The Right to Play: Snakes and Ladders A case study
This case-study will present learnings from the public art project ‘Snakes and Ladders’, a fifty metre, ground plane mural in Sydney Olympic Park, in Sydney’s western suburbs. This was a collaboration between Digby Webster, an artist with Down syndrome, and Nadia Odlum, an artist without disability who specialises in playful, large-scale public art. Snakes and Ladders was commissioned by the Sydney Olympic Parks Authority (SOPA) as a result of a community consultation and co-design process, and was supported by Accessible Arts, the peak body for advancing the rights of New South Wales artists who have disability and/or who are d/Deaf. The result was a public artwork that functions as an inclusive playspace, supporting the right to play for all people who visit or live in Sydney Olympic Park.
The key achievements of this project were the meaningful inclusion of an artist with disability in a significant public art project, and the creation of an accessible and inclusive opportunity for play in public space. This case-study focuses on process, including the community consultation process that led to the commission; the role of peak body Accessible Arts in facilitating and guiding the commission; the methods used to ensure accessibility in the artwork design; and the collaborative process between Digby and Nadia, including the steps taken to support Digby’s access requirements and ensure his full participation in the commission from concept to delivery.
Read the full article in accessible html-format here.
The Authors retain copyright for articles published in The Journal of Public Space, with first publication rights granted to the journal.
Articles in this journal are published under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial Licence (CC-BY-NC) - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
You are free to:
• Share - copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
• Adapt - remix, transform, and build upon the material
Under the following terms:
• Attribution - You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
• NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
International Play Association (2015) The Play Rights of Disabled Children: IPA Position Statement. Available at: http://ipaworld.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/IPA-Disabled-Children-Position-Stmt.pdf (Accessed 5 January 2022)
Krysiak, N. (2020) Designing Child-Friendly High Density Neighbourhoods. Cities For Play, Sydney, Australia.
Lefebvre, H. (1968) “The Right to the City,” Writings on Cities. Blackwell, Oxford, UK (English translation: Lebas, E., Kofman, E. 1996).
Martin, L. (2022) Questions for Accessible Arts about Snakes and Ladders. Interview by Morwenna Collett and Nadia Odlum [email], 27 January 2022.
McClleland, R. (2010) “Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings): Standards 2010,” Federal Register of Legislation, Australian Government. Available at: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2010L00668/Controls/ (Accessed 30 May 2022)
Nesbitt, T. (2022) Questions for Sydney Olympic Park Authority about Snakes and Ladders. Interview by Morwenna Collett and Nadia Odlum [email], 27 January 2022.
NSW Department of Planning and Environment, 2021, Everyone Can Play. Available at: https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Open-space-and-parklands/Everyone-Can-Play-in-NSW (Accessed 5 January 2022)
Paul, S. (2020) Wetlands Australia 32: Sydney Olympic Park Wetlands are an urban biodiversity hotspot. Australian Government Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment. Available at: https://www.awe.gov.au/water/wetlands/publications/wetlands-australia/national-wetlands-update-february-2020/sydney-olympic-park-wetlands (Accessed 26 January 2022)
SAI Global, AS 1428.2-1992 Design for access and mobility – Enhanced and additional requirements – Buildings and facilities, 2015. Available at: https://www.simpsonbuildinggroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/AS-1428.2-1992-Design-for-access-and-mobility-Enhanced-and-additional-requirements-Buildings-and-faciliti.pdf (Accessed 30 May 2022)
Street Furniture Australia (2020) Homify Discovery Executive Summary. Sydney, Australia.
Sydney Olympic Park Authority (2019) Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2019-22. Sydney, Australia.
Sydney Olympic Park Authority (2021a) Have Your Say – Homify Local Places Project. Available at: https://mysop.sydneyolympicpark.com.au/homify (Accessed 20 January 2022)
Sydney Olympic Park Authority (2021b) About Us. Available at: https://www.sopa.nsw.gov.au/About-Us (Accessed 20 January 2022)
Sydney Olympic Park Authority (2021c) Accessibility & Inclusion. Available at: https://www.sopa.nsw.gov.au/About-Us/Accessibility-and-Inclusion (Accessed 10 January 2022)
Sydney Olympic Park Authority (2021d) Snakes and Ladders – Interactive Public Art. Available at:
https://www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au/Things-to-Do/arts-and-culture/snakes-and-ladders-public-art (Accessed 30 May 2022)
UN General Assembly (2007) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Article 30 – Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport. Available at: https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities/article-30-participation-in-cultural-life-recreation-leisure-and-sport.html (Accessed 05 January 2022)
United Nations (2016) Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 11. Available at: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/cities/ (Accessed 31 May 2022)
United Nations (2017) New Urban Agenda, United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), Quito, Ecuador. Available at: https://habitat3.org/documents-and-archive/new-urban-agenda/ (Accessed 31 May 2022)
W3C (2018) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Available at: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/ Published 5 June 2018. (Accessed 30 May 2022)
Webster, D., Odlum, N. (2021a). Snakes and Ladders. Interview by Nas Campanella. Focus, ABC Radio Sydney, 26 March 2021.
Webster, D. (2021b) Interview by Ankit Mishra on Snakes and Ladders, 2021. Directed by Mishra, A. Millimetre Media, Australia.
Webster, D., Moxham, J., Webster, D., Mackessey, L. (2022) Interview about Snakes and Ladders. Interview by Nadia Odlum. Sydney, Australia, 20 January 2022.
Zamenopoulos, T., Alexiou, K. (2018) Co-Design as Collaborative Research, University of Bristol and the AHRC Connected Communities Programme, Bristol, UK.