IGNITE: Alternative Arts Academy

IGNITE: Alternative Arts Academy

A series of free programs that encourage and facilitate participation in the arts by people experiencing disability, including psychosocial disability. IGNITE: Alternative Arts 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.

Penny Pollard, Project Coordinator

Penny is Deaf, so contact her via email on ignite@belconnenartscentre.com.au or via text on 0406 921 304. To receive updates about the program, please register using the Expression of Interest form below.

If you participated in the IGNITE: Alternative Arts Academy 2017 program, you do not need to register, as you are already on the IGNITE mailing list.


IGNITE: Social participants in 2017.

IGNITE: Social

Day/time > Various

Dates advised by Project Coordinator

Structured around “get-togethers” at cultural sites around Canberra, IGNITE: Social introduces participants to the wealth of resources available to artists through national and local galleries, performance spaces and institutions. Through a sharing of experiences in a welcoming and supportive group environment, participants will grow in confidence and in their knowledge of the Canberra arts sector. IGNITE: Social welcomes artists with disabilities or lived experience of mental illness. Register interest by completing the EOI form below.

IGNITE Makers 2018

Left, image by IGNITE: Makers 2017 participant Keith Carfrae; Right, IGNITE: Makers in 2017.

IGNITE: Makers – Mural Project

Thursdays > 12:30pm – 2:30pm

Term 1 | 15 February – 12 April

IGNITE: Makers invites artists with disabilities to participate in a collaborative mural painting project led by Tess Horwitz. Experience working in a group and extend your painting practice, by participating in producing a series of three large scale artworks that will be displayed on Emu Bank. The mural takes its theme from a forthcoming building project and changes to Belconnen Arts Centre. Participants will be invited to imagine and depict the Arts Centre in the future, while being inspired by the possibilities of the arts events, exhibitions, activities and performances that will be generated and hosted.

Tess Horwitz is a highly experienced public and community artist with works in public and private collections in the ACT, as well as nationally and overseas. She is employed as a sessional lecturer at CIT and at the ANU School of Art, and she is on-call as an arts educator at the National Gallery of Australia.

IGNITE Makers Installation

Installation Making Faces by former IGNITE: Alternative Arts Academy artist Penny Pollard.

IGNITE: Makers – Installation

Thursdays > 12:30pm – 2:30pm

Term 2 | 10 May – 14 June

Installation artist Meredith Hughes provides an amazing opportunity to extend your art skills using found images and textures to create wall-based installations. Inspired by the French Surrealists, contemporary installation practice and artistic traditions that use recycled materials, this workshop series will take you on a journey of visual arts experimentation and learning. Workshops are welcoming and open to artists with disabilities or lived experience of mental illness and their carers if required. Places are limited; register interest by using the EOI form below.

IGNITE Makers Functional Ceramics

IGNITE: Alternative Arts Academy participants in 2017.

IGNITE: Makers – Functional Ceramics

Thursdays > 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Term 3 | 2 August – 27 September

Presented at the Watson Arts Centre by the Canberra Potters Society and led by ceramic artist and teacher Jo Townsend, this eight week course provides opportunities for beginners and the more experienced to hand-build, decorate and glaze functional ceramic pieces. All materials and firings are included. Artists with disabilities or lived experience of mental illness are invited to register interest in this free course using the EOI form below. Carers are welcome to attend if required. Places are limited.

IGNITE Connect Futures Megalo

IGNITE: Alternative Arts Academy participants at Megalo Screen Printing Studio in 2017.

IGNITE: Connect Futures – Megalo Screen Printing Studio

Tuesdays > 10:00am – 1:00pm

Dates to be advised

An advanced course in screen printing on fabric, this program is open to artists with disabilities who have screen printing experience or have already completed an introductory program at Megalo and are aiming to work independently at Megalo in the future. This 5 week course will revise screen preparation, work health safety and equipment use while providing opportunities to develop new skills in colour mixing and creating repeat pattern designs using multiple screens and colours. Places are limited.

IGNITE Connect Futures Glassworks

Art created at Canberra Glassworks by IGNITE: Alternative Arts Academy participants in 2017.

IGNITE: Connect Futures – Canberra Glassworks

Day/time > To be advised

Term 2 | 1 May – 3 July

Open to artists with disabilities who have already completed an introductory program with the Canberra Glassworks, this 10 week advanced course will revisit the techniques of casting, kiln forming and slumping. During this extended program, participants will be able to refine their skills and create more complex and accomplished work. Limited places only.

IGNITE Room to Move

IGNITE: Room to Move  Inclusive Dance Classes

Every 2nd Saturday > 2:30pm – 4:30pm

Term 2 | 19 May, 2 June, 16 June and 30 June

Please join us for our 2018 program, which will be another awesome opportunity to dance like there is no-one watching! You will enjoy a massively fun and sensational dance experience, at whatever level you are at, and will make a heap of new friends in the process. This program offers fortnightly inclusive dance and movement classes with a focus on improvisation, led by a variety of experienced tutors from different dance backgrounds.

The sessions are open to people young and young at heart, living with and without disability, at all levels of experience.  The classes aim to create a positive learning environment, rich with the creative possibilities each valued participant brings with them. People with disabilities are generally required to bring a carer with them, who is of course invited to join in the class too! Younger dancers are also welcome, provided they have a responsible adult with them.

IGNITE 7 Exhibitions

IGNITE: Alternative Arts Academy 2017 exhibition Mess, Struggle and Renewal.

IGNITE: 7 – Exhibitions

Open daily > 9:00am – 5:00pm

Closed public holidays

Established to profile and feature artwork by artists with disabilities and to provide experience to participants in preparing artwork for exhibition, the IGNITE: 7 shows change quarterly. IGNITE: 7 at NDIS Braddon presents shows by organisations and groups, while IGNITE: 7 at University of Canberra Conference Centre provides opportunities for artists to mount solo exhibitions.

NDIS Braddon
3 March – 8 June > Paintings on Paper and Canvas by artists from the Disability Trust
8 June – 14 September > New Works by Open Art participants, supported by Belconnen Community Services
14 September – 7 December > Collaborative works from Hands On Studio and Woden School
7 December – March 2019 > Drawings by members of the  L’Arche de Genereset community of Canberra

UC Conference Centre
8 March – 8 June > Untitled, Watercolour Paintings on Paper, Painting with Parkinson’s
8 June – 14 September > TBC
14 September – 7 December > Drawings by members of the L’Arche de Genereset community of Canberra
7 December – March 2019 > New works by Vijaya Sen, supported by Hands On Studio

Expression of Interest Form

Name * Phone number * Email * Age 18-2425-3435-4445-5455-6465+

Do you identify as living with disability, including psychosocial disability? *
We would like to make the program as accessible as possible to our participants. Please provide any information relevant to your disability or impairment that would assist us in this.

Will you have a carer attend IGNITE activities with you?
Name of carer Carer organisation (if applicable) Carer phone number Carer email

Do you identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander?

AboriginalTorres Strait IslanderBothNeither

Do you identify as being from a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse background?

Are there themes that you would like to explore when making art? If so, what are they?
How did you hear about IGNITE: Alternative Arts Academy?
Do you have any further comments or queries?