Performers on stage
Dancers performing in Hiraeth, a production inspired by Armenia’s painful history. ©

NCA Small Theatre

Social stigma around disability

Common to each of the former Soviet Union countries is a rich cultural heritage and a well-developed, if sometimes archaic, state arts infrastructure.

But in each, disability is subject to social stigma. The few disabled artists that are visible are usually isolated from mainstream arts practice, its decision-making processes, and more generally, there is scant legislation ensuring wider-public access for disabled people. 

Supporting the inclusion of disabled artists and audiences

Our programme aims to develop the disability arts sector in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine by creating a sustainable network of disability arts practitioners, venues and producers, and developing their skills to create and present inclusive work. This will:

  • support the inclusion of disabled people in the creative economy and policy-making;
  • challenge social attitudes to disability;
  • develop new audiences and change their perception of disability arts;
  • influence social policy and legislation towards more open and creative societies;
  • engage successful UK models of development and internationalisation of the disability arts sector.

The pilot phase in 2016/17 built on the existing disability arts work in Armenia 
(Making the Right Moves) and expanded to new territory, establishing partnerships in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine. Activities included the regional tour of Candoco Dance Company (UK), symposia and policy talks, sector mapping, and training for disabled and non-disabled dancers and choreographers. The programme has continued beyond 2016 with significant achievements, and now we are planning for 2018/19.