Alter State 2024: Disability Arts Initiative targets First Nations artists and expands cultural footprint

Alter State 2024: Disability Arts Initiative targets First Nations artists and expands cultural footprint
Sean Car

In a groundbreaking move for disability arts, Alter State gears up for its 2024 edition with a focus on fostering connections with First Nations Deaf and Disabled artists.

The upcoming event promises exciting opportunities, including Expressions of Interest (EOI) submissions, immersive workshops, and a headline production featuring disabled artists at the forefront.

Jodee Mundy OAM, the creative lead for Alter State, shared the initiative's core mission, stating, "Our ambition is to alter the current state of the arts through creative intervention and increased investment in disability cultural leadership, promoting cultural equity and driving systemic change."

Having assumed the role of creative producer of access and inclusion at Arts Centre Melbourne in May 2023, Mundy was subsequently appointed as the creative lead for Alter State, solidifying her commitment to advancing disability arts initiatives.

"Our hopes for Alter State 2024 are to curate a program that challenges us all to envision ... how can we turn our Alter State aspirations into reality?" Mundy added.

"What will it take for us to evolve Alter State from a disability arts initiative into a prominent festival occurring every two years across Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Pacific, and how do we get there?"

Alter State made its grand entrance in 2022 through a collaboration between Arts Centre Melbourne and Arts Access Victoria. The inaugural edition, spearheaded by CEO and artistic director of Arts Access Victoria Caroline Bowditch, featured foundation artists Carly Findlay OAM, Joshua Pether, and Rodney Bell.

Following a Digital Launch in 2021, Alter State unfolded as a hybrid program from September to October 2022, capturing the attention of the arts community with its innovative approach.

Now entering its third year of a 10-year partnership, Jodee Mundy OAM aims to build upon the solid foundations laid by her predecessors.

"The intention for Alter State 2024 is to bring together D/deaf, disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill artists, along with the broader arts industry, through hybrid, accessible programming," Mundy said.

"We aim to explore our Disabled Futures collectively; to imagine how Alter State could look, feel, and sound now and beyond."

The event will also feature critical conversations for artists and arts professionals within the broader creative industries, coupled with a celebration of Arts Access Victoria's 50th birthday.

As Alter State continues to push boundaries, it signals a transformative journey toward a more inclusive and dynamic future for Disability-led arts initiatives, enriching the cultural landscape and creating new opportunities for Disabled artists globally.

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