Arts accessibility accolade award for Te Papa‘s Judith Jones

Fri 9 Oct 2020

Te Papa visitor host and accessibility advocate Judith Jones has been awarded the 2020 Arts Access Aotearoa Accolade award, to be presented online at Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020 on Tuesday 13 October.

The recipient of the Arts Access Accolade is chosen by Arts Access Aotearoa’s staff and board and presented to a person who has worked closely with the organisation to help achieve its vision of a society where everyone in Aotearoa can access and participate in the arts.

Having worked at Te Papa since 2012, Judith has been working with Arts Access Aotearoa since 2014.

In its award citation, Arts Access Aotearoa says: “Judith Jones is an outstanding advocate for access and inclusion in the arts. Arts Access Aotearoa values her commitment, generosity of spirit, deep knowledge and desire to learn more.”

Judith Jones said she was delighted to receive the award from an organisation that does so much for accessibility in Aotearoa.

“It’s a huge honour to receive this award from an organisation that I value so highly,” says Ms Jones.

“Connecting with Arts Access Aotearoa and our wider community gives me new perspectives on how access and barriers can affect people’s participation in the arts.”

I’m committed to developing my own practice, listening and responding to our communities, and advocating for systemic and meaningful change,” says Judith Jones.

Te Papa’s Tumu Whakarae | Chief Executive Courtney Johnston says the museum was delighted that Judith’s skill and commitment had been recognised with the Accolade award.

“Judith is a determined advocate for accessibility at Te Papa, and helps Te Papa connect with the Deaf and disabled communities when designing exhibitions, programmes, and other aspects of the museum experience.,” Courtney Johnston says.

Judith Jones also works as an audio describer for blind and low-vision visitors. This highly specialised form of description enables visitors to experience museum displays, art works, and even live performances through the eyes and words of the audio describer.

“Judith’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion is inspiring,” Courtney Johnston says.

“Through her advocacy, and the connections she makes with communities, she helps Te Papa become more and more accessible.”

“We know there is more we can do to make Te Papa accessible for everyone, and we really value Judith’s leadership in always pushing us to do better,” says Ms Johnston.

Te Papa Kaihautū | Māori co-leader Arapata Hakiwai says the award reflected the essence of manaakitanga which Judith brings to her role.

“Manaakitanga means taking care of the mana of everyone who comes to Te Papa, and Judith does just that through her work to make the museum accessible.”

“This award is a well-deserved recognition of Judith’s advocacy for our manuhiri and our kaimahi, ensuring that everyone is included at Te Papa,” Dr Arapata Hakiwai says.

The recipient of the Arts Access Accolade award is chosen by Arts Access Aotearoa’s staff and board and presented to a person who has worked closely with the organisation to help it achieve its vision of a society where everyone in Aotearoa can access and participate in the arts.

Judith’s ongoing support for Arts Access Aotearoa includes writing resources and advising on audio description; speaking at events and panel discussions; and being a judge for the Arts Access Museums Award at the ServiceIQ New Zealand Museum Awards 2019. She is also a valued member of the Arts For All Wellington Network, representing Te Papa.

Judith Jones will receive the Arts Access Accolade 2020 at Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020, to be presented online at 6.30pm Tuesday 13 October on Arts Access Aotearoa’s website.

Media contact: Kate Camp, kate.camp@tepapa.govt.nz, 029 601 0180

An image of Judith Jones can be downloaded here. Image credit: Jack Fisher, Te Papa