Sisi Foundation to mainstream the participation of people with disabilities in arts and culture
Sisi Foundation (SF) is a non-profit arts and culture organization based in Uganda that has been established to render support mechanisms in three key priority areas that include: capacity building in documentation and art criticism; market and audience development for cultural goods and services and thirdly, mainstreaming the participation of vulnerable groups in the cultural life of Uganda. Whereas SF seeks to work in all three areas, its main emphasis lies in the third priority of ensuring the access to culture of the vulnerable minority groups. SF will seek to emphasize the universality of art as a language that transcends all human limitations and one that should be accessed and enjoyed by all people, regardless of their physical status.
The mission of Sisi Foundation is premised on the fact that able-bodied cultural practitioners, producers, programmers, promoters, educators, marketers, exhibitors, distributors, and others, who obviously constitute a majority in the value chain, hardly take into account the masses of people living with disabilities, simply because they are seen to constitute a small minority and thus are presumed not capable of guaranteeing value for money. This senseless commodification and commercialization of culture has engendered the unfortunate discrepancy and imbalance in the access to and participation of these minority groups in the arts and culture.
There is already unprecedented energy in the arts of the able-bodied and their audiences as manifested in the ubiquitous arts festivals across the continent. On the other hand, there is a near total exclusion of and ignorance about the plight of people living with disabilities (PLDs); their artistic abilities and the audience they form. It is for this reason that SF will work to build solidarity with the PLDs while at the same time bridging gaps by connecting them to the able-bodied artists and audiences. Our flagship program – the annual Sisi International Festival of the Arts for People with Disabilities (SIFAPED) will be oriented towards PLDs, albeit keeping in mind the general audiences. Each year will cast the spotlight on a particular group of PLDs with themes and activities tailored to the same. For instance, SIFAPED 2018 will be dedicated to the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing community, under the theme, “Deaf Culture Unlimited”. SIFAPED is open to all PLD arts and cultural practitioners across Africa and around the world.
Watch this space! Visit our site for more information: www.sisifoundation.org or write to us at email@example.com.
Author: Nathan Kiwere, Arterial Network Uganda
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