Arts and Accessibility

The ACT Government supports access to the arts for all Canberrans and works closely with the arts and disability sectors to increase the cultural participation of people living with a disability. The Social Inclusion in the Arts: 2017 Plan provides an insight into what is already happening in the ACT arts sector, and what we can do in the future to improve access and inclusion in arts events and programs.

We encourage our organisations to work with communities to provide access to arts facilities for people to participate actively or as an audience. Our organisations already have strong ties to communities and provide ways for people with mixed abilities to experience the arts. The case studies on Ignite: Alternative Arts Academy and Rebus Theatre tell some of these stories.

artsACT documents are available in alternative formats upon request. Formats include: printed in normal or large print, emailed in PDF or Word format. If you require a document in an alternative format please Contact Us.

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech difficulty, you can Contact Us through the National Relay Service (NRS).

Community Arts and Cultural Development

The Community Arts and Cultural Development (CACD) Program is an initiative of the ACT Government. It aims to give every ACT resident a unique opportunity to contribute to the community’s artistic and cultural landscape and provide services across Canberra including to those most vulnerable. Find more information on the Community Arts and Cultural Development web page.

Accessibility resources for organisations and artists

These resources will give you information and practical steps for making your art or organisation more accessible. Access refers to removing barriers to participation. Resources cover physical accessibility, such as exhibition design, and inclusion in artistic practice and programs for people who live with disability and mental illness.

It is important to make sure the community you want to work with is represented throughout the processes of planning and delivering work, events or programs.

Physical Access


Accessibility standards and guidelines

The Smithsonian page provides a number of standards and guidelines for accessibility. This includes legislation, architectural barriers and exhibition setup. The resources are American, therefore the legislation will not apply. However, the guidelines are good guidelines to adhere to. The page containing a number of documents can be found here External Link.

Smithsonian guidelines for accessible exhibition design

The document provides a number of design tools that are meant to be mixed, matched and tested in different combinations to find workable solutions. An online PDF version of the guidelines can be found here External Link. Some of the topics addressed are:

Beyond Physical Access

Arts Access Victoria 

Victoria's leading arts and disability organisation. Their website contains useful resources for access and inclusive arts practice. Some helpful resources are listed below. For more information go to the Arts Access Victoria website here External Link.

Arts for Everyone - Approaches to Inclusive Practice.

A publication to assist individuals, artists and organisations wishing to undertake inclusive art projects. The publication can be found here External Link.

Accessible Arts NSW 


The resources page has a number of helpful documents to make arts organisations more accessible. The website can be accessed hereExternal Link.

Art and You: A Planning Guide

A downloadable booklet for people with disability, mental health issues or who are Deaf to help them talk about why art is important in their lives. The booklet and information about the booklet can be found here External Link.

The booklet contains:

Interact resource kit

A resource to assist those who want to work in integrated performance settings. Interact includes workshop plans and case studies, which can be found on their website hereExternal Link.

Workshop plans External Link

Case studies External Link


Accessible Arts NSW offer a range of training for artists, and staff at arts organisations. This includes scheduled sessions in Sydney and tailor made sessions. Contact Accessible Arts NSW to see what options can be offered to ACT based organisations. Visit their website here External Link

Advocacy for Inclusion 

An organisation that provides self and systemic advocacy for people with disabilities in Canberra. The organisations teaches people self advocacy skills. For more information access their website here 

Other Useful Links

Downloadable Disability Access Symbols promote and publicise accessibility for people with disabilities.

Arts Access Australia External Link (AAA) is the peak national body for arts and disability, working to increase opportunities and access for people with disability as artists, arts-workers, participants and audiences.

The Australia Council for the Arts Artists with Disability Program External Link enables Australian artists with disability to create, develop, present, produce, exhibit and tour their work.

The ACT Office for Disability External Link provides strategic advice and practical assistance to enable people with disability to enjoy their rights as citizens of the ACT.

The National Arts and Disability Strategy External Link is a national framework for action to improve how audiences and artists with a disability can participate in the arts and cultural life of the community.