By Bridget Ikyado
Abuja – Potter’s Gallery Initiative, says it will continue to engage stakeholders to promote useful policy dialogue on disability inclusion in the arts and creatives industry in Nigeria.
Mr Donald Unanka, Executive Director of the gallery, made this known in Abuja on Monday during a media roundtable on improving market access for artists and creatives with disability.
He said the organisation is working with UNESCO on the new project to showcase the creativity of artists and creatives with disabilities in the country.
According to him, the media roundtable is part of strategic engagement with stakeholders to create space and support for people with disabilities in the arts and creative industry.
“We believe the outcome of this media roundtable will go a long way to promote useful conversation and shape public policy in mainstreaming disability issues and concerns in the thriving arts and creative sector in Nigeria.
“Potters Gallery Initiative is one of the leading disability-led organizations in Nigeria, founded to mobilize support for persons with disabilities using the power of the creative arts and to amplify their voices to lead processes of change.
“The organization is recognized as a creative hub and a support base for the sector,” the executive director said.
He added that other key objectives of the project include reinforcing the capacities and networks of persons with disabilities.
“To strengthen stakeholders’ commitment in the creative industry towards facilitating the inclusion of artists and creatives with disabilities.
“And to promote access to local, national and international markets for artists and creatives with disabilities through digital platforms.”
Unanka also said creative boot camps would be opened in Lagos and Abuja to build the capacities of civil society organizations on issues around creatives with disabilities.
The executive director said more media events would be held to deepen the engagement of key stakeholders on the matter.
Unanka said that the gallery would publish a policy brief on issues and strategies for the inclusion of disabled artists and creatives into the cultural and creative industry in Nigeria.
According to him, the project will develop a mobile application to showcase the creativity of persons with disabilities, as well as daily and weekly posts on Potters Gallery social media channels and blogs.
“The organization will also coordinate a stakeholders validation meeting in Abuja to present the policy brief and launch the mobile application to the public,” he added.
He added that a hashtag, #SUPPORTCREATIVITY, would be used as part of the awareness campaign on marketing the creativity of persons with disabilities in the arts and creative industry.
According to the executive director, the project is funded by the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD), a key instrument of international cooperation and assistance of UNESCO.
IFCD supports the emergence of dynamic cultural sector in developing countries by strengthening the capacity to create, produce, distribute and provide access to a diverse range of cultural goods and services.
As a multi-donor fund, the IFCD promotes regional cooperation while contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and gender equality.
In his remark, Mr James Lalu, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disability, commended the organisation’s efforts in ensuring people with disabilities initiate skilled projects for self-reliance and national development.
He pledged the commission’s support to the project and in getting the Federal Government to patronise their products.
Lalu advised the organisation to ensure that the products meet international standards for export to other parts of the world, and for national and international exhibitions.
Miss Aver Akirghir, the executive director Hope for Life Possibility Initiative and a participant, said people with disabilities were able and willing to contribute to the growth of the nation.
“Persons with disability are humans, they have feelings, they are capable and can do anything and give, in all we want to do.
“We should be given a plain level environment to also compete in the society,
“Persons with disabilities are creative, we need an enabling environment to showcase our creativity to the society”, she said.(NAN /vitalnewsngr.com)