Festivals: Agents of Change? Dynamics and Humanism Within Disability and Arts Collaborations
Over the past decade Australia has seen the rise of disability arts festivals including High Beam, Awakenings, and Perth's Annual Arts and Disability Festival. Models for these Festivals were largely drawn from pre-existent international arts festivals in an attempt to gain presence, awareness and arts credibility. Financial, ideological and artistic fault lines have emerged that question the suitability of the international arts festival model to serve the needs of the disability arts sector. An alternate approach which redresses the constraints inherent within the existing international arts festival template, and provides a structure for a sustainable and accessible framework, inclusive of both regional and metropolitan communities is discussed. Factors including distinct financial partnering arrangements, community development and social capital, advocacy, the emergence of global disability cultures, the expanding calendar of arts festivals, and broader based artistic practices from recreation through to professional within arts and disability, suggest the need for a reformation of the festival model. This paper explores ways in which new festival models can act as instruments of change.
Keywords: Arts and Disability, Festivals, Advocacy and Audience Development, Arts in Action, Social Capital, Community Development, Global Disability Cultures, Sustainability, Partnering Benefits, High Beam Arts and Disability Festival
Ms Jayne Leslie Boase
General Manager, Arts in Action