Disability to be part of diversity in the arts — artist

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 15): It is time to put equality in the arts, in order to portray the actual term of diversity by accepting all kinds of differences in people, including those with disabilities, says Australian artist Caroline Bowditch.

Bowditch, 47, a person with disability who is also a performer and choreographer said it was a challenge for the community, society, performers, artistes, and industry players to break the status quo.

"We cannot remain with the status quo anymore. We are talking a lot about diversity, on how we are living in a diverse community but my question is are we including disability in their diversity?

"I just want to remind everybody that disability is the one thing that does not discriminate. Disability does not care about the colour of your skin, gender, socio-economy, or where you are from,” she told Bernama when met during the 8th World Summit of Arts and Culture (WSAC) at Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, here.

She was one of the presenters in a parallel session at the international summit entitled 'Women Brokering Change' held yesterday.

Bowditch, who was diagnosed with brittle bone disease or osteogenesis imperfecta said that the fight for disabled artists or performers in diversity was like a tick-box exercise.

"We think about disability and diversity as a kind of box ticking exercise, for example, for the next three years we fight on gender and then for the next three years we fight on disability...it does not go away and it does not work in that way," she expressed.

"Disability covers all of us and it affects all of us, it affects 20 per cent of every developed country's population and in developing countries it is higher but for some reason disability sits in the class or a group, all on its own, so we the disabled population have been asked to choose our identity," she added.

Therefore, Bowditch who is also the chief executive officer of Arts Access Victoria, an arts company based in Melbourne, Australia said, she had been ambitious enough to help people from all range, especially the disabled, to accept every strength and weakness to be a part of the arts industry across the globe.

“It is my mission to change the mind set, to put equality at the centre of the arts, not as a tag on, but a place of beginning as a creative opportunity for all kinds of individuals,” she said.

The four-day event which ended yesterday was participated by 434 delegates from 83 countries. — Bernama