Skip Links
Close Search

Booking request submitted


Engaging Students with Disability Forum

Exchange information, ideas and inspiration with industry experts and practitioners from the arts and disability network in this interactive two-day forum for teachers and support providers.

At Sydney Opera House and Museum of Contemporary Art


“One of the best (if not the best) I've attended in 10 years of professional learning.”

Donald Green, Bega High Support Unit 

About Engaging Students with Disability 

Explore how theatre, music and the visual arts can unlock the learning of students with disability in this two day forum for teachers and support providers.

Participants will learn from, and work alongside, leading arts and teachers including artists from the highly regarded MCA Bella Program. 

A practical and hands-on forum for those passionate about working with students with disability, and teachers who want to learn some tried and tested technique.

Presented by Sydney Opera House and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Engaging Students with Disability Program

Day 1: Friday 14 Septemeber at Museum of Contemporary Art


Introduction and Welcome

The theme for the 2018 Engaging Students with Disability forum is ‘process’. Our combined MCA and Sydney Opera House team will be exploring this theme across both days, and engaging with artists to explore creative process.  


Opening Presentation: Prue Stevenson

Melbourne artist Prue Stevenson opens the forum with a presentation about her practice, followed by a Q&A. 

"My process is directly linked to my identity and lived experience as an Autistic Person. My process begins by asking lots of questions and when selecting a medium, asking myself why that medium, why that behaviour? In being Autistic I choose to manage myself to be able to be integrated into mainstream society. Taekwondo is one of the many mediums I use, which allows me to self-regulate as a form of stimming in a socially acceptable way, to help me manage my levels of energy and emotions". - Prue Stevenson 


Morning Tea

Prue Stevenson presents Expend

Prue Stevenson will enact her serial performance piece, Expend, showcasing a powerful combination of canvas, black paint, bare feet and a black belt in Taekwondo. Utilising artistic process as a way of managing the excess energy and anxiety associated with autism, Prue will create this work on site at MCA. Expend will quite literally kick off the day, with opportunity for observation of this high energy work in process. 

Artist Educator led response to Expend

MCA Artist Educator Brook Morgan will lead a group response to Expend in a workshop informed by key themes of the work and the artist’s creative process. This session will close with a facilitated group discussion and a Q & A with the artist. 




Interactive MCA Gallery Tour 

Join MCA Artist Educators and SOH Artists on a gallery tour that is all about touch and engaging our multiple senses.

In this session you will participate in hands-on activities that focus on how using tactile objects and other resources can facilitate multi-sensory engagement with contemporary art. 


MCA Bella Room Comission Workshop

Join Lara Merrett for an artist-led experience of her 2018 Bella Room commission, Paint me in.

Connect directly with the artist and work alongside MCA Artist Educators in a processed-based workshop that responds to Lara’s art practice and your experience of engaging with her artwork.

Each year the MCA commissions an artist to create an interactive and multi-sensory artwork in the Bella Room for access audiences.


Reflection on practice

Finish the day by engaging in creative activities that facilitate reflection, and play with the possibilities for incorporating points of learning into your teaching practice.

Day 2: Saturday 15 September at Sydney Opera House


Keynote: Emily Dash

Using concrete examples from personal experience and her journey as an artist, writer and performer with disability Emily Dash will discuss the benefits of inclusive arts practice and how it can open up possibilities for empowerment. Looking at what defines best practice and how to make the creative process inclusive, she will offer an insight into the approaches she found most supportive and impactful. In particular, she will reflect upon the value of good collaboration - and building trusting relationships with high expectations, allowing people to grow and learn.


Morning tea


Workshop by Emily Dash 

This practical workshop will bring to life the ideas discussed in the keynote. Along with her frequent collaborator Alyson Evans, Emily Dash will offer provocations and demonstrate her own approach to inclusive arts practice in a multi-artform context. You will be able to take a deeper look at how you might establish an effective working relationship, and what this can achieve.




Site Response Workshops and Tour

Join Sydney Opera House artists as they lead you on an interactive performative tour of the nooks and crannies and grand spaces of the Sydney Opera House. 

In this session you get physical, learning in various strategies that utilise the  fun spaces found in any building as a starting point to develop theatrical and visual responses. Questions that will emerge from this session will focus on how can a school be used as a cultural site?


Workshop Showing

Back in the Utzon room you will take the ideas that have been sparked from the tour and give these shape as you further explore creative learning strategies that emerge from responding to ‘place’. This session will be joyful and physical and will extend thinking around the school as a cultural site.



Reflection on practice 

Finish the day by engaging in creative activities that facilitate reflection, and play with the possibilities for incorporating points of learning into your teaching practice.

4pm Close 

Guest Artists

A range of practical and hands-on workshops will be run by the Teaching Artists of Sydney Opera House and Artist Educators of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

They are practicing artists, theatre makers and artistic directors who also have a formal or informal background in education and creative learning. 

Engaging Students with Disability


"My approach with my Special Needs Students has been "revolutionised". I have been given a whole new outlook and the 'tools' to create meaningful, exciting and all-inclusive experiences for my students. I have come away from the forum feeling inspired and enlightened!"

Cindy Dignum
Wauchope Public School

You may also like...

Zana Fraillon Digital Author Talk
19 October 2021
Join multi-award winning author of The Lost Soul Atlas and The Bone Sparrow, Zana Fraillon.
Australia Reads – Stories that Matter for Teens
13 Sep 2021 - 17 Sep 2021
Join us for this exciting digital event with Australia Reads. We’re inviting Australians of all ages and from all walks of life to share and celebrate the joys of reading.
Racing to the End of the World
Elizabeth Kolbert & Paddy Manning
Join acclaimed environmental writer Elizabeth Kolbert as she discuss her latest book investigating the fight against the effects of climate change, moderated by Paddy Manning at Sydney Opera House for Antidote 2021.

Support your Opera House

The Opera House is not for profit. Help us inspire through the power of art and ideas.

Make a gift