Equality, diversity and inclusion are constant themes in the British Council’s work around the world –in arts, society, education, teaching English and offering exams. Our initiatives bring different people together, enriching their experience and leading to more inclusive societies.
Disability arts have been an important part of the British Council’s global programme. We partner and collaborate with disabled artists, disabled-led companies and inclusive arts organisations from all over the world, creating a legacy of transformation.
This International Day of Persons with Disabilities we are highlighting some of the collaborations, partnerships and initiatives between the UK and Asia Pacific.
Disability Accessibility Guide Document: Beyond the Norm
Over the last five years, the British Council has worked with disability sector leader Sagar Prasai through co-organisation of activities, international delegation and knowledge exchanges. In October this year, Prasai launched a new accessibility toolkit for festivals and art programmers. The new resource, "Disability Accessibility Guide Document: Beyond the Norm," is a tangible outcome of Sagar’s experiences working with the British Council, arts festivals in Nepal and attending Unlimited Festival.
The 5th UK-China Disability Arts Forum
On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the British Council will host the 5th UK-China Disability Arts Forum. This year, the UK speakers include Artistic Director of Birds of Paradise Theatre Company Robert Softley Gale, Founder of Feng Ling Productions Farooq Chaudhry, Resident Associate Director of Royal Exchange Theatre Nickie Miles-Wildin, and actor Tommy Jessop. The forum promotes Disability Arts and collaborations between China and the UK.
- Viet Nam
Accessible journeys through Our Place In Space
As part of the UK/Viet Nam Season, the Our Place in Space exhibition spanning 8km, brought the solar system down to central Hanoi. The acclaimed sculpture trail, designed by artist Oliver Jeffers and scientist Professor Stephen Smartt, proudly supported accessible tours to ensure a broader audience could appreciate the remarkable work. The event also supported a STEAM-based learning and events program and offering an opportunity for the public to engage with the epic scale model of the solar system.
"Wasteland: A Journey"
Through a collaboration with Jana Sanskriti and Graeae, the UK’s leading disability-led theatre company, "Wasteland: A Journey" toured with this production as part of the India/UK Season. Directed by Sanjoy Ganguly, Jenny Sealey, and Tim Wheeler, the work explores disability arts through Sanskrit epic Mahabharata and writings of Tagore, and TS Elliot. The play marks Jana Sanskriti's first engagement with disabled artists, making it a milestone in disability-led theatre in India.
"Noishobde ’71" ('71 in Silence)
Produced by Dhaka Theatre, "Noishobde ’71" is part of the DARE (Disability Arts Redefining Empowerment) project by the British Council. Directed by Ramesh Meyyappan, the 30-minute performance involves 15 artists with disabilities, sharing the story of Bangladesh's birth through physical storytelling. DARE aims to build confidence in the disability and arts sector in Bangladesh, challenging stigmas and creating a sustainable platform for disability arts.
"The Dan Daw Show" at World Pride 2023
As part of Sydney WorldPride 2023, the British Council Australia supported "The Dan Daw Show." The performance, explored the push-pull of living with shame and pride, signifies Dan Daw's journey of self-inspiration. Dan Daw Creative Projects is a disabled-led company that works collaboratively with a growing network of companies and artists to develop and tour new performance work that blurs the divide between theatre and dance.
IncluCity a finalist in ThinkCity's Creative KL Urban Challenge
In 2022, Armani Shahrin from Malaysia's NakSeni arts organisation participated in the British Council’s delegation to the Unlimited Festival. Since then, this experience has motivated Shahrin to launch numerous inclusive projects, including workshops and events. The IncluCity project, co-founded by Shahrin, aims to develop a crowdsourced map of accessible venues throughout Kuala Lumpur (KL), inspired by cities such as London and Singapore. IncluCity is now a finalist in ThinkCity's Creative KL Urban Challenge, with the opportunity to launch the platform in early 2024. The goal is to promote inclusivity not only within the People with Disability community but also throughout the wider Malaysian community.