Open House: 21 September 2017

You Are Invited!

The Boards of DADAA, The Fremantle Foundation and Circus WA, along with the team from PianoEasy, are thrilled to invite you to the Community Opening Event of the Old Fremantle Boys’ School.

The event celebrates the restoration of the 163-year-old building that has undergone $2 million worth of renovations by the City of Fremantle.

The event will be officially opened by Brad Pettitt, Mayor of the City of Fremantle.

Doors open at 5.30pm for a 6pm start.

Venue: 92 Adelaide Street, Fremantle WA6160

Date: Thursday 21 September 2017

Parking on Adelaide and Cantonment Streets.

All welcome. The event is free.

Artist’s work takes centre stage with Black Swan Theatre Company

We are delighted that Black Swan State Theatre Company has joined Perth Festival and DADAA’s pioneering PIAF Connect initiative to break down barriers in disability arts in Australia.

Perth Festival has commissioned You Know We Belong Together, Julia Hales’ theatrical celebration of the power of love, the pursuit of dreams and living with Down syndrome which will have its world premiere with Black Swan State Theatre Company at the 2018 Festival.

You Know We Belong Together, a Black Swan, Perth Festival and DADAA co-production, will be a highlight of the closing weekend of the Festival next March. Co-created Julia and Black Swan Artistic Director Clare Watson, the work will be part of Black Swan’s 2018 season, which was announced earlier this week.

The involvement of the State’s major theatre company is a significant step in the Festival’s commitment towards greater access and expression for disability arts in partnership with DADAA.

Julia has been supported by DADAA for more than a decade as she has developed her skills in writing, dance, theatre and on-screen. Her recent research that she has compiled about finding love forms the basis of You Know We Belong Together.

How URBANFRAMEWORKS is ensuring a uniquely accessible civic space in Fremantle’s East End.

DADAA’s big move

Next week, DADAA will make its most exciting move yet. After 20 years in operation, we are privileged to be taking up residence in one of Fremantle’s most iconic buildings – the 1853-built Fremantle Old Boys’ School.

As lead tenant with a 30-year lease, DADAA is charged with activating the space in line with the City of Fremantle’s economic and social plans – together with co-tenants Fremantle Foundation, Circus WA and PianoEasy.

Four of five stages have been completed in re-purposing the building to become a fully accessible and multi-form arts, disability and enterprise hub, and the building has been stripped back to its 19th-century grandeur. Previously boarded-up windows now let natural light in; mezzanines, projector boxes, false walls and ceilings – added in the 1970s to accommodate FTI – have been removed.

Stage five will see the fit-out of DADAA’s core infrastructure – gallery, visual and digital arts studios, cinema, café, and arts and administration offices, and should be completed by early to mid-2018.

“Envisioning how to ensure a strong disability-led culture that sees contemporary conversations about arts and cultural access in an iconic heritage-listed space is perhaps our most important moment,” says David Doyle, Executive Director of DADAA.

“We could not effectively do this without URBANFRAMEWORKS and its principal Osnat Harlap – who has embraced the project as not only creatively interesting but also socially vital to the future of accessible civic spaces in Western Australia.”

Osnat trained in London at the Architectural Association and says that, for her, the project is the dream combination of an inspiring brief and a visionary client.

“From early in my career, I’ve been intrigued by whether space can contribute to wellbeing, both individually and collectively,” says Osnat. “Of course, I am a strong believer that it can.

“And when you marry an organisation like DADAA – notably its disability-centered politic – with an iconic public building like the Old Boys’ School, then the potential to create a new design typology for Fremantle is substantial.”

contemporary conversations, historical spaces

The mid-Victorian Boys’ School is noted as an architectural example of Tudor Revival, popular in mid-century England and many of its colonies.

“The Boys’ School makes a few nods to the Tudor style, with its pitched rooves, patterned chimneys, dark-beamed vaulted ceilings, and mullioned windows,” says Osnat. “But then you get this unusual Dutch gable facing Adelaide Street, which makes it all very interesting.

“True to Tudor-style architecture, the building has evolved through different iterations to have a beautifully asymmetrical footprint. The relationship between the various spaces was a key inspiration for design, as we seek to establish a harmonious framework between DADAA’s contemporary presence and the building’s rich past.

“I think that idea goes to the heart of DADAA’s philosophy, ethos and way of working with communities. The fit is extraordinarily powerful.”

There is something else that Osnat says strikes her about the building and one that she is using to bring to life DADAA’s disability-led model.

“There is a generosity of space that will allow us to keep things open,” she says. “In designing the gallery and studios, for example, we are making as many volumes as possible flexible and movable. We want to see the space inhabited and enjoyed by the whole community, and that includes a broad range of people with disabilities and access needs.

“The maneuverability of wheelchairs becomes not just about accommodating visitors and audiences, but also about ensuring that staff and artists, too, can carry out their work and engage socially and artistically in the space. How we place, fix or not fix reception desks, storage units and partitions, for example, is all being considered with accessibility in mind.

“The space also has to have durability over the next 20 to 30 years.”

The building’s Cantonment Street entrance is being designed and opened up as the site’s main entrance, and the sunny north-facing courtyard – under the steady eyes of a large turn-of-the-century cupola and several original brick chimneys – will be the social heart of the precinct.

“We envision this as a key meeting place,” said Osnat, who has had the very talented Bao Dang and Polina Zhalniarovich working alongside her. “It is the gateway to the building, a warm and collegial coffee spot, and a multi-functioning space for a variety of functions. Close proximity to both cinema and gallery will see the area activated after-hours and on weekends.

“In everything that we do, we work first from a place of respect for the history and originality of the building, and then consider how to retain and reinterpret spaces and relationships.

“For the team at URBANFRAMEORKS, design and architecture in this very special context is all about an ongoing narrative between old and new, between history and change, between original intent and contemporary practice.”

NAIDOC 2017: Our Languages Matter Exhibition and Open Day

Join us for this annual exhibition and Open Day celebrating Aboriginal artists and our Aboriginal Arts program.

DADAA’s NAIDOC 2017 Exhibition features artwork created at various workshops over the past year and is curated by participating artists.

For the first time, kids’ art will be included.

exhibition details

Exhibition is open 5–11 July at Midland Junction Arts Centre, 276 Great Eastern Highway, Midland.

open day

We’d love to see you at Open Day on 11 July from 10am – 2.30pm at Midland Junction Arts Centre.

Participate in a workshop or chat with friends. Lots of fun activities for the whole family.

Refreshments provided.

The Sensational Mandurah Wearable Art Will Be Audio Described

Bold. Evocative. Experimental.

The sensational Wearable Art Mandurah encourages new ways of perceiving the world through thought-provoking works of art for the body.

For the first time, this sensational annual event offers audio description for the visually impaired, thanks to DADAA’s Access All Arts program, an initiative promoting access to live arts and cultural events for people who are blind or have low vision.

The showcase on Sunday afternoon will be audio described and combined with complimentary tactile tours, artist talks and premium seating. Concessions are available and registered companion card holders attend free.

The AD and tactile tour event starts at 1pm

You’re invited to take your seat and immerse your imagination in the delightful showcase.

Light refreshments will be served as part of the tactile tour.

Haven’t seen the show before?  Have a sneak peek at last year’s: Watch the one minute clip below of last year’s showcase.

to make a booking

Be quick as bookings are essential, with limited places available.

Contact Mandurah Performing Arts Centre on 9550 3900 and quote the code word “Audio Description Tickets”.

If you possess a Companion Card let the box office know at the time of booking your tickets.

Once your booking is confirmed, you will receive an email with a meeting time and place closer to the event date. All bookings must be made by at least seven days in advance.


Freight’s Long Haul

This week, DADAA’s Creative Producer Chris Williams installs the final exhibition at the Freight Gallery before DADAA relocates to its new premises at the Fremantle Old Boys’ School.

Launched in 2004, the intimate and accessible Freight Gallery has been a signature program of DADAA’s, a warm and friendly professional space for artists of all abilities. Close on 200 exhibitions have showcased the work of thousands of artists in solo and group exhibitions. The Gallery – with a good portion of its exhibited works created just down the hallway in the busy Freight Studio – has kick-started dozens of artists’ careers, generated revenue from artwork sales of up to $60,000 in some years, and brought together artists with disability and the broader community in countless evenings of celebration.

“When I arrived, what is now a light and airy exhibition space was a just a plain, pretty dark room with small tinted windows,” says Chris. “We got funding from Lotterywest and then Department of Education, Employment and Training for modest alterations in 2004 and for the first three years of the Freight Gallery and Studio program in mental health. Additional funding from DCA in 2009 meant we could install proper lighting and exhibition panels, and enlarge the windows. This really opened the space up to natural light, the river and people passing by.”

Australia Council for the Arts funding has also been vital to Freight’s long-term success, as has Healthway’s, increasingly through the Act-Belong-Commit campaign.

“I think the biggest success of the Freight Gallery is that for artists, especially artists with a lived experience of mental health or disability, this has been their space,” says Chris. “It’s easy for artists to access this as a professional exhibition opportunity. Staff are approachable and showing work is affordable – there are no big commissions charged. So it’s great for first-time exhibiting artists and there is scope for self-management and curation.

“And because we’ve been running the Freight program for 14 years, there is now an active group of experienced artists engaged in exchanges with emerging artists around professional development and career paths.

“There have been so many memorable moments – like the Western Desert basket weaving exhibition in the early days, and the Ducks fundraising night a few years later. These were incredibly successful events. On an individual scale, one that stands out for me is Nicky Vervest’s solo fibre exhibition. The medium gave the exhibition its coherence, but the range of work was so broad and so amazingly random in a creative way. I remember thinking what an achievement it was that someone’s hands had found, selected, bound and shaped every fibre in that show.”

DADAA moves to the Fremantle Old Boys’ School in mid-July. Gallery spaces there are yet to be named.

Freight’s final exhibition, the NEXUS 2017 celebration, opens on Thursday 18 May, from 4 – 5.30pm. View the ‘What’s On?’ section of the website for more details.

Join us to celebrate NEXUS 2017

DADAA invites you to this year’s NEXUS Arts Grant celebration. The event recognises 2016 grant recipients with an exhibition of their work, and announces the recipients for the 2017 round.

DATE: Thursday 18 May 2017

VENUE: Freight Gallery, 21 Beach Street, Fremantle

TIME: 4 – 5.30 pm

RSVP: (by Friday 12 May)

Exhibition runs 19 – 31 May (Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm).

The NEXUS Arts Grant is a professional development initiative. It awards grants to young emerging artists to work with a mentor on an arts project of their choice.

It is supported by the Disability Services Commission.

Exhibition Opening: Nature vs. Magic

Nexus Arts Grant recipient Brent Stanley will hold his first solo exhibition, showcasing works he made at DADAA and at home over the past year. Nexus Arts Grants support young emerging artists to develop their interests and skills, and Brent has used the past year to explore his love of the magic and fairytale elements of Disney films.

The exhibition opens on Friday, 28 April 2017. The celebration event is from 1–2.30pm at Guildford Village Potters, 22 Meadow Street, Guildford. The event is free and open to the public.

Expressions of Interest for Board Directors

Do you have a lived experience of disability? Are you passionate about the arts? You may be the person we are looking for!

The board of DADAA is a place where your lived experience will be a great asset to the governance of our organisation. 

DADAA is currently undergoing significant change and expansion and we are seeking new Board Directors to lead DADAA through this exciting new period.

DADAA follows both the Social and Affirmation Models of Disability in the delivery of its programs. The Social Model views disability as a problem of the built environment and not a medical condition, while the Affirmation Model promotes a non-tragic view of disability.

Both Models address the need for change in society’s values, practices and assumptions in order to remove barriers to full participation and real inclusion of and by people with disability in all facets of their lives.

DADAA is currently seeking Expressions of Interest for positions on the DADAA Board. It is highly desirable for potential new Board members to have a lived experience of disability. We are looking for people with disabilities who work well with others and respect and promote diversity.

Please download the full Expression of Interest information and form below. Please include your CV, if you have one, along with the form.

DADAA Board EOI 2017