Screen Australia launches training program for new below-the-line role

An Access Coordinator helps facilitate adjustments for deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent talent

By Gabriella Geisinger 26 Jul 2023

Screen Australia launches training program for new below-the-line role
Filmmakers; Cr: Stephane YAICH

Screen Australia has launched an 'Access Coordinator' Training Program for up to a dozen people in the newly developed production role.

The Access Coordinator works with film and television productions to bring expert knowledge and experience in facilitating required adjustments and access provisions for Deaf/Disabled or Neurodivergent (DDN) talent in front of and behind the camera. 

They ensure that these adjustments are implemented and play a vital part in increasing and sustaining ongoing inclusion of DDN talent and crew in the screen industries.

UK inclusion consultancy program Bridge06 will deliver the training in partnership with the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), Screen Canberra, Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, Screen Tasmania, Screen Territory, Screenwest, the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), VicScreen and the Australian Film Television Radio School (AFTRS).

The program has been introduced to address the under-representation, support an increase of disability representation across the Australian screen industry and guide the sector to become more inclusive and confident in providing access for people with disabilities.

A report from Screen Australia, titled Seeing Ourselves 2: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Australian TV Drama, found that while 18% of the Australian population identified as having a disability, only 6.6% of main characters represented disability in TV drama.

This means that disability remains very much under-represented and signals more work needs to be done to ensure more people living with disability are reflected on screen.

Sara Johnson and Julie Fernandez from Bridge06 train and represent Access Coordinators in the UK and carried out the first formalised training for the role in 2021, funded by British training body ScreenSkills.

"This new program is an important step in meeting the increasing need and demand for inclusive jobs and content that speaks to and represents all Australians," said Screen Australia Head of Industry Development Ken Crouch in a statement on the Screen Australia website. 

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