Project team

Who is involved in the project?

1. Yaniv Janson’s leadership is about inspiring other disabled people through actions and results so that they too can achieve recognition through active contribution – by engaging with their passion. Art has changed his life – so now he wants to use art to change others’ lives. The recipient of multiple awards, Yaniv now wants to bring others along on this journey. 

Photo credit: Yaniv Janson
"I am a contemporary New Zealand artist inspired by the works of Hundertwasser, Matisse and Monet. My work has a strong design element.

The people who enjoy my art tell me they connect emotionally to my work. I seek to surprise, and having surprised ask my audience to visualise social and environmental change. Art is a channel of communication that uses pre-conscious mechanisms and through which we can raise awareness in the wider public about issues that matter to us. After all scientists and politicians have tried for decades to raise public awareness about climate change but they use numbers and graphs to make their point. It has not worked obviously – but a large size painting on a gallery wall that shows houses in tormented weather patterns – this moves audiences. I am becoming known for my environmental activism: We need more love-ness in the world for the environment and each other.

2. Maya Zilberberg is a young designer who recently joined the team to support Yaniv move the project to the next level. In discussion with Yaniv, Maya designed the updated edition of Changing the World as an ibook.

3. Olivia Adamson, University of Waikato, Student Ambassador, Hamilton. Olivia is completing her degree in Environmental Science and is enthusiastic about science education and grassroots level work. She is passionate about food sustainability and hopes to get others excited about the natural world and how we interact with it. She will summarise and quantify the action impacts of the Te Uku Sustainable Journal project by analysing the data and representing them it in a format readily accessible to the public, with feedback to the Te Uku School and community.

4. Robert Akscyn has served for several years as a New Zealand Technology Fellow, funded by the Foundation for Research in Science and Technology, to help high tech companies in New Zealand with their R&D strategy. He co-funded a number of startups and received a W. Larimer Mellon Fellowship and an IBM Fellowship from Carnegie Mellon University. Passionate about youth development, Robert mentors students to improve their academic performance and extend their professional networks. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Southern California, is a PhD Candidate at the University of Waikato and the Chairperson of the Fast Track Inclusion Trust, who assist in logistic aspects of these projects. 

5. Dr. Annick Janson supports Yaniv as his mother and leadership coach. The two have been collaborating on such projects since 2008, and complete about one project per year. So far the total funding for these projects has totalled $23,000 and all projects have been summarised and final reports filed with funders. She is very active in the UNESCO communities relevant to our activities. Together they share our findings and resources at relevant national meetings and internationally, via conferences and online fora. On the UNESCO-led World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) we share educational multimedia with teachers and educators in NZ and the world via this platform.

Dr. Janson has been a member of the United UNEVOC TVET UNESCO network since 2012. This year she has  participated in the Sept 2014 conference on skills for the creative industries. The conference programme URL is listed in the reference section of the Additional Materials. The UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training acts as part of the United Nations mandate to promote peace, justice, equity, poverty alleviation, and greater social cohesion. The Centre assists Member States develop policies and practices concerning education for the world of work and skills development for employability and citizenship, to achieve: access for all, high quality, relevant and effective programmes learning opportunities throughout life. Dr. Janson is a member of the Open Educational Resources (OER) UNESCO Forum where we share the results of our applied research with researchers and global collaborators and the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) Community of Practice in Curriculum Development.

We would also like to acknowledge our work with the Director of Apple Initiatives: Accessibility and Learning, South Asia and the Education Development Executive for Apple New Zealand in this project and aim to design an electronic book that will open opportunities for more audiences to Take Action! The ibook will embed assistive technologies to make it accessible for more audiences and provide an example of Accessibility Best Practice.

Yaniv Daniel Janson (Photographed near Tornadoes work - top right)

More about Yaniv
My works are sold and held in galleries and private collections in New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East and Canada. I have exhibited over 50 times, including internationally at the Haifa Bet Aba Hushi Arts and Culture Centre in Israel and at the Galerie Celal in Paris. I am the (youngest!!) guest artist at the Wellington Academy of Fine Arts.

The experimental technique I have developed is to mix colour and water straight on the canvas as I am using it - and work with the delicate balance between intention to create an impact and spontaneity. I then learn from observing how the canvas resists the colour as it produces three dimensional effects".

"Collaborating with textile and architectural designers I embed design forms on canvas and fabric. Acrylic and water colours are my preferred media – I enjoy the spontaneity with which I can use large brush stroke style to mold fast-drying acrylic paints. I use their textural flexibility and quality to achieve impact. I mix abstraction and realism with luminous glows produced by using these techniques.

Along with spending at least 6 hours every day painting and completing my Dip (Hons) in Arts and Creativity this year, I spend my time in research by observing the interaction between colour and surface. Click here to go to my website."

In his personal life, he pushes his limits daily to overcome the challenges of living with Asperger’s and epilepsy, conditions impairing his physical health and ability to form social ties. Yaniv enrolled the mentorship of artist colleagues and communication specialists to overcome his fear of public speaking and participate in aforementioned events, each time breaking new communication barriers. He learnt the value of pushing himself to interact with people and co-lead the Ministry of Social Development-funded ‘Arts2Gether’. This project documented the micro-interactions that build bridges between mainstream and disabled artists and reduce disabled artists’ isolation. A Creative New Zealand grant awarded directly to Yaniv followed to extend his social inclusion creative work with more disabled and mainstream audiences. Yaniv’s passion is all about giving a voice to more disabled people whilst contributing back to society. 

 Working towards crucial environmental goals allows me to give back to my community by proving that disability is not a barrier to achieving and sharing a social message with others. My point is that empowered disabled people can not only diminish the potential of being a future burden on society by developing a career from which they can support themselves  – but further than that they can strive to make a valued contribution to society. My success is not only my own, and that of the educators and support institutions that facilitate my work, but also a powerful message to the wider community – that it is possible to follows one’s dream even when one starts off from a disadvantaged position. When disabled people are not supported in contributing actively to their communities it is a loose-loose situation – but it can transform into a win-win with leaders that walk the talk”.

Yaniv's expertise was recognised on the Arts Online website. Arts Online is the New Zealand representative at the APAH UNESCO.