2019 Arts and Disability Mentoring Initiative recipients

The Australia Council has announced the first six recipients of Arts and Disability Mentorship grants.

This initiative is part of the Australia Council’s commitment to support sustainable careers and recognise the artistic excellence of artists with disabilities, in response to Australia Council research involving artists and arts workers with disability. The findings highlighted the importance of role models and mentors, and of disability-led practice.

The grants are designed to support collaborations that fuel ambition, embolden ideas and innovation, build networks and capacity, and strengthen future works.

The 2019 grants recipients were: 


Meet some of the recipients

Debra Keenahan

Artist, psychologist and activist Debra Keenahan  received funding to create ‘Smashing’, a video/sculptural installation conveying the physicality of people with dwarfism. Using multiple media, the work will portray the exertion, dexterity and versatility displayed by people with dwarfism in overcoming barriers in a society built on the false belief that 'bigger is better'. With an emphasis on peer-to-peer mentoring, the artist will exchange skills and knowledge with various partners throughout the project.


Matthew Shilcock

Dance theatre artist Matthew Shilcock will undertake a mentorship with Garry Stewart, artistic director of Australian Dance Theatre. Participating in development, rehearsals and international touring activity with ADT, Matt will also work towards the further development of his own choreographic scoring system, Osteogenuine. Matt describes the system as 'devised from my body’s unique physicality and the impact holistic and alternative healing practices have had on my health, personal growth and dance practice'.

Learn more about Matthew Shilcock. 

Julia Hales

Julia Hales offers a deeply personal story of her own experiences of love as a daughter, actor and dreamer. Bringing to the stage the voices and aspirations of a community we rarely get to see, You Know We Belong Together is an uplifting tale of love, relationships, acceptance and belonging – and Julia’s life-long dream of appearing on Home and Away! 

Learn more about Julia Hales. 



Learn more about Council's commitments to arts and disability.

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