9 April 2014
Kia ora, e te whānau
As I write, the second edition of Arts For All: Ngā toi mo te katoa has gone to the printers in time for its launch on Friday 11 April. Arts for All is the training manual we use to support arts organisations, venue managers, festivals and live performance producers to make their arts and cultural events more accessible and inclusive of disabled people.
Building on the 2009 first edition, we’ve updated the information to reflect the many advances in technology (e.g. smartphones, vlogs and e-publishing) now available.
Disabled people are featured and heard throughout the document. Although aimed at arts organisations, venues, galleries and museum, the focus of the book is disabled patrons and gallery/museum visitors.
I have a number of favourite parts in this new edition, starting with the front cover. Really, it says it all! Dancer, musician and actor Duncan Armstrong is pictured dancing with Sumara Fraser of Wellington Integrated Dance.
Solid partnerships enable Arts Access Aotearoa to undertake major projects such as this publication. I’m grateful to Creative New Zealand, which supported the first edition and now this second edition. I’d also like to thank Wellington City Council for its support of the second edition.
Vital feedback role
Individuals and organisations too have played a vital role in providing feedback on early drafts of this book. A big thanks to you all.
It will be a win-win situation when more arts organisation managers and producers recognise the value of diversifying their audiences and welcoming new, loyal ticket buyers or exhibition visitors by including the one in six New Zealanders who experience disability.
The ultimate sign that the arts in New Zealand truly are accessible to everyone will be when we also see disabled people represented in the arts as performers. This is another reason why I appreciated Duncan Armstrong’s profile in Arts For All because it covers his role as an actor in the television series Nothing Trivial.
A grant from Wellington City Council enabled Arts Access Aotearoa to run a three-day audio describers’ training course at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School. As a result of this course, there are now nine new audio describers ready to audio describe arts events in Wellington.
This follows the example of audio describers in Auckland via the SIGNAL programme at THE EDGE and in Dunedin via Experience Access Trust and Fortune Theatre. We were very fortunate to have the course conducted by Auckland audio describer Nicola Owen and Supreme Winner of the 2013 Attitude Awards Robyn Hunt of AccEase.
The new describers will receive their certificates from Her Worship the Mayor of Wellington Celia Wade-Brown on Friday 11 April at the launch of Arts for All. I look forward to sharing an update and photos with you in next month’s In Touch.
Thanks to everyone and anyone who is part of the movement to make the arts more accessible and inclusive.
Nāku noa, nā