The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted the arts and culture sector. The international and local communities have been in the process of building the sector back better while responding to the pandemic. It should be utilized as an opportunity to strengthen integration of a diversity perspective with a special attention to removing barriers, respecting differences, empowerment, and emotional well-being, in all the aspects and steps, utilizing the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a key framework. As stated in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), protecting and promoting the right of all people including persons with disabilities to take part in cultural life on an equal basis with others is the fundamental but often neglected priority. This includes (1) access to television programmes, films, theatre and other cultural activities, inaccessible formats; (2) access to places for cultural performances or services, such as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and online services; and (3) opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.
This panel discussion will (1) look into the role and power of the arts and culture in protecting and promoting diversity, (2) share good practices and lessons learned from the arts and culture sector (from viewpoints of performers, directors, audience members, policy makers, DPOs, academia etc. with or without disabilities), and (3) discuss the way forward including strengthening the integration of and partnership with the arts and culture in the efforts to respond and recover from the pandemic, and to implement CRPD and the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs.