The topic of arts and social inclusion is one that the NAC Orchestra is exploring in their programming throughout the year as well as during the upcoming tour to Europe. In preparation for the tour, the NAC Orchestra hosted it’s inaugural conversation about Arts and Social Inclusion in March.
The videoconference took place in the Shenkman Smith Atelier and connected NAC Music Director Alexander Shelley, former MPP Yasir Naqvi (CEO, Institute for Canadian Citizenship), Renata Soutter (Co-Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Propeller Dance), Liz Winkelaar (Artistic Associate, Company Dancer and Teacher at Propeller Dance), and Kathy Armstrong (Carleton University Music / Pulse! Rhythm & Wellness) in Ottawa with pioneer and advocate for creative social inclusion Ian Ritchie (currently Artistic Director of Setúbal Music Festival) and Arts Educator Katy Hemingway at the Royal College of Music in London, England.
Panelist Liz Winkelaar made the point that “disability is not centered in the person’s body necessarily, but how they move through the world. And you can make things a lot easier for people with disabilities by allowing us to move through the world.”
It was a very engaging conversation bringing together local and international views. Genevieve Cimon, Director of Music Education and Community Engagement at the NAC sees this conversation as “the first of many, where we can share ideas, success stories, challenges, and opportunities for developing a stronger network in this space.”
Working alongside arts inclusion advocate Claire Speed, meetings are being planned in the coming months to convene individuals and organizations working in this space in Ottawa as well as nationally and in the UK.