On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the British Council co-hosted today the Fourth UK-China Disability Arts Forum, together with Beijing Body On and On Culture Centre and Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, to continue promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in arts and culture.
The pandemic has worsened social inequality, and the dialogue to create an equitable society with accessible support for deaf and disabled communities is needed than ever when we plan our ways towards a post pandemic world. We believe that arts and culture are catalysts for changes to strengthen social cohesion through a creative perspective.
Building on the success from the previous forums with the acknowledgement of the social model of disability, the forum this year brought together speakers from the UK and China under the theme of “Connection & Action”.
Danny Whitehead, Deputy Country Director China, British Council, said: “While everybody continues to face the challenges of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, people with disabilities may face more isolation, disconnection, and disruption. The British Council follows and promotes the social model of disability which recognises that people are often not disabled through their own impairments or relative ability, but through social attitudes and physical and attitudinal barriers which result in marginalisation. Arts and culture are powerful tools to help break down unhelpful attitudes and ignorance, to build resilience and confidence, and to nurture equitable spaces and communities where everyone feels they belong. We are proud to work with the dynamic, creative, and inspirational British and Chinese artists and institutions in this aspect.”
The Forum featured five keynote speakers from the UK and China to share their exploration and reflection on disability arts, including Jenny Sealey from Graeae Theatre, musician and technology innovator Kris Halpin, deaf visual artist Alice Hu, independent curator and producer Lynn Fu, theatre director Ran Chen. Following the keynote speeches, there was a panel discussion around “Disability confidence in arts and cultural organisations”, aiming to deepen the dialogues between different communities, discuss the deficiencies in knowledge and capacity building, encourage arts and cultural organisations to lead on the development of an inclusive culture.
This forum was live-streamed on multiple platforms with accessible support including sign language interpretation, Chinese-English simultaneous interpretation and captions and video subtitles.