Arts Activated 2014 is a national forum in Australia for artists with disability, policy makers, arts workers and supporters that share the ambition of equitable access to the arts for people with disability as both practitioners and audiences, through inclusive arts practices.
It provided a showcase of inclusive arts and cultural programs, projects and research from across Australia. It also highlighted the advancement of professional arts practice by artists with disability across the spectrum of art forms.
With a mix of international and Australian presenters and delegates, those passionate about arts + disability had the opportunity to explore, debate, share and reflect on the current trends and issues relating to inclusive arts practices both here and abroad.
Mr. Sawang Srisom, a disabled artist from Thailand, joined the forum as a panellist. Read his blog post about the forum below.
It was my great pleasure to be invited to the Arts Activated Conference from Tuesday 28 – Wednesday 29 October, at The Concourse, Chatswood, Sydney as a guest speaker in a plenary session and performance, international agenda: experiences and challenges on the global stage curated by British Council. I had a chance to share my experience working in Thailand on music and arts of people with disabilities with other international participants from around the world. In this session, I wanted to express that the arts are still regarded as unnecessary movement for people with disabilities since there are other issues that are more important e.g. education, employment, accessibility, etc. We need to raise more awareness and advocate for more funding support for more arts of people with disabilities, especially other types of fine and performing arts.
The conference also gave us a chance to meet with other arts organisations for/of people with disabilities from around the world. This was a very good opportunity to network and learn what other people are doing. There were several good practices on arts for people with disabilities. What I was most interested in were arts for disability advocacy and accessibility & arts. This is because in our country, we still need to raise more awareness for the visibility and enhance attitude toward people with disabilities. General advocacy and lobbying are not enough to do the job. Arts can be one very effective way that can help enhance social attitude and raise awareness on disability issues. The sessions I liked most were TATE Museum and Unlimited UK. These 2 sessions really showcased new modern arts for people with disabilities.
I hope that this kind of conference will be held every one or two years as an international arena on arts and people with disabilities which is still lacking. If I may suggest, we should encourage more sharing and collaboration between countries having good practices and those in need. Exchange programs should also be made available for the countries that are seriously keen to advance arts for people with disabilities.