Page 2643 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 15 August 2017

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I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Social inclusion in the arts

Ministerial statement

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (10.31): Today I would like to outline to the Assembly the social inclusion in the arts 2017 plan. The plan builds on the 2015 ACT arts policy principle 1: participation in and access to the arts. We recognise that the arts are a central part of Canberra’s vibrant and creative spirit and that participation in the arts should be available to everyone.

In my statement of ministerial priorities in December last year, I spoke of the strength and power in the arts. This plan shows the strength of the Canberra arts sector and tells some of the stories of the power that the arts have to improve quality of life. Since my speech, my directorate staff and I have been listening to the stories of how our government-funded arts organisations are working towards social inclusion and accessibility in the arts. We have heard enthusiasm for an inclusive and accessible arts sector and we have heard about a sector that already collaborates extensively with many different community groups to deliver relevant programs and content. Today I will share some of the stories of what is happening, what will happen and why it is important.

People enjoy the arts in different ways. Some like to participate as an audience member; others like to be actively involved through making or through doing. The ways ACT arts organisations create inclusion vary with their audience and their organisation’s size.

To create opportunities for people to participate as audience members, some organisations offer subsidised or free tickets to events. One example is the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s program HeartStrings. Through this program the CSO works with charitable organisations and community organisations to gift tickets to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a concert. HeartStrings is funded by donations from the orchestra’s patrons and partners, as well as by the ACT government. The generosity of patrons and partners is another example of the inclusive nature of the extended Canberra arts community. In 2016 an estimated 550 tickets were given away through HeartStrings.

Physical barriers can also prevent people in our community from enjoying Canberra’s vibrant arts scene. The You Are Here Festival, an experimental arts festival that offers a mostly free program of events, has recognised the need to make accessibility a core principle. The festival provides detailed information about wheelchair accessibility of venues, how much of a show relies on visual or audio content and which events have Auslan interpretation.

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