IGNITE: Alternative Arts Academy is a series of programs that encourages and facilitates participation in the arts for people experiencing disability, including psychosocial disability.

The Academy provides opportunities for all levels of experience, from entry level to those wishing to transcend into the mainstream arts sector. It’s a program for the hobbyist who likes to participate because it’s fun through to the professional practitioner.


IGNITE: Makers

IGNITE: Makers is a weekly program for participants seeking to establish or develop an arts practice in a range of visual arts. The program provides intensive professional arts development designed in support of, and in response to, the needs of individual participants. Participants will work with professional practitioners to develop their repertoire of skills and experience, and build their confidence towards a sustainable creative practice.

Day & Time > Thursday afternoons, 12:30-2:30pm

Location > Belconnen Arts Centre

Cost > Free


Term 1

Painting Still Life, with Naomi Zouwer

Students will be immersed in the world of still life and explore the meanings of objects as a part of the process of learning some classical painting skills.  Working with personal objects, students will create a still life painting, from the planning stages through to the finished work.

Dates > 4 weeks – 9th, 16th, 23rd Mar and 6th Apr


Naomi Zouwer is a cross-disciplinary artist who works with drawing, painting, and textiles mediums to make works that engage with ideas of identity, cultural heritage and the social role of domestic objects. Naomi is a passionate arts educator and is the Director of The Creative Practise.


Term 2

Natural Dying and Sculpture with Textiles, with Barbara Mickelson

In this course we will be exploring many and varied textile techniques. We will use both natural and synthetic materials and combine them with both natural and chemical dying. We will then apply fabric manipulation to further explore the use of our resulting textiles. This can take many forms such as clothing, art works, sculpture, mixed media collage, accessories and headwear.

Dates > 8 weeks – 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th May and 1st, 15th, 22nd, 29th June


Barb Mickelson has always been a maker, student and teacher. Her current work in creative headwear, clothing and accessories reflects years of exploring the textile arts in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. After studying Fashion at Reid CIT and attaining a BA in Design in 2005 she returned the following year to teach creative headwear and textiles. She is currently re-exploring eco dying, rusting and screen printing inspired by the natural beauty of her home and studio in the bush.


Term 3

Sculptural Upcycling, with Mariana Del Castillo

Participants will be encouraged to use found and recycled materials to create wall constructions by attaching objects on a flat surface. This type of art-making can be playful and spontaneous, allowing participants to explore the joy and serendipity of bringing two disparate objects together to create new narratives and compositions.

Dates > 7 weeks – 27th July, 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st Aug and 7th Sept


Mariana del Castillo is a professional practicing artist who is passionate about using visual arts as a therapeutic tool to building resilience and wellbeing across the whole community. Mariana has worked with people from varying and diverse backgrounds and across a wide variety of mediums. Her commitment to using recycled and upcycled materials is at the core of her art practice and facilitated workshops.


IGNITE: Connect

IGNITE: Connect is a hands on experience where participants will engage with a suite of learning opportunities in a range of art forms across Canberra.

Supported by Adult and Community Education ACT Government

Day & Time > Tues or Wed afternoons

Location > Onsite at relevant art facility, see below

Cost > Free


Term 1

Canberra Glassworks – Series #1

Dates > 21st, 28th Mar & 4th Apr

Location > Canberra Glassworks, Kingston

In this 3 session workshop, students will explore relief casting, basic kiln forming, and cold working techniques to create 3 finished works.  Students will learn to work with clay to produce a 3 dimensional object, and learn how to cut and assemble glass to create a glass postcard and glass panel, all under the direction of a professional glass artist.

Check out Canberra Glassworks here.


Term 2

IGNITE Voices Out Loud Inclusive Choir with the Young Music Society

Dates > 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th May and 6th, 13th, 20th June

Time > 1:30 – 3pm

Location > Belconnen Arts Centre

Singing is fun, expressive and invigorating! Share in the joy of singing in a safe and friendly environment led by one of Canberra’s most respected and loved performers, Chrissie Shaw. Join together to discover music from the classics, the stage, and around the world in a relaxed, fun way.

Similar to IGNITE’s Room to Move dance workshops, these sessions are open to people living with and without disability. These sessions aim to create a positive learning environment rich with the creative possibilities each valued participant brings with them. For all abilities and levels of experience, with a focus on inclusion!

All participants must register for this choir – scroll down for the registration form!

Check out more general info about Young Music Society here.

About Chrissie

Chrissie Shaw is a highly-awarded Canberra-based actor and musician. She has been directing choirs in Canberra since 1993 including The Cyrenes and Heart of the Hospital Choir (Canberra Hospital). Chrissie has studied Piano, Theory and Musical Perception extensively. Her performing career began in Sydney in the 1960s as a folksinger, and actor. In the ’70s and ’80s she toured Australia extensively in a children’s theatre company, and came to Canberra in 1986 in a successful theatre production. A recent work of Chrissie’s was Bijou – A cabaret of secrets and seduction which premiered in 2013 at The Street Theatre ACT to full houses and to critical acclaim, and since toured to regional NSW, Sydney and Melbourne.


PhotoAccess with Sean Davey

Dates > 3rd, 10th, 17th 24th May

Location > PhotoAccess at Manuka Arts Centre, Griffith

Sean Davey will present a four week photography workshop that will engage and inspire participants with digital photography. With a focused and outcome-driven program, participants will learn about photographic history and techniques, whilst being encouraged to find and develop their own unique style of making photographs.

About Sean

Sean Davey is a freelance documentary photographer and is also the founding director and exhibiting photographer at The Photography Room gallery in Kingston. Sean’s photographs are held in the collections of the Museum of Australian Democracy, the National Library of Australia, the State Library of NSW and the Monash Gallery of Art. The National Gallery of Australia acquired Sean’s self-published book Dog Food & Oysters in 2013 and Sean was recently awarded Highly Commended in the 2016 National Photographic Portrait Prize, which is currently touring around Australia.

Checkout Sean’s website here

Checkout PhotoAccess here


ACT Writers Centre with Sarah St Vincent Welch

Dates > 31st May, 7th, 14th, 21st June

Location > Gorman Arts Centre, Braddon

Sarah St Vincent Welch’s workshops are playful, inviting and supportive, and are designed to provide opportunities for telling stories. Join her for a series of four workshops that will stimulate and surprise while helping participants to create new work and develop strategies for future writing. 

About Sarah

Sarah St Vincent Welch is a poet and short story writer who facilitates creative writing in the Canberra community. She received a citation from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council for her contribution to student learning as a university tutor in 2011, and she has supported a wide range of Canberrans over the last twenty-five years with their creative and professional writing. Her chapbook of poems ‘Open’ is being published by Rochford St Press in 2017.

Check out ACT Writers Centre here


Term 3

Warehouse Circus

Dates > 19th, 26th July and 2nd Aug

Location > Warehouse Circus, Chifley Health & Wellbeing Club

Warehouse Circus delivers uniquely adapted circus programs for young people and adults who identify as living with physical or mental disabilities. Our programs are presented with a focus on engagement and participation, aiming to encourage and challenge each participant to achieve a physical outcome that seems just out of reach.

Participants will be introduced to a range of juggling and manipulation disciplines as well as acrobatic and balancing challenges such as beam or slackline walking, trampoline and aerial tissu or trapeze. Our friendly coaches are able to find an appropriate level of difficulty for any participant, altering an activity as necessary so that everyone can take part.

Check out Warehouse Circus here


Canberra Glassworks – Series #2

Dates> 15th, 22nd, 29th Aug

Location > Canberra Glassworks, Kingston

In this 3 session workshop, students will build on skills gained in the first workshop. Students will learn lost wax casting techniques, further their cold working skills, and create a slumped plate using kiln forming techniques. At the end of this workshop series, students will have worked with a professional teaching artist to have created 2 finished objects.

Check out Canberra Glassworks here


Term 4

Megalo Print Studio

Dates > 18th, 25th Oct and 1st Nov

Location > Megalo Print Studio & Gallery, Kingston

Students will design and print their own t-shirt or tea towel with one of Megalo’s experienced printmakers. Using photographic stencil processes, students will create their own unique fabric prints onto their own cotton t-shirt or linen tea towel. They will have an opportunity to use our fully equipped printmaking studios and gain experience of printing on our large fabric table.

Check out Megalo Print Studio here

IGNITE: Social

IGNITE: Social is focused on social and creative engagement off site. Participants will share in new experiences and understanding of the arts sector through a curated program of supported forums and visits to the suite of National institutions, private gallery exhibitions, live theatre, film and music.

Day, Time & Location > Variable

Cost > Variable (frequently free)

IGNITE: Open Studio

IGNITE: Open Studio provides access to studio space for artists to continue working on their projects.  The aim of Open Studio is to support the independent practice of participating artists and does not have any facilitated studio support.

Limited sessions are available for bookings through the BAC Front of House.  You will need to notify at the time of booking whether you require the solo use of the workshop or are happy for others to join you at your allocated time.

Time & Day > Regular group session in Term 1, Fridays 1-3pm. Otherwise flexible depending on availability.

Cost > Free

IGNITE: Room To Move – Inclusive Dance Workshops

Experience the freedom and joy of dance and improvisation in a welcoming and supportive environment. Fortnightly inclusive dance and movement classes with a focus on improvisational movement, led by a variety of skilled and experienced tutors. The sessions are open to people living with and without disability. These sessions aim to create a positive learning environment rich with the creative possibilities each valued participant brings with them. For all abilities and levels of experiences!

Classes List Click here

Cost > Free

Location > Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen, ACT


IGNITE: 7 is an exhibition collaboration with NDIA Trial Site in their public foyer. BAC curates IGNITE 7, an annual exhibition program with four seasons, commencing in September 2015.  This program provides a platform for artists to be promoted and profiled.

Click here to read more about the NDIA partnership with Belconnen Arts Centre.

For more information about IGNITE please contact:

Amie Illfield – ignite@belconnenartscentre.com.au

If you are interested in participating in IGNITE 2017 programs, please complete the form below. If it is your first time to connect with IGNITE, Amie will be in touch to arrange a meeting with you.

IGNITE workshops have limited numbers due to facility and tutor capacity. Participants needs to be available for ALL workshops in a given series to enroll in it. Amie will be in touch with you once enrolments have been processed and positions allocated. This will occur on a term-by-term basis.

Please get in touch if you require assistance with completing the online form.


IGNITE Expression of Interest Form


Ignite MakersIgnite ConnectIgnite SocialIgnite Open StudioIgnite Room to Move

Term 1 - Painting Still Life
Term 2 - Natural Dying and Sculpture with Textiles
Term 3 - Sculptural Upcycling

Canberra Glassworks - Series #1
Singout with Young Music Society
PhotoAccess with Sean Davey
ACT Writers Centre
Warehouse Circus
Canberra Glassworks – Series #2
Megalo Print Studio


AboriginalTorres Strait IslanderBothNeither