Arts and Disability International Conference 2018


Inaugural conference focuses on innovation and leadership to inspire and enable persons with disabilities through the arts

  • Disabled artists and performing groups from Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Japan, Singapore and UK, to share experiences and best practices
  • 1.5-day conference will be attended by some 400 local and international delegates, bringing together social sector professionals, artists and policy makers

SINGAPORE 11 January 2018Innovation in artistic practice, inclusive community engagement and multi-sectorial partnerships to enable more inclusive arts access will be the core underlying theme at the Arts and Disability International Conference (ADIC).  The first of such a conference in the ASEAN region, ADIC 2018 will be held at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre and Enabling Village from 22 to 23 March 2018.

2        ADIC 2018, a culmination of the past three editions of the Arts & Disability Forum, will be the main discourse platform at the True Colours Festival, the inaugural Asia-Pacific festival of music, dance and the arts, featuring performing artists with disabilities. The festival will also comprise a multi-media indoor concert with an inclusive seating plan and free outdoor village offering a wide range of activities for everyone.


3        Jointly organised by the National Arts Council (NAC) and Very Special Arts (VSA) Singapore, ADIC 2018 aims to provide insights on innovative ways to increase arts accessibility and facilitate sharing of best practices.  The Conference has a stellar line-up of international and local guest speakers and arts groups from Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Japan, Singapore and UK. They will address and interact with some 400 conference participants from overseas and Singapore, comprising social service professionals, disabled and able-bodied artists and policy makers.

4        The Conference is presented by The Nippon Foundation and supported by the Singapore International Foundation and British Council.


5        Ms Chua Ai Liang, Senior Director, Engagement & Participation, National Arts Council said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to co-organise ADIC 2018 with VSA Singapore, a ground up social service organisation. The conference builds on our previous efforts and will be a wonderful platform for us to have important conversations to ensure that people from all walks of life have the opportunity to experience, appreciate and be inspired by the vibrant arts scene in Singapore. Keynote topics like “Dissolving the divide between disability and mainstream arts” and “Bridging cross-sector collaborations”, as well as case studies of artists with disabilities taking up leadership roles and being a catalyst of change for those around them, can help change perceptions to nurture a more inclusive arts environment.”


6        One of the Conference keynote speakers, Kate Hood (Australia) was an able-bodied actress and writer for 20 years before she became a wheelchair user a decade ago. She will talk about developing leadership in the disability arts sector, drawing from her extensive insights and experiences as a board member of Arts Access Victoria and Artistic Director of Raspberry Ripple Productions, a company that collaborates with disabled and non-disabled performers to create work.

7        Other speakers and arts groups from around the world include (Please refer to the Annex for bios):

·         Mr Adrian Anantawan (Canada), acclaimed solo violinist

·         Mr Alirio Zavarce (Australia), multi-award winning director and theatre maker of No Strings Attached (Australia)

·         Dr Azariah Tan (Singapore), award-winning pianist, recipient of the NAC Arts Scholarship and graduate of Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music

·         Epic Arts (Cambodia), an international inclusive arts organisation that uses the arts to bring people together

·         Dr Justin Lee (Singapore), research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, National University of Singapore

·         Ms Kris Yoshie (Japan), Director of Slow Label, an enterprise she established to create collaborative work between people with disabilities and artists from Japan and abroad

·         Mr Pete Sparkes (UK), Artistic Director of Drake Music Scotland, a charity that creates music-making opportunities for children and adults with disabilities

·         Mr Yoshihiro Kaiya (Japan), President of Japan Barrier-Free Association


8        The conference will also include workshops that provide a hands-on experience for all practitioners in the arts and disability field, for them to learn new approaches to inclusive art-making in theatre, music and movement. (Please refer to the Annex for programme)

9        “As a non-profit organisation set up 25 years ago, we are dedicated to providing access and opportunities to the arts for people with special needs in our community,” said Ms Maureen Goh, Executive Director of VSA Singapore. “ADIC 2018 will be pivotal in helping us gain even deeper insights into removing barriers for persons with disabilities to participate in, and to enjoy the arts. We are indeed very privileged to be partnering NAC in co-organising this conference, which we hope will be an annual fixture in building a more inclusive arts environment.”

10      Tickets for ADIC 2018 will go on sale from 11 January 2018 at