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Meeting Place 2016 Program

Meeting Place 2016:

  •        Date:      Friday, 27 May 2016
  •        Time:     9:00AM – 5:00PM
  •        Venue:  Adelaide Festival Centre, King William St, Adelaide.
    •        Representation and Advocacy
    •        Facilitation and Development
    •        Information and Advice
    •     Emma Bennison – Chief Executive Officer
    •     Kathie Kelly –  Development Consultant
    •     Louise Josephs – Administrative Assistant


Welcome from the Arts Access Australia Chair

On behalf of the Arts Access Australia board and staff, I would like to warmly welcome you to Adelaide for the Arts Access Australia Meeting Place 2016. Meeting Place is Arts Access Australia’s key event for 2016. It is not a traditional conference, rather, an opportunity for the arts and disability sector to come together for discussion and debate on current and emerging issues of national and international significance.

So whether you are new to arts and disability, or have been around for a while, we welcome you and encourage you to share your thoughts, ask your questions and bring your ideas to the table during the day. We appreciate the effort many of you have made to attend this event and hope you will find the content stimulating and thought-provoking.

Jenine Mackay, Chair, Arts Access Australia


About Arts Access Australia

Arts Access Australia (AAA) is the peak national body for arts and disability.

We work to increase opportunities and access for people with disability as artists, arts-workers, participants and audiences.

AAA is a disability-led organisation that provides three key services for our members:

Arts Access Australia is unique because we work with people with disability in all areas of the arts, across all art forms, all age groups, and across all impairments and all areas of Australia.

Arts Access Australia uses the Social Model of Disability. So we use the term ‘disability’ to refer to barriers, rather than medical conditions or impairments.

When we say we work with ‘people with disability’, we mean anyone with sensory or physical impairments, hidden impairments, intellectual impairments, learning difficulties or mental health conditions. We recognise and value the culture and language of the deaf community, and include them within this definition in recognition of the similar barriers that many deaf people face accessing the arts.

Arts Access Australia Staff

  •     Emma Bennison – Chief Executive Officer
  •     Kathie Kelly –  Development Consultant
  •     Louise Josephs – Administrative Assistant

Sponsors and Partners

We would like to thank the following sponsors and partners for enabling us to reduce costs so we could continue to make Meeting Place available free of charge, offer bursaries to assist people with disability to attend and provide an accessible live stream of the event via the internet.

Major Sponsors:


Department of Social Services



The Captioning Studio

 Captioning Studio

The Captioning Studio Group provides innovative access solutions that transform the way people participate in, and access, areas such as education, the arts, business and conferences.  



AV Plus

          AV Plus     

Information Alternatives

Information Alternatives specialises in ensuring that conferences and other events  are fully accessible. We are Australia's leading independent producer of braille and other accessible materials.  






The Adelaide Festival Centre



Live Stream and Social Media

We understand that attending Meeting Place in person may not be possible for various reasons. So Meeting Place will come to you via the internet. There will be two versions of the event to choose from, one containing the audio only plus the audio description for people who are blind or vision-impaired, and one with a video feed of the event and live captioning. The streaming links and further information can be found at

Whether you’re in the room, or participating via the internet, we want to hear from you. You can use the hashtag #aaameetingplace to see what others are saying and share your thoughts. Also, don’t forget to follow Arts Access Australia on twitter, @ArtsAccessAust or like us on Facebook.


We take access very seriously at arts Access Australia. So we’ve done everything we can to make this event as accessible as possible. Below is a brief summary of the access services available.

  • Audio Description: available to provide a live description of visual elements of the program via headset. Delivered by Access2Arts; the audio describer will provide people who are blind or vision-impaired with headsets and assistance to access the audio description. Audio description will also be provided as part of the internet coverage. Visit for further information.
  • Captioning: to assist people who are Deaf or hearing-impaired, captioning will be provided throughout the event and via the internet coverage. Visit for details.
  • Auslan: Auslan interpreters will be interpreting the event and Auslan will also be available via the internet coverage. Visit for details.
  • Hearing Augmentation: neck loops will be available to assist people who are hearing impaired who use compatible hearing aids.
  • Orientation and General Assistance: volunteers will be on hand to assist with orientation and general assistance. If you need assistance and are unable to locate a volunteer, please call Louise on 0439 801 326 voice/text.
  • Beanbags: for those who find sitting for long periods difficult or who experience fatigue, beanbags have been provided at the back of the room. Please ask a volunteer if you need assistance.
  • Braille and large print Programs: these are available on request from the registration desk. Electronic versions of all materials will be provided to attendees via E-mail.
  • Dog Guide Facilities: water bowls are provided and locations will be announced on the day. Grass is available for toileting.

We ask that you please consider others with chemical sensitivity and refrain from wearing perfumes or aftershave on the day. Your assistance with this request is greatly appreciated.



9:00AM: Registration, morning coffee and networking

9:30:        Welcome and acknowledgement of country

Jenine Mackay, Arts Access Australia Chair

9:45:        Update from the Australia Council 

Frank Panucci, Executive Director, Arts Funding in conversation with Emma Bennison, CEO, Arts Access Australia.

Frank will provide an update on the Australia Council’s activities in relation to arts and disability and the impact of decisions in relation to the allocation of the Australia Council’s four-year funding program on the arts and disability sector.

10:00:      Broadening horizons: International opportunities for Australian artists with   


A panel of speakers will discuss emerging opportunities open to Australian artists and companies overseas.

Chair: Gaelle Mellis

Panellists will include: Jo Verrent, Senior Producer of Unlimited, Padraig Naughton, Director, Arts and Disability Ireland, Morwenna Collett, Unlimited intern and Emma Bennison, CEO, Arts Access Australia

11:00:      Disability-led practice: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

As funding opportunities for artists with disability to develop and present work increase, a panel of funding bodies and artists will explore the notion of disability-led practice, including what it means in the context of a funding application, what it means in relation to arts practice, how it can be evaluated and how audiences can be built for the work.

Chair: Jenine Mackay

Panellists:  Martin Sawtell, co-director, Access2Arts, Morwenna Collett, Australia Council and Sarah Houbolt, artist.


12:00:      Lunch


12:45-1:00:  Screening: Sit Down, Shutup and Watch Film & New Media Festival 

Sit Down, Shutup and Watch Film & New Media Festival is Australia’s premier film festival for films made by people with a learning disability. Representatives from the Management Committee will introduce a short selection of films from the festival.                           

1:00:        The stuff We Don’t Talk About – Mental Health in the arts and disability


Whether you’re an artist, arts worker, or arts leader, chances are, you or someone you work with is experiencing mental ill health. It is often as a result of the ongoing exposure to trauma, isolation which comes with the dual role of advocacy for the arts and for people with disability in this sector, or the pervasive and unrelenting uncertainty in relation to financial and human resources in the arts and cultural sector. A panel of speakers who experience mental health issues will talk about their journeys, provide practical strategies and answer questions from the floor. This session will be the catalyst for the development of a suite of mental health resources by Arts Access Australia.

Chair: Mallika Macleod

Panellists: Emma Barrance, Emma Bennison, Frank Ashe

2:00:        Open Forum:  Don’t Play Us Pay us!

Your chance to help us build the national campaign calling for casting of people with disability on Australian stage and screen

Sofya Gollan and Kathie Kelly will facilitate an open discussion.


3:00-3:15:  Afternoon-tea


3:15-3:30:  Optional workshop: Harnessing the Internet as a Promotional Tool: How to

                     Get Arts and Disability Work Noticed

Web based platforms are on the increase, and artists can and should be utilising these promotional tools, particularly with the attention being given to accessibility by technology giants like Google and Microsoft. Arts Access Australia’s new Development Manager, Kathie Kelly, will present an interactive session on how artists and arts organisations can harness these opportunities to promote their work and conquer their fear of social media.

3:30-4:15:  How do You Get What You Need in the Arts?

A panel of leading arts advocates with disability will share examples of how they have managed to get what they need as artists and audiences, sometimes against the odds. This will be followed by a closed Q&A for people with disability to ask questions and seek advice.

Chair: Emma Bennison

Panellists: Joanne Chua, artist, audience member and advocate, Lauren Henley, Australian Human Rights Commission, Dan Graham, Director

4:15:        Closing remarks from AAA Chair

4:30:        Closed Q&A session for people with disability.

5:00PM: Close


Associated Events

30 x 30 is an exciting new project brought to you by Access2Arts. Discover the world of arts, culture, recreation, leisure and sports in a unique way through the creative removal of everyday barriers. Join Access2Arts in launching this exciting, new initiative. 

Date: Thursday 26th May 2016 from 10:45am, for an 11:00am start

Location:  Premiership Room, Adelaide Oval, War Memorial Dr, North Adelaide.

To RSVP please contact Access2Arts either by EMAIL to  or PHONE  08 8463 1689. 

For more information on the event and accessibility go to


CONTAGION - is the location where Deaf and disabled artists, arts workers and allies network and connect. Access2Arts will also be launching is brand new website  - So join with Access2Arts for a drink, conversation and exchange of ideas generated at the 2016 Meeting Place.

When:     Friday 27 May 2016, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Where:    Banquet Room, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Street, Adelaide
RSVP: Email   or call (08) 8463 1689.

For more information visit


To download a copy of this information please click here

Media Release - Equity or at least Equality for Artists with Disability

10 May 2016


For Immediate Release    


Equity or at least Equality for Artists with Disability


Arts Access Australia, the national body for arts and disability, is calling for certainty and equality for artists with disability as the election campaign kicks off. Following recent funding announcements and the release of the Federal budget last week, Arts Access Australia is calling for policies which support the equity, development and employment of artists with disability.

Arts Access Australia CEO, Emma Bennison, said that whilst the arts emerged from the budget relatively unscathed in comparison to recent years, there are some broader implications for artists with disability which need to be monitored.

“The introduction of a new NDIS Savings Fund is welcomed by Arts Access Australia to provide certainty for the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. However, the intention to review the Disability Support Pension for 90,000 people over three years is concerning to us. In particular, the appearance that those most at risk of becoming ineligible for welfare payments will be the target of this review. We know that artists with disability are vulnerable when it comes to the Disability Support Pension, given the nature of employment in the arts and cultural sector is sporadic and unpredictable. We will monitor the implementation of this policy and advocate for the rights of artists with disability to receive adequate income support whilst maintaining their artistic careers.”

“We also welcome the new $96.1 million program “Try, Test and Learn” announced to support innovative approaches to finding work for young people. Whilst we strongly support any initiative to increase employment opportunities, we are hopeful that the arts and cultural sector will be recognised by the Government as an industry which has plenty to offer to the innovation agenda. We also remain hopeful that this initiative will be accompanied by a jobs plan which supports meaningful employment of people with disability.”

Bennison says the story in relation to Federal funding for arts and disability is mixed this week with funding rounds for the Ministry for the Arts’ Catalyst fund and Australia Council project funding being announced. “Having done everything we can to ensure disability-led projects and those which build the capacity of the arts and disability sector could be competitive for funding, we are disappointed to note that with half of the Catalyst funding allocation having been committed, just over six per cent of Catalyst funded projects are to provide improved participation to artists with disability or access to the arts by people with disability. This figure is disappointing considering that just over 20% of our population are people with disability. Whilst we sincerely congratulate those organisations who have been funded and look forward to working with them in our capacity as the national peak body for arts and disability, it appears that none of the funded programs have an aim to build the national capacity of the arts and disability sector as a whole, something we all know is desperately needed. Finally, we are worried and somewhat confused that over a quarter of this six per cent funding allocation flowed to organisations with little or no history of working in the arts and disability sector. We look forward to seeing these issues addressed in future funding rounds.”

The Australia Council has maintained its commitment to national, dedicated funding for artists with disability this week, announcing the second allocation of $330,000 in funding to 16 projects for individuals and groups. Arts Access Australia congratulates the Australia Council for this ongoing commitment to disability-led projects. We look forward to it continuing, given the quality of outcomes and ongoing need which has been so clearly demonstrated through these funding rounds.


Media Contact: Emma Bennison

Ph: 0419 201 338



To download this media release click here.

AGM Invitation and Call for Nominations

Arts Access Australia will be holding it’s AGM in Adelaide this year on Thursday 26th May. Please find following the links for the notification of the AGM, together with the Board nomination form and also the proxy nomination form.

Meeting Place is also being held in Adelaide on Friday 27th May 2016. There are only few places still available so to reserve your place please email Louise at .

Call for Papers - 2016 Arts Activated Conference

 Accessible Arts has extended its call for papers, presentations or workshops for presentation at the 2016 Arts Activated conference, ‘Pathways to Practice’, 20 and 21 September at Carriageworks, Sydney Australia. 

We strongly encourage proposals from artists and practitioners with unique and innovative cultural perspectives, from rural and remote areas, representing sexual diversity and the LGBTQIA community, from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and young and emerging groups and demographics.

Proposals must address the 2016 conference theme ‘Pathways to Practice’ which will explore the varied paths that artists with disability take in developing their practice during their career and how organisations are fostering pathways for artists and audiences with disability.

The conference will be split into two streams ‘Artist Pathways’ and ‘Organisational Pathways’; presenters may choose which stream and topic their presentation best fits.

Submissions are online through SmartyGrants and close midnight 12am AEDT Wednesday 20 April 2016. Click here to access SmartyGrants.

Please download the guidelines for information on the criteria, submission process and online forms. Should you require a Word version of the online submission form please email Sarah Houbolt, Conference Convenor, or call +61 2 9251 6499 ext. 107.

Download Call for Papers Guidelines here [Word]

Arts Access Australia team up with Google

Here at Arts Access Australia (AAA), we're excited to announce that we've teamed up with Google Australia’s Creative Lab to create an Artist in Residence pilot project. One artist with disability will spend three months inside Google, exploring the people, the workplace and the technology.

Read more: Arts Access Australia team up with Google

Have Your Say on Changes to Federal Arts Funding

Artists and arts workers with disability and arts and disability organisations are concerned about changes to Federal arts funding announced in the 2015 budget

In May this year, the Federal Government cut $104.8 million from The Australia Council to go towards a new National Programme for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA), to be managed by the staff of the Ministry for the Arts.

The cuts will have significant implications for artists with disability and the organisations which eenable access to the arts across Australia. So the issue has been referred to a Senate Inquiry. across Australia, and the issue has been referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for a Senate inquiry.

To make sure the voices of our sector are heard, we need you to make a submission to the Senate Inquiry by Friday 17 July 2015.

Read more: Have Your Say on Changes to Federal Arts Funding

Reasonable and Necessary - thinking big!

Arts Access Australia (AAA) have partnered with Access2Arts in SA to create 'Reasonable and Necessary', a project aimed at encouraging people to think big about their goals and their futures, and providing a fun and creative way for people to share these goals with planning teams at the NDIS.

Read more: Reasonable and Necessary - thinking big!

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What we've been Tweeting about ...

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ArtsAccessAust .@otherfilmfest kicks off this week at the Victoria State library 28-30 Sept. Who's going?!
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