1-11 August 2024  View all 2024 events

Radial, BLEACH* 2022 | Short dance film by Back to Back Theatre, Tralala Blip, Lauren Watson and Tara Sales


In late 2023 Placemakers* Gold Coast invited expressions of interest from d/Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent arts industry professionals, passionate about culture and place, to join the newly formed Disability Inclusion Reference Group. 

BLEACH and BIG CITY LIGHTS are committed to building workplaces, creative environments and audience experiences that support respectful, authentic, and inclusive representation of d/Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people and embedding these principles throughout the planning and delivery of both festivals.

BLEACH is one of Australia’s leading place-based contemporary arts festivals. The festival has played a pivotal role in terms of reinvigorating the cultural life of the Gold Coast and provided significant impact to and influence on the development of the arts and culture ecology in the south-east QLD region.

BIG CITY LIGHTS is South-East Queensland’s leading festival of urban and digital design, digital culture, music and light taking place during the Winter months. BLEACH and BIG CITY LIGHTS are part of the newly formed Experience Gold Coast.

Experience Gold Coast has brought together Destination Gold Coast, Major Events Gold Coast, Study Gold Coast, Placemakers, and HOTA, Home of the Arts under one entity. Our focus is on strengthening the Gold Coast’s position as Australia’s premier tourism destination, being a home of major events, a preferred place to study and delivering arts and cultural experiences.

Fletcher Babb

Fletch (aka Cold Ghost) is a singer, songwriter, sound designer and audio producer who lives, works and plays on the Gold Coast. His latest album, Red Gold is the product of an 8-month residency as part of HOTA’s ArtKeeper program and blends folk styled songwriting with field recordings and audio samples taken from the waterways of the Gold Coast. His previous albums Bachelor Tapes and Dominoes were both finalists for Release of the Year in the Gold Coast Music Awards.

Fletch is the creator, curator and composer of the successful stage show Stories in the Key of GC, marrying spoken word with music and sound to explore rich local narratives of the city of the Gold Coast. He recently had the opportunity to help design a national songwriting program for d/Deaf and disabled songwriters through APRA and Access Arts.

Catherine Cunningham

Cathy is the founder and President of Adaptive Sport, Recreation and Performing Arts, a not-for-profit providing accessible and inclusive pathways for people living with visual and non-visual disabilities, neurodiversity and other conditions or illnesses.

A former competitive gymnast, dancer and circus performer, she has worked professionally as a circus artist and trainer, eventually owning her own training studios for young circus artists.

She is passionate about making all areas of the arts accessible for people living with disability, whilst breaking down ageism barriers for older performers and attendees.

Stephanie Dower

Stephanie works as a screen producer, writer, consultant, speaker, access coordinator across the arts and disability sectors. She is a member of Screen Queensland’s Equity and Diversity Taskforce as well as an appointed advisor to the Screen Producers’ Australia Council.

In 2021, she produced and edited the short film Sunshine, a project produced by Taste Creative and Bus Stop Films, funded through Screen Queensland’s RIDE Shorts program. The film had its global premiere at the Brisbane International Film Festival and later went on to screen at the Cleveland International Film Festival in the USA.

In addition to her work within the arts, Stephanie regularly co-hosts Attitude Foundation’s ReFramed Podcast and works as an advocate and consultant for QDN’s QDeNgage program and as an associate for Get Skilled Access.

James Kerwin

James is a Deaf actor and teacher born and raised on the Gold Coast. His acting credits include seasons with Australian Theatre of the Deaf and Mercury’s Wings Theatre Company, along with some film and tv credits.

In addition to his work as a teacher, James has worked as a Deaf Consultant for Auslan Stage Left, working on numerous theatrical performances.

James has written and published a few books, My Friend is Deaf and What Does It Mean?

Lisa McEwan

Lisa is an enthusiastic accessibility advocate and tourism industry professional who aspires to empower others with disability to live life to the fullest.

With a degree in International Business and a background in tourism marketing and development, she possesses over 40 years of lived experience in the trials and triumphs of living, travelling and working with extremely limited vision, which has equipped her to offer real-life insight into the needs of people who are blind or have low vision.

She is committed to using her professional and personal experience to deliver tourism content that is both engaging and accessible. She loves arts and cultural events and strives to break down barriers to accessibility and promote a culture of inclusion, in both personal and professional spheres.

Samantha Townsend

Sam is an innovative town planner with a passion for creating urban environments which celebrate diversity and ensure accessibility. Sam combines technical expertise with a unique worldview, shaped by a touch of neurodiversity, to reimagine public spaces.

Their approach to planning goes beyond functionality; it's about crafting spaces which invite community interaction and cater to a variety of needs, championing inclusivity in every aspect of design.

An avid photographer, Sam uses their lens to capture the often-overlooked details of city life, bringing a fresh perspective to the drawing board. They advocate for cities to mirror the rich tapestry of human experience, ensuring their work always aligns with the ethos that well-designed spaces are the cornerstone of diverse and thriving communities.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the Yugambeh Language Region and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People of the Gold Coast. We recognise their continuing connection and contributions to country and culture. We pay respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.