From the Wimmera Mail Times:
ORGANISERS of the 2008 Awakenings Festival have called the event a huge success.
The annual 10-day event held in Horsham is Australia’s only regional disability arts festival.
Awakenings Festival director Jacinda O’Sullivan said this year’s event was about diversity rather than just disability.
“The personal highlight for me this year was the introduction of the group Autism South Australia which gave the festival a different angle. It means the festival is emerging more into a celebration of diversity and not just disability,” she said.
“The group was made up of about 30 members with aspergers and autism who offered us brilliant insight and supported the festival in every component, through their attendance as well as engagement in the event.
“It was wonderful to have that different perspective.”
Ms O’Sullivan said her first year as festival director was a positive challenge.
“Of course it was a challenge but ultimately that has now put me in a better position to further develop the festival,” she said.
“We want to see it go from strength to strength.
“Disability arts will get a lot bigger in the future, I think, and Awakenings is in a position to lead the way.
“We need to be on the cutting edge and the feedback that we got for the festival tells us that we are taking it forward.”
Ms O’Sullivan said the help of volunteers was a big factor in the festival’s success.
“We have to thank all the festival supporters like businesses and the council as well as the hundreds of volunteers,” she said.
“Whether big or small, their support hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“We would like to take all the best things from this year and build on from there in 2009.”