Dr Melinda Smith uses the mediums of painting, drawing, creative writing, and dance for personal expression. Melinda lives with cerebral palsy, which has necessitated the use of powered wheelchairs and speech generating devices. Her dance career began in 2006 when she performed with a small theatre group called Amuse Ability and 2010 she helped to establish a small dance troupe of wheelchair users, known as Wheel Women, who partnered with Fusion Theatre to develop the stage production Perfectly Imperfect. She worked with Weave Movement Theatre between 2010 – 2015, working with choreographer/directors Yumi Umiumare, Penny Baron, Carolyn Hannah and Nick Papas from Born in a Taxi, Sally Smith and international guest Caroline Bowditch. Since 2015 she has been attending regular workshops in Body Mind Centering and dance improvisation with Alice Cummins. In 2018, Melinda created her first solo work, Spasmotive. The next phase of her work sees her creating a series of audio-visual expressions of life in social isolation. In 2019 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Deakin University. Melinda recently became a member of the Deakin University Disability and Inclusion team as a lecturer in Inclusive Arts. 2020 has seen Melinda accept a position as a Director of the Board of the Women*s Circus, based in Melbourne.
Melinda comes from a professional background of mentoring and consultancy in the disability and education sectors and has developed a series of conference presentations and workshops promoting the health and wellbeing outcomes of dance and movement for people who have physical disabilities, in particular, wheelchair users.