14 April 2014
Arts For All: Nga toi mō te katoa … I have in my hands a prized first edition of this excellent resource. To butcher the words of Robert Marley, the first time was so nice we want to do the same thing twice.
Broadly speaking, I am sure we would all vote for a motion that promoted the idea that we want to be part of an equal-opportunity society. Supporting opportunities for all New Zealanders to engage with the arts contributes to this. Our legislative mandate at Creative New Zealand identifies that our job is to support the arts in New Zealand for the benefit of all New Zealanders, and this publication, Arts for All, contributes to this.
Enormous opportunity for the arts
One of our areas of focus is to help arts organisations get ever better at bringing the arts to all New Zealanders. We all know that one in six New Zealanders identify as people with disabilities. This very broad group represents an enormous opportunity for the arts in New Zealand to show leadership in building an inclusive society.
Many have made a good start on this, and the establishment of regional hubs points to the widespread interest in this work and the importance of this practical guide.
As we all know, the aim of the Arts For All programme is to encourage arts organisations, venues and producers to improve their access to disabled audiences. This resource is designed to provide a practical guide for artists and arts organisations wanting to become more accessible and build new audiences. It draws on research and showcases national and international best practice.
Creative New Zealand helps develop the capability of arts organisations, producers and festivals to ensure New Zealanders can participate in and experience high-quality arts. And so we rely on Arts Access Aotearoa to make sure arts producers understand how the one in six New Zealanders who identify as having a disability or impairment can participate and be included.
A primary tool for regional networks
When I first launched the Arts For All publication in late 2009 it was intended as a resource tool – a “why and how to do it” guide. I was pleased when Arts Access Aotearoa took the guide further and used it to establish a programme, and then as the primary tool to establish regional Arts For All networks – made up of disability sector representatives, along with arts and cultural organisations and staff who champion accessibility.
Since launching the resource, we’ve funded grants in partnership with Arts Access Aotearoa for 11 organisations and venues to achieve their own accessible arts projects. Just one example: Chamber Music New Zealand’s relaxed concert for children with learning disability, which I attended at the Wellington Town Hall.
This event has since been replicated in New Plymouth, benefiting 200 students from special need units in the Taranaki region.
So what’s new in this edition? Along with a case study about Chamber Music New Zealand’s relaxed concert, there are other case studies highlighting the challenges and rewards of being accessible. These are available as online supplements to this edition.
Accessibility via digital communication has advanced greatly since 2009 and this revision contains a whole chapter on digital media.
We’ve come a long since 2009. We are now looking at the world of captioning, YouTube presentations, online galleries, vlogging, digital marketing and e-publishing.
Thanks to everyone for this excellent updated resource.
Creative New Zealand supported the publication of Arts For All. Its funding also supports the Arts For All networks. Wellington City Council also supported the publication.