08/07/2010 - 00:00

Rio, DADAA alliance adds value

08/07/2010 - 00:00

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A unique Western Australian arts organisation, Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts (DADAA), has this week launched a new website to share its knowledge base with others operating in the sector.

A unique Western Australian arts organisation, Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts (DADAA), has this week launched a new website to share its knowledge base with others operating in the sector.

DADAA has partnered with Rio Tinto for nine years, working to broaden the cultural landscape of WA by linking local audiences to artists with a disability.

“When a lot of us started in this sector that crosses arts, community, cultural development and health there was very little literature around, there was very little evidence and it was a real slog,” DADAA executive director David Doyle said.

“As organisations like ours have grown to be pretty significant in scale, with that comes a responsibility to share the learning.”

DADAA was producing books to share its knowledge but decided to change its medium for Disseminate to the web after books became a limiting platform.

“We needed something to connect and particularly something for isolated practitioners to dump in to.”

The website, www.disseminate.net.au, will include academic papers, YouTube clips, communication links with communities and artists, blogs and practical information for organisations such as evaluation methods.

Rio has committed $512,000 to the Disseminate project from 2007 to 2012.

The mining giant’s Australian chief executive, Sam Walsh, said it is important for major operators like Rio to set a good example by supporting organisations such as DADAA.

“We are generally providing seed capital and because Rio gets involved, other people want to get involved,” he said.

“They see we have done the research and the homework and we have seen that it is a worthwhile value-adding project.”

“Our involvement with DADAA opens the door for others.”

“It’s obviously about adding value and contributing back in to the community. That’s an important element. It’s not flying our flag, getting all the credit. It’s very much working behind the scenes, trying to make things happen.

“We want to try and spread the word broadly across the community so others can see the value in a project like DADAA and support it,” Mr Walsh added.

Mr Doyle said gaining financial and business advisory support from Rio has been instrumental in DADAA’s success.

“A partner like Rio helps you get to that point where you can actually run your arts company like a business,” he said.

Rio invested heavily in Mr Doyle, sending him to take part in the Partnership Brokers Accreditation Scheme.

“That wasn’t about money, that was about investing in us as people and evening up the playing field,” Mr Doyle said.

“You can actually talk to each other as partners; you start to have really different conversations.”

For Rio, offering in-kind support is an important element of partnerships.

“It’s not just philanthropy – we are adding value in the process in one way or another.

“Whether it is helping with management systems or how to gain more value out of something, we want to be actively involved in things we support,” Mr Walsh said.

Mr Doyle said DADAA was living a project-to-project existence for years initially and it was dogged determination, the belief in the value of practice and demonstration of excellence in practice that garnered support from Rio.

“We have something that they don’t have and they have something that we don’t have.

“Collectively we can do some things that are great for the state,” Mr Doyle said.

 

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