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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 the forum

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

Over a series of interactive workshops and sessions led by keynote speaker Sarah Houbolt, guest artist Kate Beynon and artist educators, delve into the idea of collaboration and discover a range of creative strategies to apply immediately in your classroom.

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

Keynote Speaker: Sarah Houbolt

Internationally accomplished professional circus and physical theatre performer, former Paralympics swimmer, arts manager, advocate for disability in the arts and self-proclaimed freak, Sarah’s work champions the importance of how we look at accessibility in education, employment, design and innovation.  

By day she works at the University of Technology Sydney for the Equity and Diversity unit and by night she is KooKoo the Birdgirl. Sarah has presented at TEDx Sydney, the Sydney Opera House Festival of Dangerous Ideas and Sydney Festival. She also has several years teaching experience, having run inclusive community circus workshops and vocational programs for young people with disability. 

Guest Speaker: Kate Beynon

For MCA's 2017 Bella Commission, Australian contemporary artist Kate Beynon was tasked with creating an environment suitable for people with access requirements. Her work Room of Lucky Charms is a space filled with good luck charms drawn from her mixed Chinese and Welsh heritage. Taking the form of soft sculptures, more than 500 charms line the walls of the Bella Room, reminiscent of hieroglyphs or ancient Chinese pictograms – early forms of writing based on drawings of real-world objects.

Kate Beynon was born in Kowloon, aka ‘The City of Nine Dragons’ in Hong Kong, and arrived in Australia from the UK in 1974. Shaped by story-telling and informed by an interest in mixed cultural identity and feminism, Beynon’s work draws on a diverse range of traditional and contemporary influences — from her maternal grandfather’s scroll paintings and calligraphy, to textiles, film, comic books and fashion.

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. 

Forum Program

Day 1: Friday 18 August at MCA

9am

Panel Discussion

The MCA Bella Plus Arts Partners program partners an artist with a disability or access requirement with an Artist Educator to work collaboratively over six months on creative and professional skills development. In this discussion, hear from the participants on their experiences working in the creative partnership and what they got out of the program.

10.30am

Morning tea

11am

MCA Gallery Tour

Explore new ways to connect and engage with contemporary art through a sensory experience in the MCA galleries. Led by MCA Artist Educators and SOH Teaching Artists, discover practical strategies and collaboratively explore how to develop these experiences in your classroom.

12pm

Lunch

1pm

Bella Room Workshop

Collaboratively engage with the 2017 Bella Room, Room of Lucky Charms installation in a series of hands-on artmaking, performance and multi-media technology workshops, working along-side the artist Kate Beynon and the MCA Artist Educators.

3pm

Reflection on practice

Conclude day one with a focussed reflection and explore the diverse ways the day’s activities can be adapted into different learning settings to work for you and your students.

 

Day 2: Saturday 19 August at Sydney Opera House

10.30am

Sarah Houbolt Keynote

Accomplished international circus and physical theatre performer, university lecturer, disability in the arts advocate and self-proclaimed freak, Sarah Houbolt presents a powerful and thought-provoking talk full of box-bending ideas. 

11.15am

Morning tea

11.45am

Workshop with Sarah Houbolt

Partake in a hula hooping workshop with Sarah Houbolt and explore a variety of outcomes including wellness, focus, physical dexterity and of course, performance.

12.45pm

Lunch

1.30pm

Place based response: Exploring Sydney Opera House

Explore the creative links between the Sydney Opera House and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Sydney Opera House is a marvel of engineering and architectural design. As a work of art it offers teachers and learners many opportunities to create work. Explore simple techniques of responding to the Opera House, building on the work from the day before in the MCA galleries.

2.45pm

Evaluation session and forum close drinks

Reflect upon your experiences over the two day forum and delve deeper in how to best apply these new ideas and creative strategies for collaborative and inclusive classroom practice.

Testimonial

"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


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