Liam Knierim has Bachelor of Medical Science at Sydney University. He is currently in his Honours year, , with the aim of becoming a medical doctor. Liam is also a founding member of Knierim Brothers Productions which has provided media services to the health and disability sector since 2008.
In August 2016, Liam was invited to co-present at the Australian Medical Students Association Global Health Conference on the topics brought forward by the participants of the multi-media art exhibitions Silent Tears, Outing Disability and Unfinished Business projects. In November 2016, he co-presented again with Denise Beckwith and Belinda Mason at the Western Sydney University the Social Workers in Disability Conference on a panel discussing the exhibition Outing Disability.
By combining his passions for journalism, health, science and technology, Liam hopes to use his skills to help the wider community gain a greater understanding of diversity in order to improve the lives and health outcomes of people with disability. This is a reflection of his commitment to both medicine and human rights.
‘Growing up, I have been lucky enough to be exposed to array of different communities from CALD, LGBTQI and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. I was once asked, ‘What is it like to grow up in such a diverse environment’. I replied, ‘What is it like not to?’ People are not defined by any single label, they are reflective of the intersections of their own culture, gender and identity and the need to recognised that as individuals we are multifaceted. We all share what is innate, lived human experiences of love and hate, pity and empathy, sadness and happiness. Through these similarities, a greater appreciation and understanding of our differences can evolve and create a more inclusive and tolerant environment.
Through journalism I discovered a powerful conduit to share these experiences with others in an informative and engaging manner. I subconsciously invited people to reflect upon their attitudes and assumptions and challenge themselves rather than others. A pivotal moment in my life was working with Belinda Mason on such projects as, Unfinished Business, stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability; Outing Disability, stories from people with disability who identify as Gay Lesbian Bisexual Queer Transgender and Intersex+; and Silent Tears, stories from women with disability who have been subjected to violence and women who acquire disability as a result of violence. These projects have been displayed in conjunction with the United Nations in both New York and Geneva and exhibited widely across Australia.
It is achievements like this that I hold dear, as I witnessed the diversity health outcomes and the complexity of the provision process. This valuable experience lead me to the realisation that journalism, was the preparation for a larger chapter of my life, and that it was medicine, not journalism, that was my calling.
The social model of disability challenges the discrimination and prejudice faced when articulating the personal experience of impairment. The medical model equips support services in the management of heath care of the physical self. Integral to creating balance between the two models is the assertion of our common humanity to support ethical approaches in order to improving the human rights and health outcomes of people with disability.
Throughout the past three years studyingMedical Science at the University of Sydney I have been lucky enough to learn what physically makes us human. I thoroughly enjoyed learning the anatomy and physiology of human beings. Comprehending more of how the human heart functions or the determinates that govern our gene expression is part of the incredible adventure into medicine that fuels my thirst for knowledge of life and the world around us. I have begun to look at the people I had interviewed through a different lens, in order to understand the causation of their disability. The aetiology of their disability is like a puzzle that the medical fraternity have the resources to begin to solve. The key is to ensuring an inclusive process, by partnering with people with disability on a equal platform. I know to create an impact on the entire world is an almost impossible task, but to impact someone’s entire world is possible.’
– Liam Knierim