Art work

Dreams and Debuts- lived-experience art competition

Dreams of the future through lived-experience
Welcome to the "Dreams and Debuts" Amateur Art Competition, a platform that illuminates the talents of artists with disabilities. This unique showcase aspires to unveil dreams of the future – personal or universal, challenging or inspiring – as envisioned by artists whose perspectives have been shaped by their lived experiences of disability.


We invited amateur artists with lived experience of disability to show through their art their dreams, hopes, and achievements in whichever ways feel best for them. This could be a new experience, a challenge completed, a goal being set, or a possibility being formed on either a personal or public level. 

Presented by the Centre for Disability Research and Policy and the Disability at Work Network, this competition aimed to encourage participation and inclusion for everyone with all kinds of lived experiences of disability.

Artworks from 18 selected finalists were shown in an inaugural exhibition at the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney, Susan Wakil Health Building from 4th to 14th of December.

We are pleased to announce the Jury prizes and People's Choice award of our 2023 CDRP/DAWN amateur art competition:

First Jury Prize

" Exhale" by Tayla Richardson 

Joint Secondary Jury Prizes

Young Talent Awards (artists who were selected as finalists and were younger than 15 years old)

Haya Dagher - "Walking the world" (Digital image)

Sophie Weaver - 'Stay the Course"  (Drawing, mixed media)

Stella Mascord  "Feelings" (Drawing, mixed media)

People's Choice Award (chosen by the public)

This competition is now closed

These Terms & Conditions (“Terms”) apply to the game of skill described below (the “Competition”).

The Competition will be conducted by The University of Sydney (ABN 15 211 513 464 and CRICOS Number 00026A) (the “Promoter”) during the Competition Period.

The terms may be amended or replaced by the Promoter in its absolute discretion and at any time.

Entry into the Competition is deemed acceptance of the Terms (as amended from time to time).

It is recognised that the artwork of children with disability may be entered on their behalf by a parent or a guardian who accept the Terms.



All entrants to the Dreams and Debuts must be living in Australia for the length of the competition

All submissions must be made before midnight of the closing date of Monday 30th October November 2023, to be eligible to enter this competition.

The competition is only open to non-professional artists with lived experience of disability.


Artwork submission

Entries open Monday 11th September 2023 and close Monday 30th October at midnight.

Artists may use any preferred medium in the creation of their artworks. Artworks will be submitted for judging using photographs and/or video of the submitted artwork only. Entrants can upload a maximum of 3 images (10 mb) and 1 video (50Mb).

All artworks, including three-dimensional such as sculpture, pottery, craft or textile art will be judged on the merits of the photographs and video of the artwork.

All designs must be authentic, and the original work of the artist submitting the design and must not infringe the rights of any other party. The submitting artist must be the sole owner of the copyright in the submitted design and indemnifies the University in relation to any claims made by third parties regarding the submitted design.

The artwork must not contain logos, or reference to any brand, licensed character or image e.g. a character from a movie, book, cartoon, comic, TV show.

Entries must not contain any photographs of recognisable people or products.

Entries containing any offensive material will be disqualified and will not be submitted for voting or be eligible to win.

Artists may enter more than one artwork. Each artwork must be entered into the competition through a separate submission.

The Promoter accepts no responsibility for late, lost, incorrectly submitted or misdirected entries, for any technological malfunction or failure, internet traffic congestion, or for incorrect contact details by which the entrant cannot be contacted during business hours on relevant dates.


Finalists Selection

Judging will commence on the 31st October 2023 and will be conducted by a group of judges selected by the Centre for Disability Research and Policy and the Disability at Work Network (DAWN).

Judging will be conducted by a group of judges selected by the Centre for Disability Research and Policy and the Disability At Work Network (DAWN), which will be announced when judging commence.

Judging will be based on the artistic merits of the submitted artwork and representation of the theme “Dreams and Debuts”.

Finalists will be contacted between 14th and 24th November to organise the drop off of their artwork for the exhibition.

Finalist artworks will be dropped off or delivered between the 27th November and 1st December 2023. Digital artworks will be displayed on screens.

Finalists artworks should contain the name of the artist and the name of the artwork.

Finalist artworks must be picked up on the 14th or 15th December 2023. 

The Promoter will take all care in relation to the safekeeping of submitted work, however no responsibility will be accepted in the event of loss or damage occurring during their transport, drop-off, storage, exhibition and pick-up.



Winners of the jury prize and runners-up will be announced during the launch of the exhibition on the evening of the 4th December 2023. 

One jury prize winner and two runner-ups will be selected from the finalist artworks.

The prize winner will receive $1000. The two runner-ups will receive a prize of $400.

A “People Choice” Award will be awarded following votes of visitors of the exhibition. Visitors will choose their preferred artwork among the finalists and vote through a survey.

The “People Choice” Award will be announced on the last day of the exhibition through social media and appropriate mailing lists. The winner of the “People Choice” Award will be notified by email.

The winner of the “People Choice” award will receive $200.


Personal information

Each entrant’s personal information is collected to enable promotion of the finalists and the winners of the competition, with its use to be in accordance with the Promoter’s privacy policy available at

All entrants agree to the use of their personal information for the announcement of the finalist and winning artworks, through social media, and mailing list. If entrants wish for their personal information not to be divulged if they are selected as a finalist, they must contact the Promoter before the exhibition. 


Use of artworks image and copyright

All entrants agree to grant the Promoter a perpetual, royalty-free license to use, publish, reproduce and distribute images of their submitted artwork in promotions, communications and publications of the Centre for Disability Research and Policy, at the University of Sydney. This includes but is not limited to the right to publish such images on social media posts, newsletters, and emails for the promotion of the competition and its exhibition, and future iteration of the art competition.

This license to use the artwork for these promotional purposes is not a transfer of copyright which remains with the artist.

All entrants selected as finalists also consent to any acts or omissions by the Promoter which may otherwise infringe their moral rights to enable the Promoter to use and adapt their submitted artwork within the scope of the above license, subject at all times to reasonable attribution. As part of such consent, the University will have the right to make reasonable edits and modifications to an artwork for its reproduction purposes.



The Promoter reserves the right to disqualify any individual who is believed to have breached any of these conditions or engaged in any unlawful or other improper misconduct, jeopardising the fair and proper conduct of the competition.

If for any reason the competition is not capable of running as planned, including but not limited to tampering, technical failures, natural disaster, vandalism, power failures, civil unrest or strikes or any other causes beyond the control of the organisers, the Promoter reserves the right to cancel, terminate, modify, delay or suspend the competition. If the Promoter cancels or varies the competition, or cancels, varies or withdraws its prizes, it is not required to conduct the Competition at any other time.