Making The Journey: Arts and Disability in Australia

Making the Journey is about arts activities and people with disability. It offers 12 case studies as examples of approaches, issues and achievements in the Australian field of art and disability in recent years.

By Mary Hutchinson, Arts Access Australia. Published 2005.

Download: pdfMaking the Journey2.65 MB

Making the Journey is about arts activities and people with disability. It offers 12 case studies as examples of approaches, issues and achievements in the Australian field of art and disability in recent years.

Access to the arts and other aspects of society are human rights for people with disability. Direct participation in and increased access to the arts also contributes to the wellbeing of people with disability, their carers, families, friends and communities. 
The case studies in this book show initiatives from the arts, health and education sectors and responses by cultural organisations that remove barriers to participation. A theme across all of the examples is the leadership of artists, audience members and advocates with disability.

We hope these examples will stimulate discussion amongst a general readership as well as practitioners. We also hope that they will provide inspiration for change as well as practical suggestions for it.

Arts Access Australia is a national body that brings together a network of arts and disability organisations around Australia. Together they work to increase access to the arts for the one in five Australians with disability. One way in which they do this is to assist cultural organisations meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. The Act requires businesses and organisations to make their goods, services and premises accessible for people with disability. In the process a diverse range of inclusive arts projects have found support and been encouraged to expand.

In Making the Journey, we wanted to celebrate these achievements and use these examples to encourage ideas for including people with disability in arts activities, while also encouraging people with disability to develop and run their own arts activities. Making the Journey was specifically prompted by a desire to promote success stories and the many developments that have taken place in the lives of people with disability in the last 25 years. While recognising what is good we also wanted to point the way forward for further change.

The organisations discussed here represent just a sample of the projects and people who are ‘making the journey’ to widen perceptions of art and open it out to people who have traditionally been excluded from its practice.

Acknowledgments

The process of writing a book is never simple. Making the Journey has had many hands shape it and they all deserve thanks.

Central to this process are the organisations, people and artists featured in the book who provided interviews, images and clarified endless queries about what they do and why.

The people who worked on the publication and deserve much credit for its final shape are Mary Hutchison (writer), Emma Driver (editing and production management), Suzanne Boccalatte and David Balletti Collins of Boccalatte Design, Brian Baker at Lamb printing, Melinda Collie-Holmes (project coordination), Stella Young (proofreading) and Jan Teagle Kapetas (co-writing the Northern Exposure case study).

In addition, the Board of Arts Access Australia, in particular the Chairs Jayne Boase, Nicole Beyer, David Doyle and Val Shiel, and previous staff Carey Lai and Claire Havey, all played a part in bringing the book from an idea to publication and launch.

Lastly, thank you to the funding bodies — the Australia Council for the Arts and the Department of Family and Community Services who have supported our work and brought this book to you.