Arts Access Australia Strengthens Commitment to Disability Leadership

For Immediate Release

21 November 2014


Arts Access Australia Strengthens Commitment to Disability Leadership

Peak national body for arts and disability, Arts Access Australia, will be restructured in 2015 to strengthen its commitment to being a disability-led organisation. The role of CEO will be shared between current CEO, Emma Bennison and Kirstin Sillitoe who has previously acted in the role.

Arts Access Australia’s Chairperson, Jenine Mackay said the board views the creation of Co-CEO roles as an important succession planning strategy for the organisation.

“We have been strongly committed to taking the arts and cultural sector on a journey towards increased opportunities for people with disability to take on leadership roles. So continuing to “walk the talk” in this area is vital for Arts Access Australia in its position as the national peak body for arts and disability. We are delighted that Emma and Kirstin will bring a mix of complementary skills to their roles and that both also identify as people with disability.”

Photo: Emma BennisonCurrent CEO, Emma Bennison looks forward to moving to a Co-CEO arrangement. “Since commencing as the first person with disability to lead Arts Access Australia in 2012, I have made no secret of the fact that I was determined I would not be the last. I am keen to continue to make a contribution to the organisation alongside Kirstin to ensure leadership development is a shared priority for the organisation. This new structure also gives me the flexibility to consider new employment opportunities and to devote more time to my arts practice.”


Photo: Kirstin SillitoeKirstin Sillitoe, incoming Co-CEO is looking forward to taking up new challenges. “The opportunity to work alongside Emma as Co-CEO is a real honour. I am excited to be the next person with disability to make a contribution to the management of Arts Access Australia and am proud to be part of an innovative organisation which makes a tangible commitment to disability leadership in Australia.”



Arts Access Australia hopes other organisations will follow their lead in considering innovative models to increase leadership diversity in the arts and cultural sector.



Media Contact: Emma Bennison

0419 201 338



A Note About the Language of Disability

When we say we work with ‘people with disability’, we mean anyone with sensory or physical impairments, hidden impairments, learning disabilities or mental health conditions. Arts Access Australia provides a resource on disability language so you know what to say and how to say it. Visit: 

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