Arts and Disability workshop participants brainstorm project ideas.

Art and Disability is a regional art initiative of the British Council where the countries of South Asia have been running various projects engaging disabled artists and creative professionals with the primary objective of fostering the arts sector and the society as an inclusive space. This is done through the help of UK disabled artists and inclusive art organisations who have been sharing their expertise with their South Asian counterparts.  The aim of the project is to facilitate disabled artists, disabled-led companies and art organisations as well as to help art organisations realise an accessible working model for their projects, benefiting both producers and viewers all the while, through their work, counteracting misunderstandings, misconceptions, stereotypes and negative narratives surrounding the lives of disabled people. Disability arts is a key strategic priority for the British Council globally.  

In Nepal, the project was introduced in March 2019 through a strategic partnership with Nepali International Theatre Festival, the country’s flagship theatre programme, and through a theatre arts and disability workshop facilitated by UK theatre group Birds of Paradise. After the conclusion of the workshops, grants were awarded to the workshop participants initiating four short-term projects scheduled to be concluded by September.

The stigmatisation of disability has been a primary concern in Nepal, deeply rooted in its socio-cultural attitudes and while artists and art organisations have, in the past, attempted to explore this issue, much of what is generated isolates disabled people as their struggles and experiences are looked through a third-persons lens and they are rarely involved in the production themselves. These types of works are driven by sympathy and is little of what disabled people go through and about in their lives. So, to address this issue, the British Council is following the Nothing About Us Without Us code which encourages the direct participation of disabled artists and viewers to practice inclusivity and bring forth change in society. 

Nepali Sign Language interpreter Sagar Subedi (Right) translates dialogues by Actor’s Studio performers during the opening day of Nitfest. 

Strategic Partnership - Nepal International Theatre Festival 2019

The British Council supported the Nepal International Theatre Festival as the Strategic Partner for its first edition which was held between 25 February and 4 March 2019. The primary objective of this partnership was to ensure that some level of accessibility for disabled audiences is secured. While access is very difficult for people with physical difficulties in all theatre halls in Nepal—no theatre is wheelchair accessible, for example--some interventions regarding content accessibility was made in the festival. Read more.

Theatre and Disability Workshop

Glasgow-based theatre company, Birds of Paradise (BOP) was invited to Kathmandu to facilitate a five-day workshop for young disabled leaders, professionals from disability organisations and theatre professionals. Twenty-six participants – 14 disabled people, eight art professionals and representatives from art organisations and four representatives from disability organisations - took part in the workshops. Read more.

Grants - Nothing About Us Without Us

To encourage theatre artists, disabled people and organisations working in disability and further pursuing work in the arts, an open call for proposal was announced. Out of nine entries, four were awarded with micro grants to initiate work in the theatre arts with the direct involvement of disabled people. Read more.

Download this report for more details on the Arts and Disability project workings in Nepal.

See also

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