Monday 9 August

Conference Opening
10:30am - 11:00am 

Delegates will be welcomed to the conference which will be officially opened by NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin and City of Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor Cr Jess Scully. Leading First Nations writer and disability advocate Gayle Kennedy will deliver the Acknowledgement of Country as well as an entertaining and provocative Opening Address which will speak to the conference theme of ‘Building Back For Everyone’. 


  • Jaci Armstrong | Disability policy specialist, disability advocate and Accessible Arts Board Director


  • Don Harwin | NSW Arts Minister
  • Cr Jess Scully | City of Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor
  • Gayle Kennedy | Writer and disability advocate

In Conversation With S. J. Norman
11:00am - 12:00pm

S.J Norman is one of Australia’s most intriguing creative forces with a 18-year career as a cross-disciplinary artist and writer with internationally acclaimed work across performance, installation, sculpture, text, video and sound. He is a non-binary transmasculine person and a diasporic Koori of Wiradjuri descent, born on Gadigal land. Since 2006 he has lived and worked between Australia, Germany, the UK and the United States. Norman's primary artistic inspiration is the human body which he explores through a range of creative approaches and practices. His trajectory as an artist has largely been fostered outside of institutional education and under the direct mentorship of numerous artistic Elders including esteemed performance artists such as Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Yoshito Ohno, Akaji Maro and Marina Abramovic. In addition to major commissions and awards from leading cultural institutions and festivals across the world, S.J. is an award-winning writer of fiction, essays and poetry and the founder of Knowledge of Wounds, a multi-disciplinary cultural festival and knowledge exchange for queer First Nations people based in New York City. In this session, S.J. will explore his work, creative practice and career, what it means to be an artist with multiple intersecting identities, and the impact of the COVID-pandemic on artists and other people with disability.


  • Jeremy Smith | General Manager, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts


  • S. J. Norman | Internationally acclaimed cross-disciplinary artist and writer

One Year On: The Pandemic's Big Picture Legacy For Arts & Disability
1:00pm - 2:00pm

The COVID pandemic has brought much chaos and control as well as rapid change right across all levels of society. The impact on the arts and cultural sector has been especially harsh but despite the turmoil there have been many silver linings for people with disability. In this session some of Australia’s leading arts and disability advocates examine the lessons we’ve learned from the COVID response so far as well what ‘building back better’ means for arts practitioners and audiences with disability. A key focus of the session will be the digital acceleration brought on by the pandemic and what the implications are in relation to access and inclusion for people with disability. Will arts organisations continue their increased commitment to delivering online content and services? And how extensive is the issue of technology poverty among people with disability? How can access to digital programming and services be provided to people with disability who don’t have access to digital technologies?


  • Hanna Cormick | Artist, performer and disability advocate


  • Jade Lillie | Head of Sector Development, Australia Council For The Arts
  • Adam Bannister | Founder, Pyrus Event Services
  • Ricky Buchanan | Writer and disability advocate
  • Esther Hannaford | Singer and actor 

Creative Thinking: Innovative Approaches For Increasing Participation Of People With Disability In Arts & Culture 
1:00pm - 2:00pm

Join some of Australia’s leading Critical Disability Studies researchers as they use a sociological lens to explore a range of very different approaches that artists and arts organisations have developed during the COVID-pandemic to allow people with disability to participate more equitably across the cultural sector. Two presentations will focus on ideas and examples of meaningful engagement in the arts of young people with intellectual disability towards better participation in social communities and employment. Two presentations will reflect on research exploring the new possibilities of digital media and digital arts, spurred by effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, in facilitating better participation for performers, producers and audiences with disability. The session will end with the launch of a national competition for high school students entitled ‘Inclusion is!’ which will aim to encourage sociological engagement with disability issues such as participation, inclusion and ableism through academic or artistic expression.


  • Dr Lise Mogensen, Senior Lecturer in Medical Education, and Critical Disability Studies Researcher, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University


  • Michelle King | sociologist and lawyer completing a PhD in Law at the Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology
  • Daelle Bunker | Artist
  • Rick Spencer | Research student, Victoria University
  • Prof. Gerard Goggin | Wee Kim Wee Professor in Communication Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Prof. Katie Ellis | Professor and Director of The Centre for Culture and Technology, Curtin University

Highlighting Diversity: The Impact Of Representation On A National Platform 
2:30pm - 3:30pm

For many artists, getting their work in front of an audience can be a challenge. For artists with disability this can be even harder due to a range of attitudinal barriers. The Art Gallery of NSW is one cultural institution that is working to highlight the diversity of practice and perspectives in the artworld. Examples of this is the Studio A commission, Love owls and mermaids singing in the rainbow pop (2020) as part of last year’s Archie Plus exhibition, and the growing awareness in the community that the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes are open to all artists, yielding three finalists with disability in this year’s Archibald Prize. In this session, some of Sydney’s leading visual artists with disability join curators from the Art Gallery of NSW to discuss their work and how they collaborate. This includes presenting the ways in which galleries and museums can expand and elevate the collective experience of art and culture by working with artists with disability in exhibitions, public programs and creating critical opportunities for forging a deeper connection with the Art Gallery and its collections. 


  • Danielle Gullotta, Access Programs Producer, Art Gallery of NSW


  • Anne Ryan | Curator Australian Art, AGNSW 
  • Isobel Parker Philip | Senior Curator of Contemporary Australian Art, International Art, AGNSW
  • Xeni Kusumitra | Visual Artist and Autism Spectrum Australia Consultant
  • Michael Dagostino | Campbelltown Arts Centre Director and Accessible Arts Board Director
  • Gabrielle Mordy | CEO/Artistic Director, Studio A
  • Meagan Pelham | Artist

Centre Stage: Reimagining Performing Arts & Disability
2:30pm - 3:30pm

The pandemic shifted a lot of thinking about creating and experiencing performance-based art, including how people with disability participate as both artists and audience members. In this session, dance practitioners, musicians, performers and theatre-makers with disability outline some of the novel approaches they developed during the pandemic to create and show work, as well as how this experience will influence the development of new work into the future.


  • Jodee Mundy OAM | Artistic Director, Jodee Mundy Collaborations


  • Anna Seymour | Dancer and choreographer
  • Holly Craig | Dancer, choreographer, writer, performer and theatre-maker
  • Sam Martin | Writer, performer and filmmaker
  • William Kroger | DJ and Music Senses participant
  • Molly Aaron | Writer, Musician, Performance Artist & Director of Alter Boy 

Cultural Safety Workshop
4:00pm - 5:00pm

Cultural safety is about providing places and practices that allow people from all cultural backgrounds to feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe. In this workshop, CEO of Arts Access Victoria Caroline Bowditch will introduce participants to the principles of disability justice and how they relate to the arts and cultural sector. Participants will: explore what a culturally safe arts sector looks like from a disability perspective across programming, audiences, creative workers, leadership and arts practice; engage in self-reflection to examine motivations, cultural competency and the impact of their work; and discuss the Social Model of disability in relation to the arts, and ways to be effective allies for artists with disability or who are d/Deaf.


  • Caroline Bowditch | Writer, performer and CEO of Arts Access Victoria

Australia Council Exchange
4:00pm - 5:00pm

Have you ever wondered what Australia Council for the Arts is all about, or wanted to connect and get involved? Come and meet some of our friendly team from Artists Services, Assessment, Research and the Leadership Programs to hear about upcoming opportunities, meet other applicants with disability or who are d/Deaf who have been supported, make connections and share your thoughts on access. In 15-minute rounds, members of these teams will share what’s on offer and respond to your questions and feedback. They will provide insights into what grant and leadership development opportunities are available (and what makes a good application!), how to get involved with assessing applications (and the benefits of doing so) and the different ways you can apply. Successful d/Deaf and disability leadership program participants will also be on hand to share their experiences. They’ll touch on insights from the new Towards Equity research, what it means for the arts and disability sector and discuss any questions you have about the ways the Australia Council can tailor access and support needs. 


  • Jane Pollard | Manager, Assessment, Australia Council for the Arts


  • Frances Robinson | Manager, Capacity Building, Sector Development, Advocacy and Development, Australia Council for the Arts
  • Caitlin Vaughan | Manager, Diversity Impact, Australia Council for the Arts
  • Mel Habjan | Assessment Officer, Australia Council for the Arts
  • Esther Rolfe | Artists Services Officer, Australia Council for the Arts
  • Sigrid Macdonald | Deaf Arts Worker and current Future Leaders participant
  • Eugenie Lee | Multidisciplinary artist and Australia Council peer assessor

The team will be available to chat with you in person at a special ‘drop in’ booth that will be set up in the Great Hall at UTS from 10am-5pm on Wednesday 6 August, where you can find out more and share your feedback on accessing Australia Council support.