Saturday 02 December 2023

The British Council and Beijing Body On and On Cultural Exchange Center today launched the 5th UK-China Disability Arts Forum in Guangzhou Yun Theatre. Following the success of collaborations in the past four years, this year’s forum continues to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in arts. This is the first time the forum takes place outside of Beijing.

Since 2019, the British Council and Beijing Body On and On Cultural Exchange Center have successfully hosted four consecutive UK-China Disability Arts Forums. Working together, we have raised awareness of social models of disability and promoted the development of disability arts in China, facilitating new exchanges and collaboration between China and the UK in this field. This year, the forum will not only delve into historical aspects but also look forward, embracing both the lessons of the past and the possibilities that lie ahead. The fifth edition of the forum - Historical Encounters, will provide a moment reflection and evaluation, prompting attendees to plan for an accessible future.

The history of disability arts in the UK is intertwined with ideological renewal of disability and the development of diverse arts and aesthetics. It has continued for more than fifty years from the 1970s to the present. Disability arts in the UK has left behind a wealth of documents, cases and experiences, influencing other countries in the process of global cooperation. China also has long-standing national, provincial and municipal disabled art troupes, which provide a window to showcase the spiritual outlook of disabled people in China. Dialogue between China and the UK about disability arts has become more extensive over the past 20 years.

Nick Thomas, Director China British Council and Minister for Culture and Education of the British Embassy said, “we are very proud at the British Council of what the UK-China Disability Arts Forum has achieved over the past four years. The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations. Our work builds enduring relationships across cultures. Disability arts have been an important part of our global programme for decades. We partner and collaborate with disabled artists, disabled-led and inclusive arts organisations from all over the world to create a legacy of transformation, using the power of cultural relations to build trust and understanding.”

This year's forum consists of 8 keynote speeches from UK and Chinese speakers, 10 promotional pitches on latest arts projects and two roundtable dialogues, "The Creation Space for Disabled Artist" and " The Inclusive Development of Disability Arts in China ".

This year's forum was broadcast live online and equipped with access support such as sign language interpretation, simultaneous interpretation in Chinese and English, real-time Chinese subtitles. The forum is also guide-dog friendly.

Notes to Editor

About Body On&On

Body On&On is a contemporary cultural and artistic programming and producing organisation taking body as its basis. With the philosophy of “everything starts from the body”, Body On&On is deeply committed to the field of arts and public welfare. Since its inception in 2019, Body On&On has initiated projects such as the Body Interview Project, Luminous Festival (the first inclusive arts festival in China), Touch Contact Improvisation Festival, Body Nomad Project, UK-China Disability Arts Forum, "Access for Change" Platform and Contemporary Body Workshop to stimulate intellectual, sensual and conscious body fields, dedicated to exploring the body's contemporary energy and the social value of arts, and jointly promoting individual growth and social inclusion.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2021–22 we reached 650 million people.