Insights + interviews

The British Council and Nik Powell on inclusiveness through the arts

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The British Council will be championing greater inclusivity in the arts sector in Singapore. This inaugural UK movement will be rolled out via a series of initiatives throughout 2017. The initiatives will focus heavily on integrating the practice of inclusivity into the arts sector within Singapore. By partnering on programmes that bring artists and organisations together to promote discussion and debate and to share experiences, the British Council nurtures inclusivity, while showcasing excellence in the arts.

We speak with Nik Powell, Oscar-winning film producer and co-founder of Virgin Records, about his perspective about the challenges of making the film and TV industries properly inclusive in a world that is becoming less and less inclusive. 

What has your experience been in the UK and elsewhere championing inclusiveness through the arts?

My experience is that everyone is in favour of more inclusiveness but not sure often as to achieve greater inclusiveness. None of are sure what to do actually. We have to try lots of different things and see what works

What are the types of disability that people do not understand and thereby exclude, both consciously and otherwise?

The most obvious least obvious disability are mental issues especially conditions like dyslexia which is very common in artists and creative people. As an epileptic myself, that is pretty invisible until you have a fit. Having no money or a poor education are also invisible but can also be disabilities.

How has your perspective of inclusion changed over your experiences from entrepreneur to film producer and currently director of the UK National film and television school?

Definitely it has changed since becoming director of the NFTS. I have become much more conscious of the institutional and structural barriers that discourage if not prevent greater inclusiveness. I have realised how early in peoples’ lives these barriers exist and how embedded they can be.

What are the top 3 things an audience member (and active citizen) can do to influence theatre and the arts scene in Singapore to be more inclusive?

Golly. Let me think. How about 1. Support art films and performances which have an element of diversity 2.Talk about it 3.Get involved in campaigns to increase inclusiveness.

Are you aware of any productions or organisations in Singapore that champion or are influential in being inclusive?

I really don’t have enough knowledge of the Singapore scene to answer this but I met the people involved in the independent cinema The Projector in Singapore who seem to be doing things that help.

More information on the British Council’s involvement with Arts and Disability can be found at their website.



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