Case Study: Belconnen Arts Centre - IGNITE

In addition to term based workshops for adults, children and school holiday programs, Belconnen Arts Centre (BAC) runs a suite of dedicated programs to involve and build the artistic capacity of people with mixed abilities and lived experience of mental illness. IGNITE: Alternative Arts Academy is a series of seven creative programs providing multiple entry points suitable for those interested in art as a hobby though to artists with established practices. The programs offer people with mixed abilities or lived experience of mental illness a variety of ways to be involved in arts from making and exhibiting to visiting cultural institutions and discovering how artists can utilise their facilities. The programs empower participants to build their sector awareness through practical application of skills, and learning how to access the facilities they need.

Many arts organisations work with BAC to deliver elements of the programs such as IGNITE: Connect. This is a series of short, concentrated programs in various disciplines that serve as an introduction to new art forms and media as well as the partner organisations: Canberra Glassworks, PhotoAccess, Megalo, Canberra Potters Society, Warehouse Circus, Young Music Society, and ACT Writers Centre. BAC also collaborates to deliver a range of other exhibitions, programs and community events with other organisations: Ausdance ACT, Belconnen Community Service, Paperworks, Rebus Theatre, and Hands on Studio.

IGNITE Room to Move is a dance class for people with mixed abilities which  complements the Feel the Music: Dance for the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing; Dance for People with Parkinson’s, Dance for People with Multiple Sclerosis and Vivacity -Dance for People with Dementia in BAC’s new “Dance for Wellbeing” program. Relationships with BAC are not just beneficial for participants, but also for practitioners and organisations, as the experience of working with BAC strengthens their ability and will to deliver programs to people who experience disability and disadvantage.