National Arts and Disability Strategy

Where
Australia
When
2018
Who
The Australian Government (represented by Department of Communications and the Arts), state and territory governments, arts and cultural agencies.
Key objectives of the measure:

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.

Scope of the measure:
National
Nature of the measure:
financial, institutional
Main feature of the measure:

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).

Results expected through the implementation of the measure:
  • 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.
Financial resources allocated to implement the measure:

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).

Main conclusions of the evaluation of the measure:

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.

Indicators used to determine impact:
The 2013-15 Evaluation of the Strategy included a survey that asked individuals and organisations to rate improvements on a range of measures such as accessibility, audience development and strategic direction regarding arts and disability. It also asked respondents to rate the significance of barriers, such as ticket prices. The Evaluation broadly found that there were improvements in access to and participation in the arts by people with disability during the Evaluation period, but some barriers remain, such as professional opportunities for people with disability in the mainstream arts sector, ticket prices, and physical access in regional and remote areas and to heritage buildings.The Evaluation also found that the broader disability policy and service context in Australia had profoundly altered since the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and that these changes should one of the topics looked at in the work to renew the National Arts and Disability Strategy.
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
Multi-domain