Appointment of New Directors at DADAA

DADAA is pleased to announce the appointments of Julie Barratt as Director of Arts Strategy and Chris Williams as Director of Arts.

DADAA’s Executive Director David Doyle says “these appointments expand DADAA’s arts leadership capacity, which is vital as our impact, reach, and level of disability arts programming grow across Western Australia, nationally and internationally”.

Photo of Julie Barratt. Close-up of Julie who has short grey hair and is smiling at the camera.

Julie Barratt, photo: Solange Bagues

Julie Barratt brings a wealth of skills and experience to DADAA. She has significant training and experience in business development and management; community, disability and regional arts; and has worked closely with Aboriginal people with and without disability.

Julie has worked extensively in NSW as the Disability Program Manager for Screenworks, Disability Program Manager for Arts Northwest, and Regional Arts Development Manager for Accessible Arts. She was also the Senior Advisor for the development of the Woorabinda Arts and Cultural Centre in Queensland.

Most recently Julie worked as the Regional Arts Development officer for the Central Queensland Regional Arts Services Network, delivering diverse and inclusive arts projects with regional communities.

“I am very excited to be joining the team at DADAA” says Julie. “I’m privileged to have been nurtured by evolving work and collegial relationships grounded in inclusion, collaboration, cultural awareness and a drive for social justice and equity. I bring with me to DADAA a passion and desire to support diverse programming that is accessible and relevant, and which supports a culturally safe workplace.”

Photo of Chris Williams sitting at his desk smiling at the camera. He is wearing a black long-sleeved t-shirt and has short curly brown hair

Chris Williams, Miles Noel Photography

Chris Williams has worked for DADAA since 2004 and was most recently our Creative Producer, leading the arts worker team as well as managing regional and performance projects.

Chris has extensive creative development experience in arts and mental health, community and cultural development, the visual arts and disability theatre practices. Chris has led many of DADAA’s regional programs and produced significant artistic and social outcomes across these communities with people with disability.

Chris has also worked on several of our long-term international partnerships in Hong Kong, Ireland, Bangladesh, and Chile.

Chris says “I am looking forward to my next chapter here at DADAA working with our creative teams and artists to help shape and drive our future direction. We work with a great team of people, I’m truly excited to see where we go.”

DADAA’s Board and Team warmly welcome Chris and Julie to their new roles.

Farewell to DADAA Gallery Manger and Curator Katherine Wilkinson

It is with sadness that DADAA farewells inaugural Gallery Manager and Curator Katherine Wilkinson.

Katherine Wilkinson first worked with DADAA in 2012 when she was appointed as the emerging curator for the groundbreaking Here&Now13 exhibition at UWA’s Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery. Katherine brought a unique understanding to the work of artists with disabilities, and a supportive, encouraging and critical eye to the project artists’ work and the way they told their stories to audiences.

Katherine continued to grow her practice as she moved on to other projects and productions but always kept in touch with DADAA, often including studio artists in the projects she worked on. DADAA’s move to the Old Fremantle Boys’ School brought the exciting opportunity to establish a new gallery and Katherine was the perfect person to help us through the design, resourcing and creation of the inaugural program of exhibitions, as well as forging connections and partnerships with organisations such as the Fremantle Biennale and Perth Festival, and artists from across Australia.

Katherine has grown as a curator and a producer, and is a passionate advocate for inclusive practice and community building. She is leaving DADAA to pursue opportunities for large-scale productions and projects and we are really excited to watch what she does next. Though Katherine will continue to collaborate with DADAA in the future, we will miss her enormously, and we want to say a huge thank you for her invaluable contribution.

image: Trinity Williams, Portrait of Katherine Wilkinson, 2019, Tombow Dual Brush pens on paper.

DADAA Fremantle launches new exhibition space

DADAA recently launched a new exhibition space, the Side Gallery, with an exhibition by DADAA Fremantle studio artist Simon Marchment, Exodus Through Art. This exhibition presents a series of paintings which express the artist’s personal connection and experiences of place, both real and imagined.

You can visit the exhibition Monday – Friday, 10am–4pm until August 13.

The Side Gallery at DADAA Fremantle sits alongside the main gallery and will feature a program of exhibitions throughout the year.  The gallery will promote new works by West Australian and Australian artists, with a focus on artists working within DADAA’s arts program, or artists with a lived experience of disability and/or a mental illness. 

This space aims to create opportunities for first time exhibitors or artists wishing to showcase a body of work that they have had in development. Open to all mediums, works will be selected from artists through an open call for applications and an assessment panel. 

We are currently taking applications for 2022. If you are interested in applying you can find out more here.

The Side Gallery is presented by Act Belong Commit

Act Belong Commit logo 

image: Simon Marchment, Churchman Brook I, acrylic on canvas, 50 x 60cm

New Writing Program at DADAA Fremantle

Control, Shift, Return is DADAA’s inaugural writing initiative, bringing together artists with disability in a series of group workshops which will culminate in an annual print publication. Hosted at DADAA Fremantle, workshops run every weekly and participants are encouraged to develop a short, written piece for inclusion in the first issue of Control, Shift, Return. The pilot issue, themed ‘Blank Page’, will reflect the workshops, with a focus on experimenting with forms of writing, nurturing diverse styles, and encouraging meaningful relationships between artists to support their ongoing engagement with the arts and writing sector.

The workshops, led by writer and arts worker Raf Gonzalez, with support from Rashida Murphy, are intended to build skills over time, and include group discussion, individual and collaborative writing provocations, exercises and challenges, and take-home tasks. Selected outcomes from these workshops will be shared on a dedicated Control, Shift, Return webpage on an ongoing basis.


Raf Gonzalez
Raf is a Latino writer and multi-disciplinary artist. Born and raised in Perth, he comes from a family of migrants who moved from El Salvador to Australia during the Salvadoran Civil War. Raf is a proud Aspie whose work highlights often-marginalised diverse identities, raising them from supporting a character to protagonist, and giving them the agency they often aren’t afforded. Raf has written contributions published in Los Angeles Review of BooksJournal, and Centre for Stories’ To Hold the Clouds anthology. He has been supported through writing mentorship by DADAA and Centre for Stories.

Rashida Murphy
Rashida is a writer, poet, reviewer, and blogger. She has published her short fiction and poetry in various international literary journals and anthologies, including the Westerly, Open Road Review and Veils Halos and Shackles. Rashida has a Masters in English Literature and a PhD in Writing from Edith Cowan University. In 2016 she was the joint winner of the Magdalena Prize for feminist research for her thesis which includes the novel The Historian’s Daughter. She has been a judge of literary competitions and awards such as The WA Premier’s Literary AwardThe Spilt Ink competition, The Tallus Prize, the Ellen Kemp Memorial Prize and The KSP short story competition; a writer-in-residence at the Katharine Susannah Pritchard Writers Centre WA and the Booranga Writers Centre in NSW; as well as an invited guest and facilitator at the Perth Writers Festival and the Hyderabad Literature Festival. 

For information about the program contact or call DADAA Fremantle 9430 6616.

Control, Shift, Return is presented by Act Belong Commit

Act Belong Commit logo

DADAA Exhibitions at Midland Junction Arts Centre

Three exhibitions open at Midland Junction Arts Centre on Saturday 8th of May, with artists from DADAA’s Midland studio featuring in both TAP [Tactile Art Project] and Blue Beautiful.

TAP [Tactile Art Project], curated by Oliver-Max Taylor, is a showcase of tactile and multi-sensory artworks intended to be touched, seen, heard and smelled. This year’s iteration of the annual In Focus exhibition, presents 30 artists who work out of DADAA’s Midland studios. The project began with a few ceramic artists with vision impairment wanting to create work for others with vision impairment, and soon grew to include many participants from across DADAA Midland’s painting and textile workshops.

Blue Beautiful is an installation by emerging artist Dylan Madurun, whose art practice connects a variety of subject matter with his favourite colour, blue. Dylan works out of DADAA’s Midland and Hamersley studios and was the recipient of a Nexus Grant in 2019. He was also Awesome Festival’s Artist in Residence at the State Theatre Centre in 2020.

In addition to free tactile tours of these exhibitions, DADAA’s Access All Arts team will provide vision awareness training and tactile tour training to City of Swan cultural groups, as well as training to industry groups. This will build disability and access awareness, and encourage more programs to be inclusive of the vision impaired/blind community.

Alongside these two exhibitions is Critical Time, which brings together the work of Tom Freeman, Andre Lipscombe, Joana Partyka and Gemma Watson, artists “who keep time, waste time, or chronicle time, charting tempos through meditative, accumulating, and reflective practices”.

* please note that due to Covid restrictions, the opening event has been rescheduled to Fri 28 May 6:30pm – 8pm | Registration essential 


Exhibitions run Sat, 8 May – Sat, 17 July 2021
Wed – Fri 10am – 5pm, Sat 11am – 3pm
Midland Junction Arts Centre | 276 Great Eastern Hwy Midland WA

image: Mark Landon, Amphora (detail), 2021, ceramic

Artist Spotlight | John Morrison

Fremantle Arts Centre’s annual Revealed exhibition showcases emerging Aboriginal artists from across WA. Featuring work from over 100 artists whose diverse practices encompass painting, installation, textiles, photography, print media, video, jewellery, carving and sculpture, this year’s exhibition also includes John Morrison, an emerging artist and multi-media designer who works out of DADAA’s Midland studio.

John was born in Darwin and currently lives in the Midland area. His mother, who is also an artist, is from Queensland with connections to Central Australia. John’s father is a Noongar man from the South West of WA.

Through his practice, John explores the interactive potential of animation and gaming as a way of telling his stories and sharing his love of pop culture and Japanese animation. “I love anime and manga. I read a lot of books, novels, comics, and cartoons. I also love all types of video games, and I also love to watch related stuff on youtube.” John dreams of travelling, with Japan at the top of his list of destinations where he can further explore his fascination with Japanese culture.

As John’s practice has progressed, he has become more interested in exploring world-building: each with idiosyncratic rules and inhabited by characters with special skills and abilities. John’s work, World Monsters, fills Fremantle Art Centre’s children’s education zone, offering a small glimpse into John’s carefully constructed world of gaming characters and fantastical creatures through a series works on paper which are then brought to life via a digital game.

The first prototype of this work and the console were acquired by AGWA for the State Art Collection in 2020. John was also recently selected to be part of the Ability Centre’s 70th anniversary exhibition which opens in July.

Revealed is on at Fremantle Arts Centre until May 23, 2021.

images: (top) John Morrison, World Monsters, 2021, video game, console and screen, works on paper (dimensions variable), installation view from Revealed, 2021, Fremantle Arts Centre, photo: Pixel Poetry, courtesy of Fremantle Arts Centre. (bottom) John Morrison with his work, World Monsters, installation view from Revealed, 2021, Fremantle Arts Centre, photo: Pixel Poetry, courtesy of Fremantle Arts Centre.

Raf Gonzalez | You Can’t Rush Art

There’s this round table at my parents’ house that has been there for a long time now. It’s white and circular in shape with a wooden underlay and a sturdy metal leg right in the middle. Though simple, it’s one of those pieces of furniture that comes to mind easily for me. On birthdays, the rolling chorus of mariachis singing Las Mañanitas would fill the air, kettle bubbling alongside, and the white table now adorned with a feast suitable for the special occasion. As a first-generation Australian born and raised in a migrant family, owning a piece of furniture was a symbol of stability: it is one of only a few items that always reminds me of home.

No matter the situation, be it confrontational, celebratory, or mundane, the round table has been a consistent presence throughout my family history. I was sitting at that table when my sister Raquel told our family she was pregnant. I remember everything from that night: my Dad was sitting at his usual comfortable spot, my nephews running around him in a chaotic pre-sugar rush high. I could feel my excitement growing as I eagerly watched over my mum prepping my favourite meal of pupusas, a traditional snack from El Salvador that always elevates my cultural pride. We gathered with anticipation around the table. From the moment we heard Raquel say those two magical words, my jaw dropped as our collective initial disbelief transformed into joy and utter bliss. As the heart of our kitchen, you could say that this table forms a tapestry of the history of my family’s life, of all the good and the bad.

I was reminded of this round table when I first saw Olivia Biasin’s art work at DADAA Fremantle’s Gallery as part of the exhibition In Record Time. An assemblage of collation and contemplation replicates a functioning computer desk, meticulously organised with sketchbooks and various art equipment, it is laid out in a way which mimics the artist’s own home. Milk crates configured around the desk further create the atmosphere of a workable space. A neat arrangement of polaroids surrounding the desk give the viewer an insight into the life that this furniture has had – alternately one of chaotic creative mess or precise tidiness, at the will of its owner. In each image Olivia deliberately positions the camera in the exact same spot to record the working life of the desk, and by extension, her. Their arrangement is not linear, but rather they move back and forwards in time, painting the idea of an ongoing process. Despite their volume, not one is a repeat. Each frame captures a distinct moment in Olivia’s life – from the mundane to the personal and vulnerable artistic struggle. Yet one thing remains constant throughout: the desk. Olivia’s equivalent to my family’s round table.

Standing in front of her work, I imagine Olivia sitting by this desk spending hour upon hour labouring over concept designs for her art installations. Blunt pencils are scattered around the place, while eraser smudges and scrunched up paper perhaps signal a failure in execution. Hands aching and blistered, she literally carries her work as a maker between them. Speaking as a fellow artist, I can understand the relentless pursuit of artistic enlightenment. And I doubt that I am the only one.

Clare Peake’s pottery is a patient craft with no single pot being the same in design, structure, or character. Even just looking at her work, you get a strong sense of the labour intensive process of her craft: from the building to the drying to the painting and to drying again. The sheer volume of Clare’s work speaks to her level of commitment to seeing her project through.

This perseverance is also evident in Rocky Lu’s drawings of buildings, whose intricate attention to precision, shape, tone, and colour, create an undeniable sense of stamina with each work taking up to several days to complete. Yet standing in front of them, you don’t get any impression of fatigue from the artist. His drawings are free from indentation, pressure or other blemishes.

In stark contrast, knocking into my ankles with obnoxious persistence, Bjoern Rainer Adamson’s robot, with its insidious recorded narration, serves as a constant and daunting reminder that the expectation to justify and quantify your practice as an artist is lurking just around the corner. Together, they are a collection of personal reflections around practice and process which each share a memory and perspective of the passage of time.

Lastly, we can’t really talk about the labour that is evident in In Record Time without addressing Roch Dziewialtowski-Gintowt’s dedication to his practice. Roch’s work invokes a discipline and a respect for the rituals that have been carried out by him on a daily basis for the last 10 years. I have fond memories of passing Roch in the DADAA halls: in his usual spot, labouring away with his set of pencils and textas. I didn’t really have a full grasp of what his work entailed until I saw it all displayed here in the gallery space. A prolific body of work, Roch’s art represents a clear and purposeful practice, based around an idiosyncratic set of rules and patterns of working. I know that I speak for everyone at DADAA who knew Roch when I say that his spirit as a colourful, focused, and concise artist lives on in this body of work.

Art is something that takes time to evolve: from the first inception of an idea to its resolution, it is time that shapes a work, together with constant patience and commitment. In Record Time represents the practice of art in both its full glory and in its slow monotonous slug. More than just something audacious to look at, the process of art embodies our stories and our souls and how we share these with one another. Whether it be a sentimental family table, or a work of art, our memories and our stories are built into the objects in our lives. In loving memory of Roch Dziewialtowski-Gintowt, In Record Time is the ultimate analogy for why you can’t rush art.

Raf Gonzalez


images: (below) Roch Dziewialtowski-Gintowtuntitled, series c2010 – 2020, pencil and pastel on paper, 30 x 21 cm (each), photo: Pixel Poetry, 2020 |  (top) Olivia Biasin, An assemblage of collation and contemplation (detail), 2020, dimensions variable, photo: Pixel Poetry, 2020

The Other Film Festival WA 2021

A highlight of DADAA’s summer program was The Other Film Festival WA which was presented as part of the 2021 Perth Festival. With a program of film screenings and artist spotlights driven by leading creatives with disability, The Other Film Festival represented the innovation and critical engagement with disability-politics that our creative sector needs.

Originally an Arts Access Victoria initiative, The Other Film Festival started in 2004, becoming a ground-breaking, disability-led and fully accessible film program elevating Deaf people and people with disability’s voice, stories and skills within the Australian screen industry. Huge thanks to Caroline Bowditch, CEO of Arts Access Victoria, and Fiona Tuomy for their guidance and support in bringing this concept to Western Australia.

Film Program Curator, Sarah Collins selected films from around the world which reflected complex and diverse understandings and experiences of disability. “Disability in mainstream film tends to have specific tropes and clichés which serve to “inspire” an audience and often win awards for able-bodied actors for their “bravery” in portraying a character whose entire life is usually defined by their disability. I have enjoyed finding films that subvert these tropes (if you subscribe to the idea the people with disability can do anything, how do you feel about them planning and carrying out a robbery?) and focus on people telling their own stories, both in front of and behind the camera.”

DADAA would like to thank the wonderfully talented artistic leaders: Sarah Houbolt, Anna Seymour, Matt Shilcock, Jenny Sealey, Gaelle Mellis, again Caroline Bowditch, Tony Sarre and Matt Fraser, for their inspirational presentations of practice, resilience, determination and above all, disability leadership.

Recordings of the artist spotlights will be made available on the DADAA website in the future.

The Other Film Festival WA was presented in association with Perth Festival with the support of Act Belong Commit Mentally Healthy WA campaign and Healthway.

images: (top) Still from Single, Blank Films Inc, 2020; (right) DADAA Board member Wendy Martin in conversation with Matt Fraser, Creative Director of the BBC series, Crip Tales, photo: Jacqueline Homer

DADAA launches the Digital Diversity Project in Midland

DADAA has launched the Digital Diversity Project which builds on the success of our previous digital arts development work. Made possible through the Fremantle Foundation’s WA Relief & Recovery Fund: COVID-19, the five-month project aims to address digital disadvantage and inclusion in the Midland area.

Over the years, DADAA projects such as The Lost Generation Project, stARTspeak, Paper Project, and more recently the Digital Transitions Project, have aimed to increase digital inclusion and digital literacy for people with disabilities, as well as introducing new opportunities for creativity and self-expression through digital technology.

The Lost Generation Project was DADAA’s first long-term project (2007 – 2013) in digital story telling practices that engaged older people with intellectual disability living in supported accommodation to connect with their communities. While StARTSPEAK explored the impact of touch screen technologies for people with disabilities and, for over 12 years, influenced DADAA’s work with vastly diverse communities and individuals, including older people, Aboriginal people with disability and people with disabilities from linguistically diverse communities.

The Digital Diversity Project is a capacity building initiative that came about as a response to DADAA’s online workshop delivery during the outbreak of Covid-19 in term 2, 2020.  This rapid shift to a digital platform was an enormous challenge, without specific training (and sometimes, adequate resources) for arts workers, and limited digital exposure, skills and/or support for many of our artists. DADAA’s arts workers adapted remarkably to this challenge to ensure workshops continued online and that DADAA’s community was not left isolated. However, upon evaluating the online workshops, it became clear that there was a disparity between the Fremantle and Midland sites with the uptake of online workshops in Midland being significantly lower. 

The Digital Diversity Project aims to address this gap by ensuring that DADAA’s Midland arts workers, support workers and participants are given the resources, skills and support needed to successfully engage in online workshops should we have to go into lockdown again. The project also aims to increase engagement in the exciting creative potential digital technology can bring to the art studio and the work of DADAA’s participants.

The project will be evaluated using the Most Significant Change Method, a monitoring and evaluation system based on a qualitative, participatory approach where stakeholders are involved in all aspects of the evaluation. By focussing on four domains of change: confidence and competency, social connectedness, attitude and degree of engagement, and creativity and self-expression, the impact of the project is evaluated through baseline interviews and then the recording of Significant Change stories told by participants at the end of the project.

It is hoped that the project will extended and eventually be rolled out across other DADAA sites.

images: Installation views of Homepage (December 4 – 17, 2020), an exhibition which showcased artists’ work from DADAA’s Digital Transitions Project and online workshop program, photo: Louise Coghill

DADAA Board welcomes two new directors

DADAA is delighted to welcome two new directors to its board, Michelle Broun and Aurelio Costarella. Together they bring a wealth of experience and add more diverse voices to the DADAA Board.

black and white headshots of Michelle Broun and Aurelio Costarella

(l-r) Michelle Broun and Aurelio Costarella

Michelle Broun is a proud Yindjibarndi women living and working on Whadjuk Nyoongar Boodja. Michelle has worked at many levels and across many platforms to produce, promote and present Aboriginal arts and culture.  She is a curator, cultural planner and creative producer.  She is currently the Curator of Australian First Nations Art at John Curtin Gallery, focusing on research, presentation and community engagement related to the collection of artworks produced by the child inmates of the Carrolup Native Settlement, and helping to develop The Carrolup Centre for Truth-telling. 

Michelle has had a long association with DADAA and says that she admires DADAA’s work and advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities. As Curator of Australian First Nations Arts at Curtin University Gallery and a board member of Marrugeku, together several decades of experience working in the arts, she says it’s a chance to give back to another special and important organisation in WA’s cultural landscape. “DADAA’s philosophy of equal rights and opportunities aligns with mine, especially in relation to the rights of Aboriginal people. And of course, I love the arts. I expect I will learn many things from DADAA. And it will allow me to impart some of my knowledge to the organisation to help further diversify the organisation, like Aboriginal staff, arts workers and more Aboriginal artists too – the potential for more collaborative projects is really exciting.”

Aurelio Costarella is an internationally renowned Australian designer and artist, whose work has been showcased on runways globally, in numerous exhibitions and publications, and is housed in public collections including the WA Museum Boola Bardip, Powerhouse Museum and the National Gallery of Victoria. 

In 2015 Aurelio decided that it was time to talk openly about his life-long struggle with mental un-wellness and was soon appointed as Ambassador for Lifeline and continues to speak and advocate for those living with mental health issues. Since shuttering his fashion business in July 2017, Aurelio has also shifted his focus to developing his art practice, currently working on a series of abstract mixed media on canvas and paper. 

Aurelio’s extensive business experience and mental health advocacy leave him well-qualified to support the DADAA’s Board as it drives the organisation’s strategic direction. ‘I’m delighted to join the DADAA board as a lived experience, mental health advocate and art practitioner. Working with a strong and diverse board dedicated to shaping paths for persons of varying abilities is something that fills me with a great sense of purpose.’ 

Dr Scott Hollier, Chair of the DADAA Board, joins with the Board and DADAA staff in welcoming Michelle and Aurelio.


image: (top) Karen McCullough, Lava Flow, 2020, mixed media on paper, 90 x 42 cm. Courtesy the artist.