Thursday 13 April 2017

Arts and Disability Forum 2017 shapes perspectives for greater inclusivity 

SINGAPORE – The Arts and Disability Forum (ADF) returns from 20 to 21 April 2017 with an even stronger focus on creating greater social inclusiveness through the arts. In its third year overall, and second year working with co-organisers from the National Arts Council, British Council and Singapore International Foundation, ADF 2017 will highlight ways to shape a more inclusive society through opportunities for meaningful collaborations for artistic development within the disability sector.

Over the past three years, ADF has grown from a half-day forum with a focus on bringing together healthcare professionals, artists and policy makers to raise awareness about the gaps between the arts and disability sectors, to the current – two days of programming with insights from keynote speakers with local, regional and international perspectives on a variety of topics surrounding the theme of inclusiveness, empowerment and collaboration. The theme for 2017 is Shaping Perspectives and Enabling Opportunities.

Chua Ai Liang, Director of Arts & Communities, National Arts Council said, “Year on year, we strive to grow collaborations between the arts and disability sectors to bridge the gaps in this sphere. This year, we hope the open discussions and workshops will encourage deeper appreciation and understanding of challenges faced in Singapore and the region; strengthening the notion that everyone has a part to play in fostering inclusiveness.”

ADF 2017 will address topics on regional trends and make the case for inclusive arts, as well as overcoming challenges in bridging theory and practice between arts and disabilities. Among the speakers are industry experts such as Dr Alice Fox, accomplished author on inclusivity, and Tate Exchange Artist; Myra Tam, Executive Director at Arts with the Disabled Association (Hong Kong); and esteemed Glasgow-based Singaporean artist and London theatre veteran, Ramesh Meyyappan. Fox and Tam will focus on distinguishing disability arts from inclusive arts and its trends in the region, while Meyyappan will share his experience and growing success working in the arts as a theatre creator, despite being deaf.

Dr Sarah Meisch Lionetto, Director of Arts from the British Council said, “The British Council is focusing its efforts in Inclusive Arts this year. The campaign endeavours to inspire people to develop full and equal access to the arts via awareness and skills and to create an appreciation of inclusivity as central to the vitality and dynamism of the arts. It’s about removing a homogenous image of the arts scene, cultivating more access and diversity and creating opportunity.”

During the first day of ADF, the programme will engage Forum participants in Focus Group Discussions on ways to support and empower persons with disabilities to integrate and participate actively in the community. These conversations will galvanise multi-sectorial players to come together to envision a way forward for the arts in fostering a more inclusive society for Singapore. The discussions will inform stakeholders in the field of arts and disability, and in considering recommendations from the Singapore’s Third Enabling Masterplan, a plan that aims to build a more inclusive society for persons with disabilities.

Soh Lai Yee, Head of Cultural Exchange, the Singapore International Foundation, said, “The SIF’s Arts for Good initiative seeks to connect communities, leverages cross-cultural wisdom and arts-based activities for positive social change. The ADF is a tremendous opportunity to connect people from multiple sectors and across cultures and borders to work towards a common goal of fostering an inclusive society for all.”

The second day of the Forum will feature a half-day workshop covering the topics of ‘Inclusive Artmaking 101’ by Dr Alice Fox and ‘Tools, Considerations and Approaches in Programming for Diverse Audiences’ by Myra Tam.

ADF 2017 will take place on 20 and 21 April at The Enabling Village. For more information, please visit

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Meisch Lionetto
Director of Arts
British Council Singapore
Tel: 6470 7147

Low Zhaoting
National Arts Council
Tel: 6346 9425

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.