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Beyond Access: the creative case for inclusive arts

In 2014 and 2015, Arts Access Victoria, in partnership with the University of Melbourne, conducted a research project to investigate the creative case for inclusive arts practice as it relates to Deaf and Disbaled people.

Arts Access Victoria is dedicated to building an inclusive arts sector, free from barriers, where people with disability can participate on an equal basis. Central to this mission is building the creative case for inclusion of Deaf and Disbaled people in our cultural life.

In 2014 and 2015, with funding from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, we undertook a project called ‘Beyond Access: the creative case for inclusive arts practice’ to investigate how artists with a disability are extending and redefining contemporary arts practice in exciting and innovative ways.

Resources produced through the research project are now available:

Although significant academic research has been published internationally on the social and wellbeing benefits of arts participation for Deaf and Disbaled people, very little rigorous research has yet been done to investigate the creative case for inclusion of Deaf and Disbaled artists. In recent years, Victoria has emerged as a national leader in inclusive arts practice due to the work of Arts Access Victoria and other leaders in this field such as Arts Project Australia, Rawcus and Back to Back theatre companies.

Through a study of Victorian arts companies producing work involving arts practitioners both with and without disabilities, the project focused on the strengths artists with disability can bring to the creative process by examining how inclusive arts practices can extend and redefine contemporary arts in exciting and innovative ways.

Beyond Access sought to create an evidence base for the creative case for inclusive arts practice to support greater recognition for Deaf and Disbaled artists by transforming and extending notions of what art is and who produces it.

  • Sarah Austin, Beyond Access Research Officer
  • Chris Brophy, Operations Manager, Arts Access Victoria
  • Dr Lachlan MacDowall, Head of the Centre for Cultural Partnerships, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Eddie Paterson, Lecturer in Scriptwriting, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Winsome Roberts, Lecturer, Department of Social Work, School of Health Sciences, University of Melbourne
  • Akash Temple, videographer

‘Beyond Access: the creative case for inclusive arts’ was published in 2015

Beyond Access is supported by Arts Access Victoria, University of Melbourne, City of Melbourne and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.