Coonabarabran Inclusion Awards 2019

Coonabarabran Inclusion Awards 2019

International Day of People With Disabilities is celebrated in many places by institutions, corporations, and levels of government, putting on lunches for disabled people and that’s their good deed for the year.

This year we are taking, and turning, the day to ensure that positive change occurs in our community through the leadership of disabled people.

We are announcing Coonabarabran Inclusion Awards 2019 which will champion and highlight those businesses and locals who are making a positive change for everyone.

We invite members of the public to nominate their choices for winners in the following categories.

Inclusion Champion 2019

The person who has made the most impact on the local community in ensuring that all members have equal access to opportunities.

Young Inclusion Champion 2019

The young person (under 18) who has made the most impact on the local community in ensuring that all members have equal access to opportunities.

Most Inclusive Business 2019

(this does not only mean employing disabled people, it can include accessible workplaces, open and welcome to customers with disability,  processes and procedures that include people f all types…etc)

Most Improved Inclusive Business 2019

(The business that has made the most positive improvement to being inclusive – this can include having taken inclusiveness education, made deliberate steps/changes to ensure business is more inclusive to staff/customers, made deliberate steps/changes to ensure understanding/knowledge of issues that block inclusiveness (like not understanding the social model of disability) and more)

Most Inclusive Event 2019

The event that had the least barriers to every member of the community being able to participate equally in the event. This includes all people being able to volunteer, work, or enjoy the event and being invited and welcomed to do so.

Add your nominations and details in the contact form. Your details will only be used to contact for more information should it be needed.

Nominations can be made right up until December 1st 2019 and winners will be announced December 3rd.

Thank you and nominate away!

Inclusion Champion 2019

14 + 3 =

I went to Artstate and this is what I learned

I went to Artstate and this is what I learned

This weekend saw the second year of Artstate – the NSW regional arts conference that “…is a four-year project by Regional Arts NSW to shine a light on excellence in regional arts practice and to explore the exciting possibilities for arts and cultural development across the state.” . Also “Integral to Artstate is a strong focus on Aboriginal arts and arts leaders as well as the recognition of the contribution of local government to arts and cultural development in regional NSW.”*

Wiradjuri smoking ceremony

I went as a self-funded representative of Creatives Collective ARI inc. with several goals in mind.

  • To make contacts with areas and groups that are doing great things
  • To get a better understanding of what regional arts organisations are all about
  • To get an understanding of how areas who have a good working relationship with their council are able to do that
  • To agitate for more disabled artists and disability art to be featured at events like this

I don’t think I was successful in all areas, and that might be because of how young the event is, or that I was looking for things that just weren’t going to be covered in this year’s event. Keep in mind though, I am not from the arts’ world, nor from an arts organisation; that my lens is from our small group, in a small town, who just want to change our local area. I certainly felt like an outsider at times as everyone seemed to know everyone.

Opening Ceremony Artstate

Mind you I had a great time, was enthralled and delighted by the opening ceremony, and was surprised and pleased to see NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin MLC attend the entire event (I bumped into him at the coffee cart and he was relaxed and chatty and obviously enjoying being there). I was also incredibly impressed with the panel that discussed The Foundations Project -the development of the former Portland Cement Works, the development of the Tremain’s Mill project in Bathurst, and how our close-ish neighbour Gularganbone utilises regular projects – like the Pave the Way to Gular project to revitalise and bring new business and visitors into their town.
Country Towns Build Economies Around the Arts Panel Artstate

It was clear from discussions I had with people that impressing on regional councils the benefits of arts and culture is a difficult task. Even with arts and culture being one of the few occupations that are guaranteed to continue into the future of robots and global warming, if a council has not ever thought beyond the farm gate or the mine entrance, you are going to have a devil of a time changing minds . It seemed that we all wanted to know how to be more appreciated (not only at local government level), seen as a necessary part of society, understood to be beneficial, both financially and health-wise. We were looking for ways to prove that we are needed (like a co-dependent partner).

Jack Archer, CEO, Regional Australia Institute

This is why the keynote speech from Jack Archer, CEO, Regional Australia Institute was disappointing. We were told there’s places that are arts and culture hotspots (and surprise surprise outer suburbs of Sydney like Newcastle and Woolongong make the list) and those places are where lots of arts and culture take place, and lots of artists reside there. But I think what everyone in the audience wanted to know was how do you create those hotspots – is it a chicken and egg situation? Does a critical mass of artists naturally form in an area , or can you create an environment that attracts artists.  The audience also wanted to know where’s the hard figures to be able to plonk down on a desk in local council – the figures that will magically change hide-bound thinking that local government is only about roads, rates, and rubbish. I got the impression the figures don’t exist because no-one is going to/can pay for the figures to be gathered (I am assuming there’s some kind of methodology out there to do so beyond census figures). Anyway, I think Regional Arts NSW made a good move bringing in the Regional Australia Institute because it did encourage discussion about the issue after the talk.

Speaking of methodology, there was a panel discussion by representatives from regional arts organisations that helped me understand that there’s no hard and fast set of outcomes that regional arts groups are all striving for. Some areas were well represented, had great focus on disability art, supporting their artists in creating careers and opportunities to display their art. Others were less visible. In my mind the physical manifestation of who was really working hard for their artists and areas was at the beginning of each day the opening video had a slideshow of a photo and the name of each regional arts group – and somehow it became the norm for people to cheer for their group. There were loud cheers for some areas, who obviously had a good representation of artists and arts workers. There were silence from others – sadly, Orana Arts our local area, was one of those seemingly unrepresented areas.  Again was it a chicken and egg situation – does a really enthusiastic regional arts group drive great outcomes for artists, or does a group of well performing artists encourage a more enthusiastic regional arts group?

Bathurst Carillon
I don’t want to bore with long discussions about all of the keynotes and panels but I will say the standouts for me were the opening keynote with Jonathan Jones, I learned so much in his 30 minutes about the Aboriginal peoples of south-east Australia.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the shenanigans and quite obviously caring loveliness of Ian RT Colless in the First Nations Artists: Responding to Place panel discussion.

Catching up again with Liz Martin and meeting the delightful Kerry Comerford, new CEO of Accessible Arts was a treat and I hope to spend more time discussing how we can make us disabled country artists feel like they have connection to the disabled city artists, and other exciting projects.

As for the panel I was on,  “Coota’n’Coona: Small Town Solutions to Inclusive Arts Practice”, my fears of only 3 people turning up were allayed when we got a pretty good crowd. I am not sure what people got from the talk – but I think Elise Magrath, Cultural Development Officer of The Arts Centre Cootamundra  made points that equated to more can be done, should be done, will be done. Our moderator, Scott Howie, ended the panel with the shout out for a disabled artist to be a keynote speaker next year and the crowd agreed.

Next year Artstate is in Tamworth, much closer to us, and maybe more of us will be able to attend.

* From the About Artstate page

Too Busy To Sneeze

Too Busy To Sneeze

[Featured image by Olive at the Jeremy Hawkes Workshop]
September was an incredibly busy month. It began with the excitement of the lease starting on what we hoped would be our Fundability funded gallery and creative space. To the disappointment of all of us, and all of the town, this was not to be. Sadly, after a lot of effort time, and energy (things that are not in abundance in the lives of many disabled people), we are again looking for a place to help our members, our town, and the creative community. We have the money – just need the space!

SPACE denied

Despite the heartache caused by losing the space, there are pleasing things that came out of the exercise, seeing our members selling their work, and one of our members making her first ever sale. Fantastic!   One of our members is also engaging in a script writing class and using the events as a basis for a TV pilot script – turning lemons into lemonade. We disabled artists are great at re-purposing, and re-framing – it’s one of our survival skills.

Then we had the amazing Jeremy Hawkes lead a workshop at Pilliga Pottery and take the group through his process of taking organic shapes and making abstract images from them. The RAF funded workshop was a fantastic success and we look forward to working with Jeremy again in the future.

collaborative line drawing jeremy hawkes workshop 


regional arts fund logo

Around this time everyone seemed to come down with a nasty virus that was going around town. Lots f sneezing, croaky voices, and staying in bed. This didn’t stop the group entering the Star Art competition though – two members won place prizes out of the five that were awarded.

Star Art WinnersPicture of one man and three women holding up paintings of space objects

October is sizing up to be another busy month as well – the WAACI Art Expo, another professional skills workshop funded by our RAF grant, this time with Kerri Shying and Justine Cogan….and who knows maybe we will be able to find that retail space fr the gallery and creative space that the town and the creative community desperately needs!


Star Art 2018 Results

Star Art 2018 Results

Congratulations to all of the entrants of Star Art 2018. There was a huge response with votes coming for people’s favourite “space” painting from all over the world.  As we had a tie for third each artist will receive one canvas as their prize.

So the winners are *rips open a gold envelope*

1st Prize
“Milky Way” by Michael White

Milky Way by Micheal White

Click on all images for full-size photo

2nd Prize
“Jupiter – Polar Region” by Allison Reynolds

Jupiter polar region pastelsCurveof a planet against black background with swirls of bue, purple, yellow, red, and browns

Third Prize(s)

“In a Galaxy Far, Far, Away 2” Vivian Evans

In a Galaxy Far Far Away 2

“Sisters Swinging on the Moon” Shevone Milligan

Two Sisters Swinging on the Moon

“Untitled” Dallaz Hawley-Byrns

Untitled by Dallaz

Thank you to our generous sponsors for providing our prizes -Life Essence Psychology and Anni Reynolds Counselling & Psychotherapy, Crazy Sam’s in Coonabarabran, and us, Creatives Collective ARI inc.

Star Art 2018 Results

Star Art 2018

This year marks the inaugural Star Art, art competition. The art competition will run yearly as part of the revitalised Festival of the Stars in Coonabarabran. Festival of the stars runs at the same time as StarFest and is the town’s celebration of our astronomy roots.

Creatives Collective ARI inc. volunteered to run this year’s competition and is encouraging everyone to enter. The competition will be judged by the public who will not be able to see the names of the artists, and so should choose on what they truly like the best.

The prizes this year are 1st $100 sponsored by Life Essence Psychology and Anni Reynolds Counselling & Psychotherapy, 2nd $50 voucher to Crazy Sam’s in Coonabarabran, and third blank canvases supplied by SPACE gallery.

The official entry form can be downloaded here

We are still looking for a sponsor for a prize to go to a random voter – something that will make it worthwhile to enter and can be used/sent easily to a visitor to the town (if they win). Send us an email if you can help!

2018 Festival of the Stars Logostylised person dancing in a circle surrounded by stars with script writing saying festival of the stars