3 December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, with the theme of Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world for this year.

The British Council will co-host the Fourth UK-China Disability Arts Forum on the day, 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 will bring together speakers from the UK and China under the theme of “Connection & Action”.

The Forum will feature 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 will be 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. The panel will be hosted by Dew GE from Body On & On, and joined by wheelchair user and vlogger Hongcheng ZHAO,  Yujiao PENG from Leyirong Social Work Office in Tongzhou Beijing, Ling MAO from Theatre YOUNG, and Professor Wei BU from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Forum rundown

14.00 – 14.10 Opening remarks Danny Whitehead, Deputy Director China, British Council
Professor Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office 
Dew GE, founder, Body On&On
14.10 – 14.25 Keynote speech 1 Looking at the world from a different perspective
Alice HU, deaf visual artist, deaf activist
14.25 – 14.40 Keynote speech 2 Owning and taking responsibility for the social model 
Jenney Sealey, Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre
14.40 – 14.55 Keynote speech 3 Action, connection – Our ideals and reality
Lynn FU, independent producer and curator
14.55 – 15.05 Sign language poetry performance Gang FENG, founder, Sign Language Hutong
15.05 – 15.20 Keynote speech 4 Listen and exchange
Ran CHEN, independent theatre director
15.20 – 15.35 Keynote speech 5 Social model music making: moving disabling barriers with technology 
Kris Halpin, musician and technology innovator
15.35 – 16.05 Q&A  
16.10 – 17.50 Panel discussion Disability confidence in arts and cultural organisations 
Panelists:Hongcheng ZHAO, Yujiao PENG, Ling MAO, Professor Wei BU 
Chair: Dew GE
17.50 – 18.00 Closing remarks Dom Hastings, Head of Arts China, British Council

This forum will be live-streamed on the platform with accessible support including sign language interpretation, Chinese-English simultaneous interpretation and captions and video subtitles. Please scan the QR code below to join.