Melbourne Fringe provides a platform for those on the margins of our society. Drawing people in from the fringes and inviting them to the floor to do just about everything imaginable (and sometimes unimaginable). Through a range of programs and initiatives, we continue our commitment to reducing barriers to access, championing ethics and pushing for diversity and cultural equity in the arts.
While we know paperwork isn’t the most glamourous parts of the arts, we recognise that actionable, accountable policies are needed to push things forward. That’s why we’ve created three comprehensive documents – our Equity Action Plan, our Deaf and Disability Inclusion Action Plan and our Reconciliation Action Plan – to provide a framework for us to continue strive for equity in the arts. What does that mean? Over the next five years, we’ll work hard to improve the representation and the cultural safety of people in our communities of focus – First Nations, Deaf and disabled people, people of colour, women and non-binary people, and the LGBTQIA+ communities.
Melbourne Fringe’s vision for reconciliation is a future where all Australians recognise and value First Nations cultures as one of the oldest continuing cultures in the world. A future where we take ownership of our shared histories and advocate for justice and equity for all Australians.
The organisation is currently developing an Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), scheduled to be completed in 2022.
The aim of the RAP is to build on the organisation’s achievements to date, with a working group including First Nations and non-First Nations staff meeting regularly and engaging with our stakeholders and partners.
The RAP reflects our dedication to systemic change through measurable actions that prioritise opportunities, build respect and deepen relationships with First Nations Peoples.
After the success of our ambitious three-year Access and Inclusion Strategy, from 2021 we’re making big, bold moves on our journey towards Radical Access.
Radical Access, in partnership with Arts Access Victoria, works to realise best practice in Deaf and disability access in the independent arts. It’s a program that is, well, radical. The program raises the visibility of Deaf and disabled artists and places the concept of aesthetic access right at the heart of the creative process. It removes barriers to access and creates space for Deaf
and disabled artists to explore big ideas and create ambitious works as central to our artistic culture. You know, the way it should be. Radical Access will launch soon, and we can’t wait.
Radical Access has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
We work hard to make our own events as accessible as possible and educate independent artists around accessibility.
Fringe Common Rooms is a space for everyone. Our venue is fully wheelchair accessible for artists and audiences.
We have developed an Action Plan to create a more accessible and inclusive Melbourne Fringe for audiences, staff and artists.
Our Equity Action Plan has been developed as part of the Fair Play program run by Diversity Arts Australia, with an aim to improve the representation, visibility and cultural safety of our communities of focus.
Melbourne Fringe does not assess or control our open access program. Participation in Melbourne Fringe’s programs is guided by two key principles: Freedom of Expression and Ensuring Community Safety.
Our game changing First Nations commissioning and support program, committed to centring First Nations voices and perspectives and offering financial backing to artists.
Melbourne Fringe has robust policies around Discrimination, Harassment, Bullying, Child Safety and OH&S which apply to all employees, contractors, participants and volunteers.
This report from Patternmakers details our work over the past few years and includes recommendations for how artists and organisations can work towards making the arts more inclusive and accessible.