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. 

Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities

  • 4th UK-China Disability Arts Forum – 3 December
    Join the forum on 3 December featuring keynote speeches from UK Musician Kris Halpin whose work intersects music, technology and Disability; and Jenny Sealey Artistic Director of Graeae who has pioneered a new theatrical language and aesthetics of artistic access experimenting with bilingual British Sign Language (BSL) and English. 
  • Sagar Prasai from Diverse Patters, Nepal on Unlimited Festival 2022 
    Sagar Prasai reflects on this delegation trip to Unlimited 2022 festival, looking at accessibility for artists and audiences, and his work at the Nepal International Theatre Festival taking place from 25 November to 2 December 2022.  
  • Drake Music, Kawasaki, and the British Council: building an open, inclusive and accessible music culture
    For the UK/Japan Season 2021, the British Council in partnership with the City of Kawasaki and UK Drake Music, explore the creative and innovative uses of technology that improve music access for disabled people and creating a new piece of orchestral music.
  • Wasteland: A Journey as part of India/UK Together from 3 to 13 December 2022
    On the 75th Anniversary of Indian independence, Jana Sanskriti (India) and Graeae (UK), will collaborate with theatre-maker Tim Wheeler and aspiring D/deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent artists to create a theatre performance inspired by TS Eliot’s The Waste Land. The year 2022 is also the centenary of the publication of the poem.
  • The Tempest: Swimming for Beginners, a collaboration between Owlspot Theatre (Japan), Graeae (UK), artists from Dhaka Theatre (Bangladesh) and the British Council
    This bold modern reworking of Shakespeare's final play, reflects the impact of Covid-19 on the world showcased during the UK/Japan Season in 2021. Created by people of all backgrounds, regardless of disability, nationality, gender, age or experience – the production featured disabled directors and cast members from three countries: Japan, the UK and Bangladesh.
  • Pen Pals International - DaDaFest International 
    Bringing together cross-artform disabled artists associated with three international disability arts festivals: DaDaFest International in the UK, Jogja Disability Arts in Indonesia and Potters Gallery in Nigeria. The project offers opportunities for artists to share their work and practice with others and to find out more about how artists in different locations navigate creating work as disabled artists. You can watch DaDaFest International via an online festival pass, on a Pay What You Decide basis.
  • “The Poet is the Poem” – Elaine Foster x Sheena Baharudin, Ana Jonessy and Anthony Chong
    The Poet is the Poem is a unique showcase of Malaysian Sign Language through poetry. Elaine Foster, who founded MY Poetry School, was inspired to create a new film featuring Malaysian artists by watching poetry delivered in sign language. The result was the premiere of “Walls” a poem film in the Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia (BIM) sign language by Anthony Chong.
  • #CultureConnectsUs: UK Disabled Artist Interview Showcase
    In this online showcase series artists provide insight into what has inspired their works and the creative process. Featuring musician, music producer and singer-songwriter Dike Okoh, and London-based performance artist Chisato Minamimura. 
  • Reflecting on change - Exploring an international disability arts programme
    This UK report provides an overview of the British Council’s work in disability arts internationally, examining what it has done and why it matters. It acknowledges there are many ways of working, all equally valid: what works in one country may not work in another.
  • DisabilityArtsInternational.org
    Promotes increased access to the arts for disabled artists and audiences around the globe. The website aims to promote the work of the unique generation of excellent disabled artists, disabled-led companies and inclusive arts organisations.

Learn more about International Day of Persons with Disabilities

This year, the United Nation’s theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD) is: ‘Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world’. The theme that it is time to act and find joint solutions in building a more sustainable and resilient world for all and for the generations to come.