Access All Areas

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Celebrating the intersectionalities between queerness and disabilities

Midsumma Festival presents the Access All Areas workshop as part of its keynote AND/OR program. Join a panel of indomitable creatives and individuals from varying queerness’ and disabilities, exploring the themes, stories, and intricacies of life with their identities and abilities. The intimate relationships between one’s queerness and disability are not often featured in the limelight, this workshop brings these themes to the forefront.

Facilitated by the inspiring CEO of Arts Access Victoria, Caroline Bowditch and a panel of exceptional artists; Irene Zhong, Jax Jacki Brown, Sam Martin and Gemma Mahadeo of The Disabled QBIPOC Collective. This discussion will create a platform led by queer artists living with disabilities to offer information, tools and tactics to help coach other queer artists with disabilities.

Be encouraged to take on creative opportunities, build confidence and pride in one's queerness and lived disabilities. Resonate authentically within the wider queer community. Be inspired by these artists to create and express yourself in ways that challenge and deconstruct artistic practice that is a constantly evolving demonstration of what disabled art looks like - not explicitly tied to disability and queerness, but informed and strengthened by it.

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After 16 years living and working in the UK, Caroline returned to Australia in July 2018 to take up the role as CEO/Artistic Director at Arts Access Victoria. She is best known as a performer, maker, teacher, speaker and mosquito buzzing in the ears of the arts industry in the UK and further afield. Caroline is a regular consultant on access and inclusion internationally, and has also led international residencies in Sweden, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. She is regularly invited to mentor local, national and international artists at all levels of their artistic development. With the support of the Australia Council for the Arts, Caroline took part in the prestigious CEO Leadership course at Harvard Business School in 2019-2020.


Irene Zhong mythologises how we relate to each other and the ever-changing world. They inhabit a delicate, chamber folk sound-world that draws on Hakka-Chinese melodies and western art music. 

Irene took part in Arts Access Victoria’s Music Makers Mentorship program under the guidance of Parvyn. Irene was shortlisted for Music Victoria’s Amplify award (2021).

Irene is the composer of the Shale Project, a fantasy worldbuilding initiative spearheaded by Sienna Tristen and Avi Silver.

Right now, Irene is working with Nicholas Grey as dream-pop duo Between Mirrors. Their first EP, Blue Dreams, will be released in early 2022.



Gemma Mahadeo (they/them) came to Australia in 1987, and is based in Naarm/Melbourne. They are a writer, occasional musician, and a founding member of the Disabled QBIPOC Collective. You can find them on Twitter at @snarkattack and on Instagram at @eatdrinkstagger where they obsess about words, music, beer, tea, and most importantly, cats.








Jax Jacki Brown (they/them) is an LGBTIQA+ disability rights educator, writer, and speaker. Jax runs their own business in LGBTIQA+ disability rights and inclusion where they provide guest speaking, education, workshops and training. Jax has worked as a producer of Quippings: Disability Unleashed a performance troupe which stages entertaining and provocative work by disabled folks. They are interested in how we can build resilience, pride and community for LGBTIQA+ disabled people and are passionate about intersectional equality.






Sam Martin, (He/Him) is a Deaf and Queer creative Producer and Director. He is passionate about creating diversity, inclusion and pride, especially within the Deaf Queer community. Through his storytelling, Sam focuses on exploring ideas of inclusivity, the many facets of identities, navigating English and Auslan, and empowering and encouraging Deaf, disabled and Queer communities.

Event & ticketing details

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Assistive Listening
Wheelchair Access

Dates & Times

WHEN Sat 12 Feb 12:30pm


FULL $14.00
CONC $10.00
STREAM $10.00


Fringe Common Rooms

Cnr Victoria and Lygon St, Carlton

Get directions


Melbourne Central


Any Swanston St tram to stop 7 | tram 30, 35 to stop 7

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