Studio A is a supported studio in Sydney, which provides professional pathways and career development for artists with intellectual disabilities.
These artists experience the world differently, and their art is a vehicle to communicate with the mainstream while simultaneously challenging expectations of people with disability.
In ‘Studio A,’ a six-part mini-documentary series, we meet six of these artists and explore their practice and what inspires it. We will explore key themes that are important to any artists’ life, and how they uniquely affect artists with intellectual disability - including self-determination, economic independence, romance, imagination, reputation, and belonging. Each episode will focus on one of the artists and have a narrative arc pinned to a significant career milestone they are working towards.
This project has been selected for the Screen Australia x ABC Art Bites initiative, intended for early career documentary filmmakers and will air in April 2019.
It was only thirty years ago that government policy saw people with intellectual disability institutionalised and forgotten about, and a stigma remains that they are not able to contribute in a real and meaningful sense to the broader community.
But Studio A is not a charity or community initiative – it’s a sustainable enterprise, whose objective is to develop and represent professional, income-generating artists and inject the revenue back into their development. Using their lived experience as inspiration rather than limitation, the artists of Studio A are breaking down the cultural mould of the art world that has traditionally excluded artists with disabilities. The artists are carving their own avenues for economic independence and reputation while providing a portal for mainstream audiences to glimpse into the lives of an often underrepresented group.
Through this production, we hope to celebrate these artists and enlarge their viewership.
Aims & Objectives
The objective of the series is to de-stigmatise intellectual disability, and the fear that often comes with the unknown.
The series has been commissioned as part of Art Bites, a Screen Australia and ABC initiative for early career filmmakers. It will air on iView in April 2019. They are designed to be short, sharp documentaries to reach a wide audience in a time-poor generation.
Ultimately, we intend to increase these artists public profiles while also increase awareness about intellectual disability more broadly.
Like the recent success of Employable Me and You Can't Ask That, the series will have a strong social media campaign that will direct audiences to the films. They are designed to be short, sharp documentaries and intend to reach a younger audience through this. We will also be developing an education tool kit and ATOM Study Guide to accompany the series.