19 April 2021

Photo of artist performing at the Mandja stage at Fairbridge Festival. Source: Fairbridge Festival website

APM Communities worked alongside the Fremantle Community Men’s Shed, Fairbridge Festival and Spectrum Space to build accessibility and inclusion at the Fairbridge Festival that was held over the weekend of 9 - 11 April 2021.

The Fairbridge Festival has been an iconic event in Western Australian event since its inception in 1992. Nestled just over an hour from Perth’s CBD east of Mandurah, the stunning Pinjarra countryside provides a stunning backdrop for an immersive weekend.

The weekend’s lineup includes performers, artists and musicians, everything from comedy, music, theatre, dance and jam sessions.

This family friendly event also includes free workshops, local produce and market stalls, catering to “everyone from 1 year old up to 100 years old!”

This year marked the launch of a new venue, the Wandju Quiet Space and an Access & Inclusion Guide were added to the festival website and in the printed program.

Fairbridge Festival prides itself on catering to the needs of the whole community and allows anyone and everyone to enjoy this remarkable cultural experience.

Stuart MacLeod, General Manager of the Fairbridge Festival has thrown his support behind these accessible initiatives:

“We view the festival as a safe, accessible space and are always working to improve the experience and this year we’re excited about a few new initiatives that increase the accessibility of the program and the site, highlighting the great things we’ve always been doing that maybe we’ve been a bit quiet about” he said.

“The Access & Inclusion Guide and a sensory map send a very clear message to the community that we are welcoming people who have a disability to Fairbridge Festival.”

The program offers something for everyone, and sometimes all the happenings and sensory experience of the Festival environment can be a little overwhelming, leading to the creation of the Wandju Quiet Space.

'Wandju' literally means Welcome in Noongar language. This new space was designed to be a welcoming place of rest where quietude prevails.

A place where anyone with sensory challenges could retreat to and find some quiet time within the hustle and bustle of the festival.

The centrepiece of the Wandju Quiet Space was a hand built sensory wall-scape co-designed and created in collaboration with the Fremantle Community Men’s Shed, members of Spectrum Space and artist Blake Poole.

Image of the tactile display depicting a giant fly with textured mesh over its eyes, surrounded by zips


A pair of images showing people touching some to the tactile, textured element of the art installation

The wall-scape offered a range of different tactile and visual experiences for people to lose themselves.

Other sensory fidgets and tactile play objects were also provided by the Learning Pod, who are experienced facilitators working with people with autism and other sensory challenges.

More details about the Fairbridge Festival can be found on the festival website.

As part of the NDIS Partners in the Community program, APM Communities help people with disability in several regions in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory to access support.


Natalie Woodbridge

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