Accessible Arts |  View in browser

Accessible Arts Access Banner and Logo

Accessing the Arts Collectively

Meet the Sisters of Invention - all girl pop group from Adelaide

Screenshot of singer Jackie from The Sisters of Invention

Accessing the Arts Group - ATAG News

Accessing the Arts Group is for NSW arts organisations and venues who are interested in providing access and inclusion in the arts, sharing ideas and best practice, and networking for peer support. To attend ATAG meetings, sign up for Accessing the Arts Group [ATAG) membership.

Next ATAG meeting is 2 June at The Arts Exchange, 8.30am for an 8.45 – 10.45am meeting.

Facebook introduces automatic alternative text feature

a man cups his hands and holds an iphone with facebook on the screen

Facebook has launched a feature based on image recognition to provide Automatic Alternative Text (AAT) for photos uploaded to the social media service. 

Matt King, a Facebook engineer who is blind, talked in a recent TechCrunch article (link is external) about the significance of the feature. “You just think about how much of your news feed is visual — and most of it probably is — and so often people will make a comment about a photo or they’ll say something about it when they post it, but they won’t really tell you what is in the photo.”  The aim of the AAT is to address this issue.

Read the full article online at Media Access Australia.

Sarah's Say - needs versus requirements

Headshot of Sarah Houbolt

As an artist before becoming an arts manager, I contributed to quite a few integrated creative workshops for my own professional development. What I often found was that my access requirements were diligently collected, but never passed on to workshop facilitators.

If I was lucky, some facilitators planned their workshops with universal access in mind. This meant that when I introduced myself to the facilitator for the pre-warm up access spiel, it was easy, relaxed and no big deal. If I was unlucky however, I got a range of responses, from sudden panic that a blind woman wanted to do a risky movement workshop, to outright blatant dismissive comments like ‘where’s your support worker?’ and ‘everyone has needs, so why should yours be taken into account?’ Personal safety could have been in jeopardy because of someone else’s lack of knowledge and awareness.  In my current role as the Strategic Projects Manager for Accessible Arts, I’m acutely aware of what can happen on the ground.

With this in mind we ask, what is the difference between the language of needs and requirements, and how do we really ensure access requirements are collected and met? We know that the disability-led artists collective voice is calling for a stop to using ‘special needs’ language in access programs. We do this to draw a line in the sand and honour that the past injustices must remain in the past.  We know providing access requirements is important, guided by legislation, and often unique to the person. The strength of using ‘access requirements’ is about finding tailored solutions so that everyone can contribute without a glass ceiling; it opens up a conversation where everyone feels comfortable.

Articulating access well, even in arts management roles, allows us to role model and share with others in our community (especially those newly identifying), how important it is to express what works best for us, because access requirements rarely disappear. The Accessible Arts’ Accessing The Arts Group (ATAG) is also a place for technical information on how unique access requirements can be met in these exciting times.

Reach Sarah Houbolt, Strategic Projects Manager by email:

Disability Awareness

Auslan Biennale Talk

Audio Described

accessible arts access logo
Art Gallery of NSW black and white logo
Hay Fever promo shot two actors, male and female sit together in nightgowns

Disability Awareness Training Wednesday 15 June, 9:30am – 1:30pm

Disability awareness training is vital for people working across all levels of arts policy or practice within organisations. 

It provides a real understanding of disability and inclusive practices relevant to all.

Our training is delivered by an experienced trainer with lived experience. 

To book contact Sarah Houbolt, +61 2 9251 6499 ext 107,, or register online here.

Visit our website for more Training information.

Auslan-interpreted talk: Biennale of Sydney

For Deaf and hearing-impaired visitors

Connect with innovative contemporary art and discover works in the 20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.

No bookings required, please meet at the information desk.

On 20 April, the 6.30pm Art After Hours event before this talk will also be Auslan-interpreted.

Find more information on Auslan at the AGNSW online here.

Sydney Theatre Company presents Noël Coward's Hay Fever, an irresistibly heartless comedy. The Bliss family love intrigue, love arguing and really love a spotlight. They are everything a respectable family ought not to be – unconventional, uncensored and unapologetic. 

When each of the four outrageously eccentric Bliss family members invites a guest to their rural retreat, the unassuming visitors face a hectic living melodrama from which there seems to be no escape.

Venue: Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House.

Audio Described: Fri 6 May 2016; Sat 7 May 2016 

Captioned: Wed 11 May 2016; Fri 20 May 2016 

Full season details online at STC website.

arts activated call for papers extended logo with Accessible Arts logo

The Arts Activated 2016 conference will be split into two streams ‘Artist Pathways’ and ‘Organisational Pathways’; presenters may choose which stream and topic into which their presentation best fits.

Proposals must address the 2016 conference theme ‘Pathways to Practice’ which will explore the varied paths that artists with disability take in developing their practice during their career and how organisations are fostering pathways for artists and audiences with disability.

Arts Activated is Australia’s premiere arts and disability conference. We strongly encourage proposals from artists and practitioners with disability. This year papers from rural and remote areas, representing sexual diversity and the LGBTQIA community, from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, and young and emerging groups are encouraged to apply.

Submissions are online through SmartyGrants and close 12am AEDT Wednesday 20 April 2016. Click here to access SmartyGrants.

Please download the guidelines for information on the criteria, submission process and online forms. Should you require word versions of the paper submission and presenter agreement form, please email Sarah Houbolt, Conference Convenor,

Download Call for Papers Guidelines here [Word]

'Seeing AI', technology that helps people who are blind or partially sighted 

a man with sunglasses and a woman in a coat sit on a park bench