Page 2645 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 15 August 2017

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changing community and its needs. We need to further enhance organisational culture, to embed identification of barriers to participation in all creative and curatorial practices. Physical space, how artwork is communicated or displayed and the social environment around the arts can be changed to work with people’s needs and abilities.

The arts inclusion plan will encourage organisations to have accessibility at the heart and foundation of project planning, and to ensure that they are talking with the community so that they are represented in the planning, in the content and in the execution of a project. Many of our arts organisations already have close ties with a variety of community groups, and they deliver successful arts programs together. I encourage all of these organisations to maintain these relationships and to forge new ones. The potential to reach further into the Canberra community exists where organisations and community work together to develop effective and relevant programs.

We will provide support for arts organisations to reach their potential to be inclusive and accessible. We will do this through training and information provision—giving the staff of arts organisations the skills and the knowledge to connect with a diverse range of community groups, who will in turn gain access to arts facilities. To make sure that we are providing useful support, we will continue to talk with our arts organisations and ask them to report on their activities in regard to inclusion and access. The plan provides a template for reporting and evaluation for organisations to follow. While we will all ask for some figures, the most important aspect of gathering information is to continue telling the stories. Becoming inclusive and accessible is a continual process, so we will continue to tell the stories of how our organisations enrich the lives of the people in our community and develop the artistic skills of individuals.

The plan begins to tell some of these stories. However, it is not an audit, nor is it an exhaustive list of all the initiatives from all the organisations. It gives a snapshot of ways organisations invite the community into their facilities and programs, and how they provide support to develop excellence in art. It is my hope that the inclusion plan will spark thinking in other organisations and bring to the surface even more great stories. My directorate is establishing an online story collection on the artsACT website, building on the CBR arts showcase page which was launched in April this year. Sharing the stories in this way brings recognition, raises community awareness that everyone is welcome to engage with our arts organisations and that doing so can be an enriching and fulfilling experience.

The more people who are touched by the arts, the more the arts become valued within our community. Canberrans already enjoy a great cultural life, with access to our national cultural institutions, as well as professional local facilities and venues. However, there are still people and groups in our community who cannot access the arts for physical, financial or social reasons. The arts inclusion plan is a step on the continual journey to make the Canberra arts sector a place where people know that they are welcome and where artists from diverse backgrounds and life experiences can develop their professional skills and careers to achieve excellence.

It is up to us to create accessibility and to build an arts sector that works for people who live with disability, who have a lived experience of mental illness or want to

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