A new mentorship model: Towards arts employment and social inclusion for people with disability

DADAA is a not-for-profit organisation which facilitates the social inclusion of people with disabilities, mental illness, or people experiencing other social, political or economic disadvantage, through involvement in arts and cultural activities. The HERE&NOW13, project fostered professional and practical development for eleven artists with disability through a mentorship program which culminated in a major exhibition.

The research team mapped the progress of the artists and their mentors as they participated in the project, through a series of evaluations and case studies. The focus of the work was both studio practice and the integration of the artist into a professional life in the art world. The project also provided an opportunity for an emerging art curator to work on the project and develop their skills in the area of contemporary disability arts practice.

Findings from the project informed greater understanding of the cultural development needs of artists with disability. It highlighted the beneficial effects of the arts for fostering inclusion, including increased motivation, independence, and confidence. Participants improved both artistic and social skills, grew their confidence, and established wider networks from the exhibition of their work in the HERE&NOW13 art show at a major gallery in Western Australia.

From the NSW Department of Family and Community Services website:

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