Inclusive practice and an internationally unique approach to classical music education and self-expression builds access to The Australian Chamber Orchestra



The ACO’s access vision is ‘to remove barriers to our organisation for people with disability to participate in our activities and programs’. The orchestra presented elements of its current access program - music and movement for young adults with disability at Arts Activates*, Australia’s biennial arts and disability conference. The session, facilitated by ACO’s Access Manager Dean Watson, featured musicians, percussion and young adults with disability, working inclusively to demonstrate best current arts and disability practice.

Dean stated “ACO MOVE is about access in its broadest sense: access to what we do, who we are, how we work, think and create; access to musicians, instruments, staff, administration and facilities. This broad conception of access helps to encourage inclusive and transparent involvement in the creative process. ACO MOVE is set up to engage as directly as possible with the best disability arts practice, bringing together young adults with disability and members of the ACO - both musicians and staff”.

Emily Dash is a writer/actor/speaker and participant in ACO Move. Following the conference she said, “I think it was a great opportunity to showcase what the program does; namely its relaxed and proactive approach to classical music education and self-expression. Most of us in the group are artists in our own right, so it is really lovely to have a space where we can come together to create, share and inspire each other without too much pressure”.

The ACO Move program is driven by the collective ideas of all participants and is designed to evolve as these develop. It is a series of sessions for people with disability integrating movement and live music. Participants work with Dean as movement facilitator together with ACO musicians and a percussionist through a series of exercises designed to develop movement responses to live music.

After the successful development and implementation of the ACO’s original Disability Action Plan (2012-2014), ACO are now focused on achieving the outcomes set out in the current (2015-17) Disability Action Plan of whichACO Move is an integral inclusion.

Further details about ACO MOVE here

*Australia’s biennial arts and disability conference, Arts Activated, highlighted the accomplishments of people with disability - as leaders, arts practitioners, audience and advocates - alongside best practice initiatives from the arts and cultural industries.

There are further details about Arts Activated conference here:Arts Activated


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