National Arts and Disability Strategy
The National Arts and Disability Strategy (the Strategy) sets out a framework for the Australian Government and state and territory governments to support and encourage people with disability to participate fully in the arts and cultural life of Australia. The Strategy commenced in 2009, following Australia’s commitment to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, with a vision for the artistic aspirations and achievements of people with disability to be a valued and visible part of Australian culture. The Strategy is included as a commitment in the National Disability Strategy, which the Australian, state and territory governments endorsed in 2010.
The Strategy is captured under the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which provides the overarching policy framework for disability reform in Australia.
The National Arts and Disability Strategy is a framework for jurisdictions to assess and improve existing activities, consider new opportunities and directions, and identify new partnerships and initiatives. The Strategy has four priority areas for action. These are:
- Access and participation – to address barriers as audience members and active participants
- Arts and cultural practice – to address barriers to professional practice as artists and arts workers
- Audience development – to develop and grow audiences for work by artists with disability
- Strategic development – strategies at policy level to improve coordination and collaboration across all levels of government, and empower people with disability to have a stronger voice in policy development and planning.
Each priority area includes a number of goals, which governments work towards through the Meeting of Cultural Ministers (an annual meeting of the Australian, state and territory cultural ministers).
- People with disability participate fully in the arts and cultural life of Australia
- The artistic aspirations and achievements of people with disability are a valued and visible part of Australian culture.
In 2018, the Australian Government and state and territory governments collectively committed A$250,000 to fund the roll out of ARTfinder National, an online portal with information about disability-inclusive arts activities, cultural institutions and events.
The Australian Government has committed close to A$80,000 to support the expansion of a program called Art + You, which supports people with disability and people experiencing mental illness to self-advocate for the inclusion of arts and cultural activities through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (https://ndis.gov.au/index.html).
Two evaluations have been undertaken. On 22 September 2017, the Australian, state and territory cultural ministers endorsed the findings of the second evaluation of the outcomes under the Strategy for the period 2013-15. Broadly, the evaluation found that the cultural participation of people with disability has improved in Australia. The final report is now available publicly at https://www.arts.gov.au/mcm/work-mcm/national-arts-and-disability-strategy.
There were three recommendations arising from the review of the Strategy, all of which were accepted by governments and which have begun to be implemented. The first recommendation was to develop an information hub for the arts and disability sector, which is beginning to be met by the rollout of ARTfinder National. The second recommendation was to facilitate greater linkages and collaboration between the Australian Government and state and territory arts agencies and national level disability support agencies such as the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the National Disability Insurance Agency. Conversations about future opportunities to work together are ongoing. The third recommendation was to revisit and renew the Strategy. The Australian Government is taking the lead to develop a revised strategy, in partnership with the state and territory governments and in consultation with sector stakeholders.