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What is Reasonable and Necessary?

Guest Blogger: Gaele Sobott

I first came across ‘Reasonable and Necessary’ at the Undercover Festival in Brisbane at the end of June this year.  I entered the room and was immediately drawn to the ipad screens with pastel-yellow backgrounds and black writing scrawled across the page.

There were post-it notes everywhere and all kinds of pens and pencils scattered over the tables. People were chatting, drawing, and deep in thought, writing. Kirsty Martinson, a visual artist, and creative enabeler, Annie Dutreix, both working on ‘Reasonable and Necessary’ for Access2Arts talked me through the project.

They explained that as the NDIS rolls out, we as Deaf and disabled people are being asked to determine our support needs. The NDIS will fund reasonable and necessary supports that help us achieve our goals, objectives and aspirations. As a creative response to the NDIS, Access2Arts in partnership with Arts Access Australia are providing a national platform asking participants to think big, believe big and consider what is reasonable and necessary to achieve our future. At its heart ‘Reasonable and Necessary’ is a disability-led, participatory arts project helping us decide what our aspirations are and how we can successfully bring those aspirations to fruition.

The ‘Reasonable and Necessary’ project was conceived by Gaelle Mellis. The lead artist is John Flanagan Willanski. ‘Reasonable and Necessary’ asks us to contribute text and/or visual imagery related to what we consider reasonable and necessary to achieve our goals.  We can contribute to the project by:

1) going to the website: and following the prompts. Clicking on ‘gallery’ to browse the responses to date or going straight to ‘what do you need?’ The site is easy to navigate.

2) contacting Access2Arts and arranging an appointment with the ‘Reasonable and Necessary’ artists and/or creative enablers to explain the project and assist as required in creating text and image contributions. You can contact Access2Arts by phone: 08 8463 1689, or email:

So what is reasonable and necessary support?

Emma Bennison, co-CEO of Arts Access Australia and musician, says that as a performer and leader in the arts, first impressions, are very important so for her, reasonable and necessary support means, “help with visual aspects, like editing photos and text for my website, making important decisions about costumes, lighting and staging, all of which are quite mysterious to me as a person who has never had sight.”

Gayle Kennedy, a well-known writer and disability advocate, says that for her reasonable and necessary support means, “paying for taxis and the hire of accessible vehicles in order to attend relevant workshops, do research, get to gigs etc.”

Gayle says when she travels she needs to pay for “a mobility assistant rather than having to rely on the goodwill of friends, as well being able to hire equipment where necessary when travelling rather than having the stress of transporting my own.” For example, taking her own wheelchair risks it being damaged in transit. She says, “Replacement is expensive and can cause enormous hardship.”

The ‘Reasonable and Necessary’ website asks, ‘Do you Know what you Need?’ Then gives examples of what a dancer, an astronaut, a lawyer or a superhero need. The superhero requires a fast car, a cape, tights, powers, a girlfriend, vitamins, a boyfriend, a massage, a disguise.

After some thinking I went onto the website and entered what I need:

A simple drawing using thich black texta of a person with their hands on their hips wearing striped trousers

A person to help me when I travel, do research, take photographs, and go to events.

The contributions we make to ‘Reasonable and Necessary’ will be displayed on the website and gathered to create public works of art in various cities. The first public installation is scheduled for Adelaide in October. I look forward to more information on these exhibits.

A photograph of Gaele Sobott, a blond haired woman wearing dark-rimmed glasses in modern style.

Gaele Sobott is a writer and producer.  She has published essays, children’s books, short stories, and the biography, My Longest Round: the Life Story of Wally Carr.  She participated in the Australia Council’s inaugural Sync Leadership Program in 2014 and is director of Outlandish Arts.  Gaele is currently writer in residence at Google Sydney.

Audio description takes access out of this world

While the world was abuzz with the passage of NASA’s ‘New Horizons’ satellite by our solar system’s furthest planet, Access2Arts Audio Describer, Will McRostie, was approached by Triple J to describe the event to listeners.

Following the appearance of Describer, Lara Torr, on the nations your radio broadcaster to speak about her ‘Realise Your Dream’ grant and her description of James Franco & Seth Rogen spoof of Kanye West “Bound 2” music video, producers of  Triple J’s Veronica and Lewis afternoon broadcast were looking for a describer who could  translate the visual imagery of the planet to listeners.

A2A’s new Audio Description Coordinator, Will McRostie, took up the challenge.

Audio Describing A New Music CD

Guest Blogger: Emma Bennison

I will be known to some of you as the Co-CEO of Arts Access Australia, but as as I have said previous blog, I am also a singer/song-writer.

My new album, “Fine Line” is making history because I made it to be accessible to people who are blind or Deaf. The question is why did I do it that way?

Given my role as Co-CEO of Arts Access Australia which is so much about advocating for access, it would have been unthinkable for me to release my music without considering accessibility. Many of the songs on the album relate to my experiences as an advocate, so that also made it seem even more essential.

But the decision to make “Fine Line” accessible also came about because of my experiences as a person who is blind. I have always been intrigued by what album covers actually look like and how the images relate to the music, so I contracted Access2Arts to audio describe the album cover.

As a song-writer myself, I am fascinated by what inspires particular tracks, but rarely have access to cover notes, so I have provided text and audio versions of the booklet which accompanies the album. Lyrics in text format are also included to assist people who are Deaf or hearing-impaired and in audio format for people who are unable to read standard print.

The cover of Emma Bennison's album, "Fine line"

To check it out, visit and click on “Access the “Fine Line” Album Cover and Booklet”.

“Fine Line” has been supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

You can purchase “Fine Line” from Apple’s iTunes store.

Access2Arts and ANAT calling for applicants to participate in UNFIXED



Access2Arts (AUS) is excited to be partnering with the Australian Network for Art & Technology (ANAT),  Unlimited (UK) and Watershed (UK), in calling for applications from Australian and UK Deaf and disabled artists for Unfixed, a creative research residency that is taking place in Australia later this year.

Unfixed is a creative investigation into the characterisation of bodies as ‘disabled’ and ‘abled’. The residency’s focus on creative, collaborative research means that participating artists will not be expected to create new work during the residency.

A not-uncommon experience for those with impairment is compensation, which occurs when one compensates for limitation in one area with increased ability in another. As well, increasing numbers of disabled people are using augmenting technologies that, rather than seeking to ‘fix’ their impairment, provide for alternative ways of experiencing the world altogether. Unfixed will explore how each of these can disrupt our understanding of disability by encouraging the participants to ask: “if disabled people are able to access ways of being in the world that the ‘able-bodied’ are not, who exactly is disabled?”

Applicants must read the guidelines and complete the application cover sheet, which can be downloaded from

If you would like to discuss your application prior to submission, please feel free to do so:

Australian applicants
Contact Vicki Sowry, ANAT:
or call 08 8231 9037

UK applicants
Contact Jo Verrent, Unlimited:
or (text only) 07793 559 411

Applications will be accepted in alternative formats. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Australian applicants: 5.00pm ACST, Friday 7 August 2015
UK applicants: 8.30am BST, Friday 7 August 2015


The logos for the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts SA

Unfixed is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and the South Australian Government through the Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability program, delivered by Arts SA.

Launching 2015 mindshare Awards

Access2Arts have partnered with the mindshare online mental health community website to present the mindshare awards (formerly the Open Your Mind poetry competition).

The awards were launched at an event held in the gallery of The Mill Adelaide creative space at an afternoon tea-style event.

Melbourne poet, Sandy Jeffs, was the special guest of the event and she took pleasure in opening the 2015 awards.

Closing Friday 7 August, entries are open to South Australians who have a lived experience of mental illness.  Categories for short (under 25 lines) and long form (between 26 and 50 lines) are open to:

  • Unpublished Emerging Poets – poets who are in their first 5 years of writing and have had no poems published.
  • Published Emerging Poets – poets who are in their first 5 years of writing and have had poems published.
  • Published Established Poets – Poets who have been writing for more than 5 years and had poems published.

Award winners will be announced at the Festival of Now on Friday 9 October 2015.

For more details  on entering, DOWNLOAD an awards entry form from the mindshare or Access2Arts websites. If you require the entry form and guidelines in an alternative format please contact Access2Arts by phone: 08 8463 1689 or email:

Click here to download the PDF mindshare awards entry form (PDF 716KB)

Click here to download the DOC mindshare awards entry form (DOC 759KB)