many others who also have ABI and they have contributed their stories.
Success in gaining the Ethel Temby scholarship last year is enabling me to develop – By Accident™. A short course of workshops informed by my own and the lived experiences of others, it will introduce new ways of looking at the all-encompassing life change of ABI. Strategies will be explored that I have found to assist forward movement in life.

The aim of these workshops is to supply a series of sessions custom made to those with head injuries or other traumatic injuries. The wisdom shared shall be structured specifically with the reduced cognitive capabilities of those taking the course.

I will offer information around the changed reality these people are forced to contend with and strategies will be suggested for negotiating their new lives. Also tools will be given for coping with altered methods of perception, functioning and communication.

I have experienced a dearth of people who have lived through the reality of trauma developing and giving teachings to seekers. I am seeking to change that for I, too, have longed for peers versed in similar circumstances to ask advice of and to hear lived experience from.

I feel this feature of the training is a game-changer in the sector. I look forward to empowering others with a learnt sense of incapability that they, too, can progress further than their injuries.

 

For more information about Eva please contact Speakers Bank’s Project Officer on 03 9314 0988 or speakersbank@annecto.org.au