Giving options to promote inclusion

2020-12-28 12:04:26

Experts and practitioners from art and cultural institutes and NGOs in both China and the United Kingdom share their experience in promoting disability inclusion at the 2nd China-UK Disability Arts Forum in Beijing on Dec 3. [Photo provided to China Daily] British Council pushes for accessibility with China-UK Disability Arts Forum, Cheng Yuezhu reports.  Art viewing for many is a matter of choice, but for a group of people that option is often not even offered in the first place. In a publicity video, the 2nd China-UK Disability Arts Forum offered a vignette of the art-viewing experience of three women with disabilities. "This is my first time visiting the 798 Art Zone using a wheelchair. I used to go on outdoor tours, because many galleries I'd like to visit do not have accessible facilities. They simply rejected me with their stairs," says a woman who introduces herself as Panpan. The forum was hosted on Dec 3, International Day for Disabled Persons, at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, with the goal of raising public awareness and participation in enhancing accessibility and inclusion. As a co-host of the event, the British Council recognizes that it is not the people who are disabled, but the milieu around them is disabling them, as is expressed by two representatives from the organization, Matt Burney, director of British Council in China, and Rehana Mughal, director of arts at the institution. "The forum was really an opportunity to convene people, particularly practitioners from the performing arts sector, and together to share knowledge, expertise, skills, ideas and developments in the area of disability arts and inclusion," Mughal told China Daily. According to Mughal, the themes explored at this year's forum primarily focus on access to arts and culture, incorporating varied aspects from physical access to cultural experience. The forum invites experts and practitioners from art and cultural institutes and NGOs in both China and the United Kingdom, to share their organizational and personal experience in promoting disability inclusion and inclusive arts. Lucas Wang, artistic director of Inside-Out Theater, says that the theater has been equipped with accessible facilities and has been working with troupes and artists in conducting inclusive arts projects, but meanwhile discovering a lot of issues yet to be taken into consideration.