International Day of People with Disability is an internationally observed, United Nations sanctioned day that celebrates the contributions and achievements of people with disability and aims to promote community awareness, understanding, and acceptance.
Observed annually on 3 December, International Day of People with Disability in Australia is a joint effort between government, schools, organisations, community groups, businesses, and individuals, and provides an opportunity to be part of creating an inclusive and diverse community for the 4.4 million Australians with disability.
Two of TFFF’s longest partnerships are with regional Queensland arts organisations working to create opportunities for artists and community members with disability. TFFF has been fortunate to build relationships with Crossroad Arts and Dancenorth since 2011 and 2010 respectively.
Crossroad Arts' C.R.U.S.H. 2023. More photos from C.R.U.S.H 2023 are available here.
Mackay based organisation Crossroad Arts has established itself as a leader in inclusive arts practice in Queensland and nationally, co-creating opportunities for social change with artists and communities alike. Crossroad Arts’ annual program of activities is delivered across three streams: Artistic Development, Community Development, and Outreach, offering skill-based training, creating performance works, and delivering a wide range of inclusive workshops, artistic development and social opportunities across art forms.
Crossroad Arts has been in partnership with TFFF since 2011, and is guided by the Inclusive Arts Advisory Group. Consisting of eight artists who all have a diverse range of lived experience of disability, the Advisory group assists in raising Crossroad Arts’ national profile, and creating connection within their specific community. The Inclusive Arts Advisory Group also provides feedback on accessibility of all program offerings.
Over the three days it was such a fantastic time together with all my new friends and old friends who have come back and travelled a long long way to CRUSH. Thank you to our amazing audience for your applause and coming along, such a huge audience made us feel so fierce, so proud to share our work together. See everyone next year at CRUSH 2024!!- Natasha Tomlinson, Crossroad Arts Ambassador and Social Media Officer
Each year, Crossroad Arts delivers a professional development theatre making intensive suitable for all ages, bodies, minds and levels of artistic experience called C.R.U.S.H (Community. Regional. Up Skill. Haven). Last month Crossroad Arts hosted C.R.U.S.H. on Yuwi country in Mackay, and invited artists with disability from across Australia to attend. The program involves three days of workshops in contemporary movement, performance, and theatre, and is delivered in partnership with Dancenorth Australia and La Boite Theatre.
C.R.U.S.H also offered 13 scholarships for people with disability living in remote or regional Australia to contribute to travel and accommodation costs. These scholarships address the lack of professional development opportunities for artists with disability living in the regions.
Crossroad Arts celebrates International Day of People with Disability at its annual ‘kooky, social and inclusive’ performance evening and major fundraiser. In 2023, LOOSE ENDS will feature Strictly Wheelchair Dance Group, Groove Movers, With One Voice, Choir of Unheard Voices, Crossroad Arts Crew and more.
Based in Townsville, Dancenorth is one of Australia’s leading contemporary dance companies, and aims to dismantle the barriers to dance and build local, national, and international connections and resilience through dance for all to thrive. Dancenorth empowers and supports artists by providing a creative hub for many artistic voices including a diverse range of choreographers, guest collaborators, artists in residence, and dancers.
Alongside its professional ensemble, touring productions and artist development and leadership initiatives, Dancenorth delivers its TFFF-supported Community Experience Program. Driven by a dedicated team, Dancenorth works with diverse and minority communities across Queensland using dance to support, enhance, inspire, and heal – bringing communities together.
Dancenorth has been in partnership with TFFF since 2010, and regularly facilitates community arts experiences that encourage individual expression and community spirit, for all people. Each year, Dancenorth creates an original dance performance to celebrate International Day of People with Disability in collaboration with students from Townsville Community Learning Centre. The event, held on Gurambilbarra country in Townsville, celebrates diversity within the community and invites the audience to share in the joy of dance as a foundation to creating connections which enrich and enhance lives.
In 2022, students took inspiration from the idea of ‘home’, and this year the group has been inspired by their favourite places.
Dancenorth also facilitates Deeper than Dancing, which explores movement and creativity with older people, people with a disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse people. Supported by Regional Arts Australia, and developed closely with local participants, Deeper than Dancing provides a safe and inclusive environment for people to step outside their comfort zone to experience the creative process in action and immerse themselves in creativity and art-making experiences.
Cover photo: Dancenorth's International Day of People with Disability performance in 2022.
All photos courtesy of Crossroad Arts (Image credits: Jim Cullen Photography) and Dancenorth (Image credits: Aaron Ashley).
Crossroad Arts and Dancenorth are supported through the Resilience stream.