Social Inclusion Week Australia is about encouraging communities to reconnect and be inclusive of all cultures, age groups, nationalities and abilities.
Founded by Jonathon Welch AM, and now delivered and managed by Play It Forward, Social Inclusion Week was launched in 2009 as a way for communities to share knowledge and experience, and raise awareness.
It is an annual initiative that takes place the last week in November. This year, Social Inclusion Week Australia runs from Saturday 20- Sunday 28 November, 2021
Social Inclusion Week Australia is a time to reflect on how much each of us values our sense of belonging to our community. Social inclusion is a cornerstone of modern society, yet many members of our community don’t have a sense of belonging. They are often lonely and in their isolation become
unwell, unhappy, and may even give up on life. This is especially so for members of the community who are living alone, are poor, elderly, homeless, living with disability or illness or coping with family breakdown.
Social Inclusion Week is a call for generosity of spirit from those who have much to those who have little. This doesn’t just mean people with material wealth, but those who have happy lives, and warm hearts that are open to others.
Just like that wonderful song ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ we want to grow a movement that encourages every community to reflect on how inclusive they are — and to actively seek out those who are isolated to bring some joy, hope and stimulation into their lives.
PLAY IT FORWARD
Having created Sydney Street Choir in 2001, Australia’s first choir for those experiencing homelessness and disadvantage, Jonathon Welch AM unveiled the Choir of Hard Knocks in 2006 to a national audience through the award winning ABC television documentary of the same name.
These ground breaking initiatives inspired the creation of a worldwide movement of ‘street choirs’, that have been recognised amongst the most outstanding social inclusion models of the past decade for re-connecting isolated, vulnerable and marginalised members of their community.
Today, Play It Forward is Jonathon’s vision and legacy for the future of inclusive arts programs.
Jonathon’s ground breaking social justice work, combined with his decades of professional arts experience, knowledge and passion for music has inspired him to look beyond his original ‘street choir’ concept, inviting Australians of all ages and backgrounds to now participate in the nation’s mainstream cultural life.
Originally launched in 2012 as the School of Hard Knocks programs, Play It Forward has developed a truly collaborative, multi-sectorial approach. It combines professional music industry and community arts practitioners and disciplines, together with the health, education, research, welfare, volunteer, government and corporate sectors, to deliver the most unique range of diverse, tailored inclusive arts programs and events nationally.
Play It Forward is not a “one size fits all’ arts organisation.
In addition to delivering locally based community choirs, projects and events (including Peace Choir Project, Men Aloud, No More Excuses) and national events on a large scale (Social Inclusion Week and Melbourne International Singers Festival), Play It Forward is reshaping the future of how the arts can respond to community and individuals’ artistic needs and tastes that also address current day issues.
By constantly exploring and embracing exciting new and emerging trends in contemporary training and performance practices, Play It Forward creates and nurtures a flexible, sustainable culture of innovation and inclusion that also builds resilient ‘cultural villages’ for the future.