The ACCESS Program

The ACCESS program took place at both ArtPlay and Signal and involved the development and research of four creative arts programs, targeting a diverse community of children, families and young people.

Signal is located in the heart of the city, alongside the main river precinct, and provides a studio space for young people aged 1321. It offers a wide variety of free creative arts workshops that enable young people to develop their skills and interests by working alongside professional artists. ArtPlay is a unique arts facility for children in Australia. Open to children aged 3-12 years, it offers a wide range of artist-led programs across diverse art forms and age groups.

In 2010 the Australia Council for the Arts granted $495,000 for a Creative and Community Partnership Initiative at ArtPlay and Signal. The key goals of this program were to:

  1. broaden the reach of ArtPlay and Signal through four programs that would attract, engage and sustain the involvement of diverse groups of children, families and young people
  2. develop, research, embed and sustain Community Cultural Development (CCD) principles in the systems and practices of ArtPlay and Signal
  3. build and develop strong partnerships between ArtPlay and Signal with other arts and non-arts organisations to extend and enrich opportunities for creative community engagement, and
  4. create a hub for artists and professionals working with children, families and young people that would support information sharing, networking, mentoring and training.

For this grant UoM researchers mapped four different arts programs that targeted a diverse community of children, families and young people based at ArtPlay and Signal.

These included:

Signal 37: Engaging young people as co-creators with artists. Signal: Multi-arts. Young people aged from 15–22 years.

Evolution: Re-engaging youth through the visual arts.

Signal: Visual Arts. Young people aged from 15–22 years.

City Beats: Broadening the offer of orchestral music. Engaging students, 9–12, with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. ArtPlay. Children aged 8-13.

ArtPlay Backyard: Activating the public outdoor environment through artful play. ArtPlay. Children and families – all ages.

The programs involved 67 artists, 746+ diverse users over 180 days, 18 ArtPlay/Signal staff, and 5 researchers.


Principal Investigators

Associate Professor Neryl Jeanneret & Robert Brown

Outcomes

  1. High levels of engagement amongst users.
  2. Significant broadening of the reach of Artplay and Signal.
  3. Development of new and revised arts programs informed by best practice.
  4. Development of multiple partnerships with arts and non-arts organisations such as City Mission.
  5. Development and consolidation of community engagement and consultation processes.
  6. Generation of an artist ‘hub’ for professional learning and exchange.
  7. Development of capacity for ArtPlay and Signal as research-informed organisations.
  8. Multiple presentations, publications and exhibitions in Australia and abroad.
  9. Generation of a knowledge base that has informed policy within the City of Melbourne.