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2020 National Arts and Disability Awards celebrates outstanding achievement 

2020 National Arts and Disability Awards celebrates outstanding achievement 
December 3, 2020

On the International Day of People with Disability, Emily Crockford, Gaelle Mellis and Abbie Madden have been named recipients of the 2020 National Arts and Disability Awards, presented by the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Access Australia.

The national awards recognise artists who have made an outstanding contribution to the artistic and cultural life of the nation.

Emily Crockford receives the 2020 Australia Council National Arts and Disability Award for an Emerging Artist, capping off an extraordinary year of achievement that includes being a finalist in the 2020 Archibald Prize. Emily is an artist with Studio A and her large-scale public artworks can be seen across Sydney.

Two South Australian-based recipients also received awards:

Gaelle Mellis receives the 2020 Australia Council National Arts and Disability Award for an Established Artist, recognising her outstanding and sustained contribution to arts and culture for more than 30 years. Her extensive career spans theatre, dance, circus, opera, disability arts, visual arts, installation, digital engagement and more.

Abbie Madden, recipient of the 2020 Access Australia’s National Leadership Award is recognised for her leadership as a dancer, performer and choreographer, and founder and artistic director of Blindful, an inclusive dance and circus company.

This is the second consecutive year of the National Arts and Disability Awards. Previous recipients include Dion Beasley, Janice Florence and Madeleine Little.

Australia Council Chief Executive, Adrian Collette AM congratulated the recipients and noted “Today we are thrilled to celebrate three outstanding artists and arts leaders, and acknowledge their contribution to the cultural life of our nation.

“Our research continues to show that Australians with disability are strongly engaged as creators and audiences of arts and culture. Participation in arts and culture is a human right. An arts and cultural sector that celebrates and reflects all Australians will drive many positive outcomes, including a more inclusive, cohesive and just nation and great art.”

Arts Access Australia Chief Executive, Matthew Hall added “The National Arts and Disability Awards recognise and celebrate the talents of Australian d/Deaf and disabled artists and arts workers, and the vibrant and critically important contribution we make to the fabric of Australian culture.

“Arts Access Australia is delighted and honoured to present this year's National Leadership Award. The Award emphasises the importance of disability-leadership in long-term change making. It provides $10,000 and other support to the recipient to develop leadership skills to realise their leadership ambitions”.

An event celebrating the achievements of these three outstanding artists will take place online today from 2PM AEDT. The event will be Auslan interpreted, captioned and audio described.

Join the event at for a celebration of the award recipients, including performances by leading Deaf poet Walter Kadiki and the Liz Martin Trio.  

More information about the awards is available here 

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23rd November 2020 - Monash Council partners to deliver Australian-first sport and recreation work program to young people with a disability

10th July 2019 - Leading disability arts advocate to speak at Arts Activated 2019 Conference

10th June 2019 - YMCA Victoria partners with Disability Sport & Recreation 

16th May 2019 - Merlin Entertainments signs up to global disability campaign

3rd December 2018 - Successful grant applicants announced for 2018 International Day of People with Disability

3rd December 2018 - Sydney Festival launches first Disability Programming Initiative in Australia

24th September 2018 - Australia Council backs arts and disability with significant new funding

8th November 2016 - Perth International Arts Festival to host national forum on arts and disability

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