The Australia Council’s million dollar commitment to artists with disability

Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski announced the Australia Council will commit one-million dollars of funding to support the development Deaf and disabled artists, groups and organisations.

Mr Grybowski said the decision to extend the dedicated arts and disability funding was made after a successful pilot was run earlier this year.

“The pilot program confirmed there is a rich pool of talent in this area, and that is why we have extended the program for three years.”

The Australia Council’s million dollar investment in arts and disability over 2015-2017 will provide development grants of up to $25,000 and project grants of up to $50,000 for individuals and groups.”

Mr Grybowski said the dedicated arts and disability funding was identified as a strategic initiative under the organisations new five-year strategic plan and that it would play an important role in the realisation of its goals.

“The new grants program begins in January 2015 with the first round of applications closing in March,” Mr Grybowski said.

Editors Note: Access2Arts provides project consultation and feedback on grants, as well as supporting artist’s grant administration. Contact Martin Sawtell, Business by email to to make an appointment. Access2Arts will also be running its popular Grant Writing seminar in late-January 2015.

Come see the ‘Best of the Fest’

If you find yourself looking for something to do on Saturday, come along. If you have plans, cancel them. Just make sure you come see the Sit Down, Shut Up and Watch Film and New Media Festival’s “Best of the Fest” screening on Saturday 8 November 2014 at the South Australian Film Corporation.

The “Best of Fest” includes a program of 19 short films covering a diverse range of themes, including; drama, animation, music videos, and comedy. All films were made by learning disability filmmakers and were chosen as finalists at the very first Sit Down, Shutup and Watch, Film & New Media Festival held last Friday 31 October, in Angaston, Barossa Valley, South Australia.

The “Best of Fest” brings this showcase to you with its first official roadshow. The program will be screened at the SAFC’s state-of-the-art facilities at Adelaide Studios.

The “Best of Fest” program was selected from over 43 entries from around the world, with finalists representing filmmakers from South Australia, Victoria, Germany, Ireland and United Kingdom.

Patrons will also have the opportunity to vote in The People’s Choice Award, which will be tallied, announced and presented on the day by special guest, Quentin Kenihan.

Come and see some amazing short films made by people with learning disability. Fun, quirky, wonderful, sad, funny and awe-inspiring!


Sit Down, Shut Up and Watch Film and New Media Festival’s “Best of the Fest” screening begin from 2 PM, Saturday 8 November 2014


South Australian Film Corporation, Adelaide Studios
226 Fullarton Road
Glenside, SA 5065


Tickets are $10 and are available from

Please advise if you require wheelchair access by contacting Sue Morley, Festival Coordinator by email or phone: 8422 6511.

SONS & mothers – more than a ‘making of’ documentary

Guest Blogger: Louise Pascale

Going to the theatre is such a joy. There is something electric about actors being live, flying by the seat of their pants and a whole crew behind them pulling it all together. All the while we in the audience watch magic appear in front of us.

After the show, we reflect, ponder and dissect what we have just witnessed.

But how often do we ask – I wonder how that came together? Where did that writing come from? Who are these people these experiences are based upon?

When you hire a dvd or download a film you often get to answer those questions in the ‘extras’ section with a ‘making of’ documentary. But what about theatre?

More often than not the detailed creative process is left unrecorded or journalised. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact it is all live. When we started filming SONS & mothers we realised what a gift we had.

For over 18 months feature film director Christopher Houghton filmed the Men’s Ensemble of No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability embark on the creative process that created their multi-award winning show, Sons and Mothers. The documentary we made, which has the same name, captures the creation of this remarkable piece of theatre from the seed of an idea to a fully realised play.

Immediately observing the troupe from the first day of rehearsal to opening night our aim was to encourage audiences to leave their views of disability at the door and instead, through the eyes of the Men’s Ensemble, experience what it is like to be simply human.

The documentary gives you an insight in to the stories that are depicted on stage. You get to see the men dig deep and harvest their own experiences, both honest and raw to make up the award winning show.

You will also discover that seven men set out to create a piece of theatre about their mothers, however only six made it to the stage. Sadly one had a mental health relapse that saw him pull out, and please be alerted that for some this does not make for easy viewing.

When we launched our film at the Adelaide Film Festival last October PJ Rose, Artistic Director of No Strings Attached said, “What’s extraordinary about Christopher’s film is not only the beauty and accuracy of the images his cameras capture for all time. The film SONS & mothers gets inside the creative spirits of the performers in a way that defies the passage of time; it’s not a record of the play, it’s an intimate visit to hearts of these sons and mothers.”

This Sunday night is everyone’s chance to catch the documentary as we screen on the ABC Arts UpLate program. We are also proud to say on the same night we have two screenings in Sydney. One screening is in competition for Best Australian Documentary at the Antenna Documentary Film Festival and the other as a Walkleys Best Documentary finalist.

You can find out about all the screenings here. To find out more about future screenings you can; follow POP Pictures on twitter, like the film’s facebook page or just sign up to receive the film’s newsletter.

Kylie’s Pendulum Swings

Guest Blogger: Kylie Harrison

Writer and poet Kylie Harrison credits supportive teachers and encouragement from her sister, Erin, for keeping her writing in the face of barriers like bullying and peoples reactions to her issues with mental health.

My project to write Pendulum began many years ago. I went to Flinders University and the Arts Tafe studying Creative Writing. I was unable to get a degree or a diploma as at that stage as I was constantly getting mentally unwell. I managed to gain the skills I needed to become a writer and was encouraged by lecturers to join in writing competitions, gaining distinctions for some of my poetry including ‘The sea of Melancholy’ sonnet which is now a part of Pendulum.

They weren’t the only teachers in my life who had praised my writing. Most of my teachers in high school supported me and since I spent some time in hospital as a teenager, it was my hospital school teacher that realised my passion for writing and believed in my ability. My home group teacher and drama and English teachers also gave me motivation. Back then I wanted to be a journalist.

When I was at Hamilton Secondary College adult campus attempting to finish Year 12, I had a teacher that loved my speech on youth suicide and encouraged me to become a public speaker in high schools. Years on that is one of the things I am doing, as part of my job as a peer worker with Life Without Barriers. Many teachers inspire the best from their students and I have found some in my writing journey. Three of my teachers along the way have said the same thing ‘Kylie sets very high standards for herself and always achieves them.’ This was written in my school reports from my teachers in Year 4, Year 7, Year 11 and Year 12.

For a long time it was a struggle being mentally unwell as a young person and this totally delayed my schooling. I was always getting sick and not able to finish anything. It was a frustrating situation. But I came to realise I could get the skills without getting the grades. Now that I am getting my book published, I keep remembering my sister’s advice. I was upset because I was unemployed and often getting sick. I related this to my sister as a young adult. But she said ‘you are not unemployed Kylie, you are a writer and you just haven’t been paid yet.’

My sister Erin knows what it is like to be a struggling artist as she is a ceramist and an artist. She painted the beautiful picture on Pendulum’s front cover and promotional material. I think you will agree that she has done a fantastic job and sets the tone I wanted for my poetry book. She spent hours on it and liaising with me was able to capture the vision I had for Pendulum. We have always talked about writing cards together with her paintings and my poetry.

A painted image of a waterfall cascading into a pool of ble water. A rainbow archs out of the mist surrounding the point where the waterfall hits the pool of water. On the right bank of the pool a woman in a white dress stands in a bed of flowers.

Image by Erin Harrald.

Growing up I was always writing poetry for friends and family for events like birthdays and special occasions. I would often write poetry for Mother’s and Father’s Day and began writing poetry since I was about 8 years old. I soon found out how much this meant to the special people in my life. It was about this time when I began sharing my poetry in the possum pages in the Sunday mail. It was a huge thrill to see my poetry in print. As I had a scientific mind back then, before I lost my memory, I was always writing poetry about space. I come from a family who have always been optimistic about my writing. I tried my hardest at everything I did and never disappointed myself, until life became sometimes a bit much trying to cope with the crippling mood swings and psychosis, which for a while felt like a full time job.

The teachers tried to help me to get through school. I loved the work but often got bullied. I realise now that the kids didn’t know what was happening when I was dancing on the tables in English class in a manic state or why my mum had to come to the class to pick me up to go to my psychiatrist.

People have always said that I have lived an interesting life. It’s good that I have lots to talk and write about. Since I come from the country I love to write in the country. There was many a writing session when writing Pendulum that I went and stayed at the Riverland with my sister. It was such a relaxing atmosphere and proved to be the most inspiring place for my writing.

Will I eventually be paid more to write? Only time will tell, but I am excited to be heading in the right direction. Art is such an interesting thing as some will like it and some possibly won’t like it. But I write because I want to and if people like it, that is just an added bonus. Writing is a big part of my life and I don’t mind sharing part of my world with the world. Why should you read Pendulum? Well……I always try to focus on what I can do and not what I can’t, and reading Pendulum is something you can do.

Kylie Harrison can describe herself as a Community Peer Worker, writer, film maker, performer and comedian, now can add the title ‘published poet’ to her well-feathered cap.

Kylie received funding from Arts SA‘s Richard Llewellyn Art and Disability program in the development of her book of poems. Pendulum is been published by Ginninderra Press and is available to be purchased at the launch. To find out more about the launch, check out details on the EVENTS page.