Arts House’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) is a five-year roadmap taking positive actions to embed access into everything we do.
In step with our commitment to anti-racism and justice in the arts through our Equity—Builder (E—B), the DIAP responds to calls for structural change from diverse communities and the City of Melbourne’s vision for an Inclusive Melbourne.
We support the Social Model of Disability, where disability is caused by barriers in our society. We strive for a model of disability inclusion based in solidarity and Disability Justice.
This DIAP was created in conversation with Deaf and Disabled people alongside Arts Access Victoria.
It is a collective expression of our intentions that will drive decision making and guide our work to make sure it’s accessible, inclusive, and anti-ableist with actions that reduce barriers for Deaf and Disabled people.
Explore the DIAP
Purpose & Focus Areas
The purpose of this Disability Inclusion Action Plan is to strive for a model of disability inclusion based in solidarity and Disability Justice. We want to ensure disability inclusion goes beyond compliance and competence. We recognise that Disabled people face multiple intersecting oppressions.
This plan will:
- Guide Arts House’s work and make sure it’s accessible, inclusive, and anti-ableist with actions that reduce barriers for Deaf and Disabled people.
- Inform Deaf and Disabled people on what to expect of Arts House’s commitment to inclusivity and access.
- Commit Arts House to consultation and input from Deaf and Disabled community, respecting the knowledge, creativity, and expertise in Disabled communities.
- Embed a culture of improvement on disability inclusion, that ensures accountability to Deaf and Disabled communities, artists, audiences and staff.
- Commit to safe working environments for staff, artists, audiences and communities with regards to Covid-19 and other communicable diseases, ensuring disability and immuno-compromised communities are regularly consulted.
Who Arts House employs and engages
Arts House will employ more Deaf and Disabled people as staff, contractors, casuals and consultants. Our culture is driven by who is part of our organisation and who gets to be part of making decisions about our work. Arts House will be a safe place for people to talk about their access needs and ask for things that will make their work easier, safer, or more comfortable for them. We want to make sure this DIAP is a priority. It can’t sit on a shelf in the background, and it can’t rely on a few individual staff members. We need to make sure that accessibility is part of all our work for everyone.
To achieve this goal:
- Arts House will increase the representation of Deaf and Disabled people among staff, contractors, casuals, consultants, and advisory and co-design groups.
- Review our hiring processes and reach out to Deaf and Disabled people when we are advertising a new role.
- We will also try to make our workplace safe and welcoming by:
- Talking to new staff about what they need
- Welcoming access requests and flexible working arrangements
- Advocating for a full time Access Coordinator role
- Being a safe venue for immunocompromised people
How Arts House provides ongoing training and learning opportunities
Arts House is committed to being a safe workplace for artists, staff and audiences. We are committed to changing ableist attitudes and getting rid of practices that discriminate against Deaf and Disabled people.
We will make sure no one is excluded from training opportunities. We will regularly give everyone a chance to give and get feedback. We will make sure staff have access to a range of different perspectives from different Disabled communities including: different types of disabilities, multiple marginalised Disabled people and a mix of trainers from Disabled-led organisations and independent Disabled trainers.
When we can, we will invite artists, contractors, and other teams in our Branch to come to the trainings we organise too.
To achieve this goal:
- We will train all staff on what they need to know to create a safe and welcoming space for Deaf and Disabled people. This might include Deaf awareness, Autism awareness, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, cultural safety in a Disability context, basic Auslan, and mental health and trauma-informed work.
- We will make sure the training is delivered by Deaf and Disabled people.
- We will tell staff about the DIAP and support them to understand it.
- We will integrate training opportunities and workshops on access for artists in CultureLAB and Warehouse Residency programs.
How Arts House applies principles of access and inclusion to the creative program
We have a vital role in supporting artists to think about accessibility from the very beginning of their idea. We will support artists to create a more meaningful experience for audiences and Deaf and Disabled communities.
We know it’s important that we have clear pathways for Deaf and Disabled artists to develop their skills and create and show their work on their own terms. We will keep supporting Deaf and Disabled artists by commissioning them through The Warehouse Residency and other programs. We aim to be flexible, to respect lived experience, and be a safe caring environment for all artists however they work with us.
To achieve this goal:
- We will commission more Deaf and Disabled artists through the Warehouse Residency and other programming pathways.
- We will work with all artists to make their presentations as accessible as possible.
- We will consult with Deaf and Disabled people before our Season launches to identify access services for audiences and promote performances to Deaf and Disabled communities.
- We will make our expressions of interest accessible by including:
- EOI support through disability partner organisations
- Information in a range of communication formats
- Soft deadlines and flexible submission dates where possible.
- Ability to submit EOI in a range of communication formats including recorded meetings, audio, video, Auslan, text.
- We will keep offering digital programming.
Promote inclusion and participation in the community of Deaf and Disabled people
The first edition of Arts House DIAP 2019 – 2022 saw major access improvements to the way we communicate including: achieving WCAG 2.0 web accessibility for the Arts House website, making companion card tickets bookable via the website and consistently using access symbols on event pages and social media.
These changes are now part of how Arts House communicates online and across our ticketing platform. Moving forward, our focus will be on building relationships with Deaf and Disabled people, having a more diverse audience, and establishing Arts House as a trusted venue that the Deaf and Disabled community can rely on for accessible events and venue experience.
To achieve this goal:
- We will share information about programs with Deaf and Disabled people in ways that work for them, e.g. audio recordings, Auslan videos, plain language and Easy English.
- We will include access symbols, image descriptions, ALT text and closed captioning in all our publications.
- We will share detailed access information for all meetings, events, and venues including access keys, sensory maps, social stories, and meeting agendas.
- We will ask Deaf and Disabled people how we can be better at engaging Deaf and Disabled audiences.
- We will promote our work to people who aren’t online too, with physical signs or flyers.
- We will make sure people can book affordable tickets in different ways including over the phone and online.
How Arts House works towards making its physical and online spaces accessible to artists and audiences
Arts House is committed to keep improving our venue, digital spaces, and facilities so that all artists and audiences can comfortably use our spaces. This includes the way we work day-to-day. Sometimes we can’t make changes by ourselves and need to seek help. When that happens we’ll speak up about what needs to happen and advocate for improvements in our environment, technologies and equipment.
To achieve this goal:
- We will advocate for accessible public transport and increased accessible parking to the venue.
- Make sure we have easily findable step-free entrances that people can use independently.
- We will update our signs to include braille.
- We will tell people what our opening hours are and where the entrances are on all our communication channels e.g. website, promotional materials, venue signs.
- We will maintain a quiet space where people can take a break.
- We will ask visitors how accessible our venue is and act on their feedback.
- We will adjust furniture in common spaces such as bar and kitchen to be accessible.
- We will increase safety for all people by improving ventilation and maintaining safe air quality standards in enclosed spaces where possible.
Arts House’s DIAP was developed with Deaf and Disabled artists, writers and policy makers alongside the Arts House team. The Access Advisory Group have committed to help establish, consult and review key actions of the plan for two years. Members may also be involved with the Arts House program. This means their input is deep and multi-faceted across Arts House’s work.
Arts House Access Advisory Group:
- Artemis Muñoz (they/them)
- Hannah Morphy-Walsh (any pronouns)
- Jonathan Craig (he/him)
- TextaQueen (they/them)
- Thomas Banks (he/him)
Co-Facilitators, Arts Access Victoria:
- Margaret Mayhew (she/her/they/them) Special Projects Associate
- Janice Florence (she/her) Manager, Consultation and Training
- Catherine Dunn (she/her)
Arts House has an Access Working Group with staff who represent different skills across management, creative, marketing, venue and production, and champion access within their respective areas. This group meets regularly to ensure that we act on the DIAP strategies and goals and follow our timeline.
Arts House Access Working Group:
- Sarah Rowbottam (she/her), Creative Producer
- Adam Seymour (he/they), Public Engagement and FOH Operations Manager
- Bart Mangan (he/him), Production Coordinator
- Lucy Crossett (she/her), Audience Engagement Coordinator
- Bas Van De Kraats (he/him), Business Administrator
Arts House values community feedback on our progress in meeting the goals and actions outlined in this plan.
- Completing the online survey (anonymous)
- Providing feedback over the phone (03) 9322 3720 to Arts House reception
- Providing feedback in Auslan. Arts House can coordinate translation
- Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback
Arts House will acknowledge receipt of all feedback. You are welcome to request a status update on your feedback and how it has been considered.
If you need help to speak or listen:
Contact Arts House at the City of Melbourne through the National Relay Service or NRS.
Call the NRS help desk:
1800 555 660
Go to the NRS website: