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Leading UK artist Rachel Gasden announced as keynote speaker for Arts Activated 2019 Conference

One of the world’s leading disability arts advocates, British artist Rachel Gadsden, has been announced as one of several high-profile international speakers at the upcoming Arts Activated 2019 Conference, Australia’s leading disability arts forum.


Ms Gadsden, who has just unveiled a major new work in Paris commissioned by FIFA for the 2019 Women’s World Cup, will be the opening plenary speaker at the conference which aims to help fast track the process of making arts and culture more accessible for the 20% of Australians who live with a disability or who are Deaf.


Produced by Accessible Arts – NSW’s peak arts and disability organisation – the conference will take place at Sydney’s Waterview centre at Sydney Olympic Park from 22 – 23 August 2019 and will attract up to 200 artists, arts workers, disability advocates, researchers, policymakers and other experts from across the arts, cultural and disability sectors.


Ms Gadsden is a visual artist, performance artist and artistic director who has been practicing for over 25 years. She creates both solo and collaborative art through, painting, performance, digital film and animation. Ms Gadsden has been the first contemporary artist appointed to Hampton Court Palace, has undertaken four major commissions for the UK Parliament, and has completed major commissions for the four most recent Paralympic Games. She is exhibited internationally and has been involved in many key international arts events and festivals as both an artist and disability arts advocate. Her work explores themes of fragility and resilience, and is informed by a life-long lung condition called retinoschisis which requires a syringe driver to inject her with medication at one-minute intervals to keep her alive. She also has visual impairment


Conference organisers have also announced the initial program for the event. The 22 sessions and events will include a range of thought-provoking plenaries, panel discussions, workshops and networking functions.


Some of the topics to be considered include: authentic casting and representation; increasing participation in arts, culture and events by making programming and venues more accessible; boosting mainstream training opportunities for artists and arts workers with disability; reshaping the disability arts narrative; technology and design trends for universal access; and improving mainstream engagement with the work of artists with disability.


To find out more visit Arts Activated Website