An online international conference on the future of disability and the arts is set to be hosted from Cork this week.
Advocates, experts, policymakers, service users, thinkers and inspiring practitioners leading in the field of inclusion, differing abilities, arts and culture will gather virtually for the event which will demonstrate how arts have a particular value for people with disabilities, including many people with intellectual disabilities, autism or mental health difficulties.
The event will also showcase how creative development and personal growth through the arts can empower people with disabilities to avail of other possibilities and be a tool of understanding and inclusion.
The European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), in partnership with the European Network for Cultural Centres (ENCC) and Cope Foundation, will together lead the virtual gathering.
Speaking about the upcoming event, Cork actor and director Mathew Murphy said that he has always believed in “new and exciting ways” to bring Irish artists and other artists from around the world together, “no matter what gender, race, sexual orientation or disability artists may have”.
“We can come together to work with each other, communicate with each other, help each other and learn with each other through any art form and look back and say ‘Yeah, we did that together’, that's what this conference is about,” he said.
Manager of Arts and Creative Therapies at Cope Foundation in Cork, Eoin Nash, said that active citizenship and participation within arts and culture is “a right under article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability (UNCRPD) ratified in Ireland” and that it was the Cope Foundation’s goal to deliver and commit to upholding this right for the people being support at Cope Foundation and the arts community in Cork.
Well-known and much loved local musician John Spillane and poet Cónal Creedon also lent their support to the event with a series of videos and photos that showcase Cork city as a city steeped in arts, culture and heritage.
Mr Spillane said that he is “delighted” to support this event and said it was “lovely to wander around our beautiful city of Cork with my friends from Cope Foundation, singing and telling stories, and promoting Cork as a city that supports artists of all kinds, respecting disability and diversity”.
“Cork people love Cork more than any other people love their city and this conference is a wonderful opportunity for us to show off this love,” he said.
The event will be taking pace online October 14 and 15. To register, visit here.