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Heads up about Arts Access Awards nominations

Often the people we work with are the ones who would least seek recognition for their efforts in making the arts and culture more accessible in Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s not unusual to find tutors at creative spaces, co-ordinators and project leaders to be heads’ down and busy “just doing it”. Not looking up or stopping because there is so much to achieve and often with limited resources.

Deaf Aotearoa's Victoria Manning, awards co-presenterArts Access Aotearoa looks for and uses all manner of ways to promote achievement, effort and stories about issues throughout the year in mainstream or social media, including letters to the editor pages.

Midway through the year we present a major event celebrating and promoting our sector – the Arts Access Awards. I am very enthusiastic and downright proud of what’s happened for the awards over the past six years as they have gone from strength to strength.

Tribute to award recipients

Not only is the event a great night for those attending at Parliament. It’s also regarded as being for the arts, accessibility and inclusion communities. Being a recipient is an important and valuable tribute to the people and organisations that are award recipients.

David Carmon, recipient, Arts Access Artistic Achievement Award 2017 with presenter Darcy Nicholas, whanau and friendsNominations are made by people from communities that have noticed someone, a creative space or project that deserves recognition. However, we also encourage self-nominations from individuals and organisations. 

A panel of specialist representatives from the sector judges the nominations. I am one of these judges and it is always an exciting yet difficult task across all the categories to find the recipient. If you know of a person or organisation you would like to nominate please visit our website for more information and nomination forms.

Development of CAN

An important development has begun in Auckland. For many years, there have been regular meetings of CAN (Creative Access Network), which includes creative spaces, community arts workers, youth-at-risk mentors and artists – all sharing their knowledge and supporting each other’s endeavours.

As time goes by, as you’d hope, we get better at what we do and (for better or worse!) more is asked of us. I’ll call that a measure of success, right?  In this case, CAN has recognised that now is the time to create a more formal structure. This will help it attract funders and more opportunities for the network’s members.

Arts Access Aotearoa is very supportive of this development and I’m excited about the possibilities. People say they don’t want to add another layer of administration to their small organisations, already stretched. Rightly so. The CAN Network has the opportunity to keep things simple and there can be strength in that. But it will need active, supportive members. We look forward to joining with our colleagues in Auckland as they take their next steps.

If you have any questions or feedback on this column, or if you would like to let me know about your art, organisation, group or project please email me on






Heads up about Arts Access Awards nominations

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