To celebrate #IDPWD we take a look at what’s happening to support meaningful participation, and choice for people with disability across the arts sector.

3 December 2019

Artistic residencies at Bundanon Trust

In partnership with Accessible Arts NSW, Bundanon Trust offers an annual artistic residency for artists with disability.

In 2019 Michele Freeman, Angie Goto, Sarah Houbolt, Guy Morgan, Sri Thulin and Lucas Wright undertook a 2 week residency at Bundanon Trust between 26 August and 9 September 2019.

Bus Stop Films Short Film Program at the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)

This year the NFSA is hosting a free screening of short films made by students at Bus Stop Films, a not-for-profit film school for people with disability, who recently opened its Canberra school.

Bus Stop Films is dedicated to building the confidence and skills of people with intellectual disabilities and from marginalised communities by giving them access to a film school experience. The NFSA will celebrate the achievements of these talented filmmakers with a program of family-friendly short films, including the Canberra-made Beautiful. The films will be presented with closed captions, hearing loop and an AUSLAN interpreter.

Credit: Bus Stop Films, Shakespeare in Tokyo

Meeting Place Arts Culture and Disability Forum at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA)

From 1 to 3 December the NGA is hosting the second day of Meeting Place 2019, Australia’s leading annual forum on arts, culture and disability.

Aunty June Riemer, Deputy CEO of First People’s Disability Network will present a talk on the way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are inclusive communities followed by a panel discussion on the topic Culture Is Inclusion with Tilley Davey, Hands On Studio, and Penny Pollard, Belconnen Art Centre – 2 Canberra organisations that support artists with disability.

The Gallery’s trained artist educators will provide access to exhibitions by delivering an audio described tour of the Australian collection, an Auslan interpreted tour of Yayoi Kusama’s installation The Spirits Of The Pumpkins Descended Into The Heavens and a digital drawing workshop inspired by Jackson Pollock’s iconic painting Blue Poles.

Image credit: Artist Stephen Corsini created 25 soft sculptures at Hands On Studio and inspired his colleagues to collaboratively make and design additional figures. National Gallery of Australia

New inclusion programs at the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM)

In 2018-19, the ANMM introduced new inclusion programs for people with disability and difference, including:

  • a sponsored disability outreach program supported by the St George Foundation, designed to give students with disability an experiential learning program.  Visits to schools across Sydney occurred during July and August 2018
  • Sensory Friendly Sundays, designed for people with a variety of sensory differences, during which the Museum opens early to offer a quieter experience.

The ANMM has also made accessibility enhancements to its theatre including a wheelchair-accessible seating layout and a lift in the museum foyer to improve access to the Museum’s upper floor.

Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies Oral History Project at the National Library of Australia (NLA)

Since 2009, the NLA has been working in partnership with the Australian Paralympic Committee on an oral history project that captures the voices of elite athletes with disability and individuals involved in the Paralympic Games.

Since the project began, 55 interviews have been completed with further interviews planned. Many of the interviews can be listened to online through the Library’s audio delivery system.

Material from these interviews has also been used by Tony Naar from Paralympics Australia to inform a comprehensive website and a forthcoming book. These interviews highlight the extraordinary achievements and contributions that athletes with disability have made to Australian sports at the highest level.

iDay at the National Museum of Australia (NMA)

On 3 December 2019 the NMA is holding its annual iDay event to celebrate its diverse community.

Visitors will have the chance to get up close with alpacas and ponies, enjoy a guide dog puppy demonstration, craft activities and participate in a dance class and performance for people with Parkinson’s disease.

Inclusive programing at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia (NPG)

In 2019 the NPG launched an audio description app for blind and sight impaired visitors supported by immersive 5 day training in audio description for all Access and Learning staff.

The Gallery has embraced live streaming to share programming with Dementia Australia, the Canberra Hospital and aged people’s homes across Australia and overseas.

The NPG has also hosted monthly group meetings for Dementia Australia and run a workshop for students with hearing impairment with the Funky Artists puppet makers from Bali who use recycled materials to explore portraiture and identity.

Sensorium Theatre with Creative Partnerships Australia

Sensorium Theatre is an Australian arts organisation that aims to improve the lives of young people with disability by encouraging them to engage with the arts and their own imaginations.

Sensorium Theatre works with children with a range of access needs, including children on the autism spectrum and those with complex and multiple disabilities who may have limited movement and/or sensory impairment and complex communication needs. Members of the children's circle of support, including siblings, are also welcomed. The Theatre also offers inclusive audience shows for young people with and without disability.

Sensorium Theatre provides multi-sensory engagements with their audiences who can see, hear, smell, touch and taste the story of the production as it unfolds around them.

Through Creative Partnerships Australia’s Plus1 program the organisation raised a total of $47,000 in 2018-19 to expand the number of performances they deliver.

Image credit: Sensorium Theatre, Oddysea

Photo: Jessica Wyld