Sector Development

Through existing relationships, networks and supports, Octapod strengthens the sustainability and inclusive capacity of artists and arts organisations in Newcastle and the Hunter region. Through our community programming we reach people who are not currently engaged in the arts, and actively develop frameworks to support arts access and inclusion by people from diverse communities.

Octapod has identified the need for greater support for Hunter region people with disability to engage with the arts, and greater support for local artists and arts organisations to be inclusive. We work in collaboration with community partners to increase arts and cultural participation for diverse communities. The joint expertise, local knowledge and commitment to social inclusion facilitates pathways into and opportunities within the arts and cultural environments.

Partnering with major community stakeholders such as Ability Links throughout 2015-18 provides opportunities for a far greater number of people to access the arts and a far deeper engagement in the cultural environment. Contact us to discuss how you can partner with Octapod.

Smart Arts
Smart Arts is a series of events supporting the creative industries in Newcastle to be innovative, sustainable and inclusive. The series aims to provide business and professional skills development as well as networking and collaboration opportunities for the Hunter region’s emerging and established artists, creative practitioners, arts and cultural professionals, managers and leaders.

Octapod and The Business Centre work with local Councils to facilitate Smart Arts Professional Development Packages for local government areas in the Lower Hunter region. Contact us to discuss how you can partner with Octapod.


Access and Inclusion Appraisal and Advisory Service
This initiative for small arts groups, individual artists and arts organisations supports inclusive thinking, programming and operating.

Advocacy and Partnerships
Being based in one of the launch sites of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Octapod has been in a unique position to work with key stakeholders to support arts and cultural participation by people with disability.

In 2012/2013 Octapod worked in partnership with Accessible Arts and The City of Newcastle to facilitate dialogue between the arts and disability communities prior to the launch of the NDIS in Newcastle in mid 2013. Since then, Octapod has led the local creative sector towards socially inclusive arts practices by developing new models for people with disability to engage in the arts as participants, audiences, creators and leaders.


NDIS and the Arts National Working Group
Octapod is an active member of this national working group established in 2014 by Arts Access Australia to focus on the roll out of the NDIS, and what this means in terms of arts and cultural access for people with disability.

Based in one of the NDIS launch sites, Octapod contributes information and case studies which provide unique and relevant feedback on the impact of the NDIS on participation in the arts by people with disability.  

The objectives of the working group are:
– to understand the processes that artists with disability go through in becoming participants in the NDIS
– to work with local organisations to understand the supports being provided to artists with disability in current trial sites, and the ways in which those supports are being used
– to monitor outcomes for artists with disability and gather data to ensure that the planning process is working effectively
– to formulate a national coordinated strategy to support participation in the arts through the NDIS, and
– to develop and promote localised sector initiatives around arts and cultural activity, to facilitate participation by artists with disability in their local communities.

Do you have an experience of the NDIS and the arts in Newcastle that might inform national arts and disability policy making in the future? Contact us to give your feedback.



Arts Activated Conference (2014)

The Concourse Chatswood

Octapod presented ‘Creative Access in Newcastle’, describing the development of Octapod’s Creative Access Program, and showcased innovation in inclusive arts practice by Newcastle’s creative community.


Community Forums
Octapod works with partners to deliver forums across the Lower Hunter (and beyond) that explore issues around participation in the arts by people with disability in their local communities. Contact us to discuss how we can work together.

Previous Forums:

Maitland Arts Access and Inclusion Forum (9 May 2016)  

Maitland Regional Art Gallery

Octapod presented a free forum on 9 May that brought together the arts and disability communities of Maitland to discuss access and inclusion in the arts within the context of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Delivered in partnership with Accessible Arts, Ability Links NSW and Maitland Regional Art Gallery.


Port Stephens Arts Access and Inclusion Forum (8 April 2016)

Raymond Terrace Senior Citizens Hall

Octapod presented a free forum on 8 April that brought together the arts and disability communities of Port Stephens to discuss access and inclusion in the arts within the context of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Delivered in partnership with Port Stephens Council, Accessible Arts and Ability Links NSW.


Community Deaf Arts Forum
(7 December 2015)

Newcastle Community Arts Centre

Accessible Arts, Octapod and Newcastle Community Art Centre presented a Community Deaf Arts Forum that provided the opportunity for members of the Deaf/hard of hearing community to discuss opportunities to engage with the arts community in the Newcastle/Hunter region.


Lake Macquarie Arts and Disability Programming Forum (March 2015)

Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery

Octapod presented about its Creative Access Program and co-facilitated a Cultural Mapping Workshop with local arts and disability sector participants around the person centred approach of the NDIS.


NDIS: Arts and the Individual (February 2013)

Newcastle Museum

Octapod partnered with Accessible Arts and the City of Newcastle to deliver a Community Forum prior to the launch of the NDIS in Newcastle. Facilitated discussion included exploration around the potential impact of the NDIS on artists with disability.


Let us know what we are doing right and what we could do better.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or suggestions regarding accessibility and inclusion of Octapod’s programs.