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Julia Hales: You know We Belong Together

Dec 29, 2018

The arts are vital expressions of human experience, and individual artists are the heart of Australia’s cultural life. Artists connect us with ideas, emotions and stories, and spark imagination, creativity and joy. More than three in four Australians agree that artists make an important contribution to Australian society1.

Julia Hales performing in You Know We Belong Together, Perth Festival. Credit: Toni Wilkinson/Perth Festival

Julia Hales is a performance artist living in Perth who has always had a keen interest in storytelling. She has been a lead artist on several projects by DADAA, a West Australian arts organisation whose mission is to use art for social change.

Like many artists, Julia has sought to further her practice by seeking funding from a range of sources. The first step in her relationship with the Australia Council was participating in their 2015 Sync Leadership Program for cultural leaders and influencers with disability.

Fired up by this experience Julia successfully applied for project funding from the Council in early 2017 for a new project – FINDING LOVE – exploring with her collaborators the concept of love, what it meant to her, and what it means to people with Down syndrome. This project resulted in a production called You Know We Belong Together that was picked up by the Perth Festival.

In late 2017, the Perth Festival received a Council project grant to present You Know We Belong Together. With DADAA and Black Swan State Theatre Company as partners, the season ran at Perth’s State Theatre Centre in March 2018.

Julia offers a deeply personal story of her own experiences of love as a daughter, actor and dreamer. Bringing to the stage the voices and aspirations of a community we rarely get to see, You Know We Belong Together is an uplifting tale of love, relationships, acceptance and belonging – and Julia’s life-long dream of appearing on Home and Away!

This is a remarkable story about a remarkable woman – a tenacious, determined and talented writer and performance maker, who also happens to have Down syndrome.

Annual Report 2017-18, Australia Council for the Arts

Julia Hales was one of the recipients of the 2019 Arts and Disability Mentoring Initiative grant. Learn more about the opportunity.

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1. Australia Council 2016, Connecting Australians: Results of the National Arts Participation Survey.