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The Last Avant Garde Research

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The Last Avant Garde, also known by its formal title, Disability and the Performing Arts in Australia: Beyond the Social Model, is a research project exploring key themes in the arts and disability sector.

What is the project?

We are a team of deaf and disabled and non-disabled researcher artists, performers, writers, arts managers and theatre makers conducting a research project called Disability and the Performing Arts in Australia: Beyond the Social Model. It is being funded by the Australia Research Council and is part of a long-running collaboration between Arts Access Victoria, and the Universities of Melbourne and Sydney. The project is investigating the creative and aesthetic strategies of the Australian Disability Arts sector. You can see videos and read about our earlier work at

What are we interested in?

This project is interested in speaking to artists with a disability and the organisations that support them are working to build an inclusive arts sector, free from barriers, where people with a disability can participate on an equal basis. We are speaking with artists about their art and art making process. We think that Australian society benefits when the wider community understands and values the creative contribution of artists with a disability and their cultural aspirations.

The goals of our project are:

  • To collaborate with deaf/disabled artists in order to celebrate their creative practice and explore the role of artistic experimentation in contemporary arts and disability practice in Australia by inviting contributions and provocations from the artists themselves.
  • To co-design accessible strategies for collaboration and making art, for use by future artists, the disability community and cultural policymakers.
  • To increase critical recognition, employment and funding opportunities for artists.

Want to know more?

We would love to hear from you so if you have any questions please contact: 

Sarah Austin:, 04105953065

Kath Duncan:, 0437579279

Eddie Paterson:, 0383449727

PRIMARY A Vertical Housed CMYK

Image: Weave Movement Theatre, White Day Dream performance 2016. Photo by Paul Dunn.

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