While disability arts are tools towards attaining an inclusive society, relevant stakeholders must come forward, in partnership, to support, provide fund and create disability friendly policies so that persons with disabilities can take part in and enjoy arts.
Persons with disabilities are among the major marginalized groups in the society. Through disability arts they can display their realities and abilities which can dispel the stigma around disabilities and bring them closer to the wider society. However, due to inadequate accessibility and facilities they find significant barriers in enjoying their cultural life.
Participants discussed this in four virtual consultations which was organized by the Institute of Informatics and Development (IID) in partnership with British Council. Three consultations focused on policy changes, financing, partnership in promoting disability arts individually and the fourth one was aimed at capturing experience from divisional partners of DARE project, which is an initiative of British Council. The consultations were attended by disability activists, artists with disabilities and artists working with persons with disabilities. All four consultations produced a wide array of suggestions for promoting disability arts.
The discussions during the consultation revealed concern around lack of awareness about different laws that favour PWDs among relevant stakeholders. CSOs and DPOs need to unite to advocate for inclusive cultural policy and budget allocation for disability arts. To promote disability arts Ministry of Social Welfare should usher in a powerful body in partnership with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Women and Children affairs. Mapping of government and non-government organizations, resource persons who can link artists with disabilities with opportunities in the cultural sector is necessary. Persons with disabilities who have experience in cultural activities can mentor other PWDs interested to take part in cultural activities, give training and link artists with programs and organisations. Participants also added that existing small cultural groups in Upozilas should be connected so that they can help each other thrive.
Among others, Limia Dewan, BRAC, Anika Rahman Lipy, CDD, Animesh Toju, BPKS, Adv. Dilip Ghosh, BVIPS, Mahua Paul, Access Bangladesh, Md. Jahangir Alam, CDD, Nasima Akhter, NCDW, Wasim Ahmed, Dhaka Theater, Hasiba Hasan Joya, SDSL, Shaikul Hasan, CRP, MI Chowdhury participated in the virtual meetings.