News September 25, 2018

Australia Council commits $750k for arts and disability funding, “artists with disability create powerful work”

Australia Council commits $750k for arts and disability funding, “artists with disability create powerful work”

The Australia Council has confirmed $750,000 over three years to support the work and talents of artists with disabilities.

“Artists with disability create powerful work,” said Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski.

“This work offers unique insights which can shift perspectives and redefine art forms.

“It’s imperative we empower artists with disability to achieve their artistic ambitions so that the arts truly reflect the diversity of our nation.”

Grybowski made the announcement at Meeting Place, the arts and disability forum which is the signature event of Arts Access Australia.

Held in Alice Springs this year before 200 delegates, it began on Monday and winds up tomorrow.

Among topics discussed were what they needed as practitioners; career pathways, employment outcomes and stories of success; how disability policy is put into practice; best-practice models from around Australia and the world; inclusive practice; and where the disability and screen sectors meet.

The constant theme was to increase visibility in music and the arts, wheelchair access, special toilets and large doorways backstage in theatres, and the need for productions to change their mindsets to say “we’ll make this work” rather than see it as a hindrance.”

The 2018 NT Arts Access awards were also held.

The Australia Council’s latest investment builds on its previous commitments.

It will focus on structured mentorships, and two new awards to increase the visibility of established artists and rising stars, all commencing in 2019.

These new investments are inspired by the results of recent Australia Council research: Creating Pathways and Making Art Work. 

According to the Council, “The research shows the importance of agency, ownership, success stories and role models in creating pathways for other artists with disabilities.

“It highlights the need for greater investment, as artists with disabilities are still under-represented among professional artists and often earn half the wage of able-bodied artists.”

More initiatives promoting greater access and inclusion for everyone in the arts sector will be announced later in the year.

Read about its Disability Action Plan and more background information here.

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