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Rewriting the Score
4 Mar 2012
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This project involved the coming together of 13 professional Australian musicians, 8 of whom are living with a mild to moderate (physical and/or intellectual) disability, for a 6-day creative residency in late November 2011 at the Orange Regional Conservatorium (NSW). The musicians living with a disability were recruited through a partnership with Accessible Arts NSW - utilising national arts and disability sector networks to call for expressions of interest from qualifying artists, with the final selection criterion being a balance of instruments (including voice). The 5 professional musicians not living with a disability were chosen from the region, with reference to specific skills. Participants travelled from Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, Northern NSW, Riverina, the Blue Mountains  and Sydney, representing musical genres ranging from Jazz, Rock, Folk, Pop, Gypsy, Classical and Electronic through to indigenous Australian and Indian influences. The project comprised: a 6-day compositional residency, culminating in a two-hour public performance of original material conceived collaboratively during the week; a live recording of the concert; and the production of an audio documentary in 5, 1 hour episodes - documenting all stages of the project, from introductions through to farewells. 

The aims of the project were:

1. to provide an  opportunity for members of a sector recognised as insufficiently catered for in terms of professional practice

2. to add to the body of evidence, for the purpose of advocacy, concerning the value, potential and practicability of the employment of musicians living with a disability.

3. to broaden the perceptions of the general, and professional-musician, communities in relation to professional arts practice involving musicians living with disabilities.

The project was received well by the participants, with a limited, though overwhelmingly receptive,  audience attending the final concert.

Participants all expressed their feeling that the opportunity to create, without disability being perceived as a significant limiting factor, was an unusual, empowering, and highly desirable one.

All participants, and the support persons accompanying 5 of the participants, expressed a keen interest in recreating either whole or part of the project at some time in the future; and maintaining the links, personal and professional, established during the residency. 


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