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Art x Science Office

What really helps

Maria-Theres Schuler, Mercator Awardee 2020

Best Animation Award - Art Without Limit International Film Festival 2022

SCINEMA International Science Film Festival 

The animated film "What Really Helps“ about Mercator Awardee Maria-Theres Schuler’s Research will be shown at  SCINEMA International Science Film Festival 2021. The SCINEMA is an Australian film festival celebrating international science-related drama and documentary films. The festival was founded with the aim of forging links between the sciences and the arts. SCINEMA accepts entries from all over the world.

Research of Maria-Theres Schuler Mercator Awardee 2020

Since the launch of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008, there has been a major shift in the way people with disabilities are treated in humanitarian contexts: from a medical-care approach to a human rights-based approach that demands that all people - including refugees with disabilities - have the right to self-determination.

But what does this approach mean for those affected themselves? The animated film "What Really Helps" accompanies researcher Maria-Theres Schuler to a camp for refugees in western Uganda - which is certainly considered a showcase example. The humanitarian aid focuses primarily on enabling refugees with disabilities to live an independent life - as independently as possible from humanitarian aid.
But Schuler's conclusion is sobering. The people with disabilities do not see much help in the workshops and courses that are supposed to show them a path to independence. In contrast, material aid or direct financial support would give them more self-determination. The dedicated ethnologist from the University of Zurich, who received the Mercator Award for her research, therefore advocates an alternative approach to aid distribution, one that takes into account different forms of dependency. What really helps depends on the living conditions!

Film by Katharina Weikl
Illustration and Animation: Milica Jovcic
Voices: Thomas Douglas, Claudius Körber, Maria Rebecca Sautter, Lena Schwarz
Music and Sound Design: Mario Marchisella