As the 2015 CPISRA World Games opened in Nottingham, we held a debate on the value of disabled people’s participation in culture:

Can art really make a difference to disabled people’s lives? Are disability arts worth fighting for? In the current economic climate, with cuts to support services and benefits, do the arts and sport still have a role to play?

City Arts worked with Dance4 and director Jamie Beddard to produce the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Cerebral Palsy Games, which ran at the Harvey Haddon Centre in Nottingham from the 9th to the 15th of August. To coincide with this, City Arts brought together a group of experienced artists and professionals to discuss the importance, impact and future of disability arts and sport.

This is the first in a series of panel discussions at City Arts looking at the role of culture in the lives of marginalised groups.

The Panel

Jamie Beddard

Jamie is a leading UK actor and director. He has been an associate director for Graeae Theatre Company, co-editor of ‘Disability Arts in London’ magazine and, in 2012, he directed ‘Breathe/Battle for the Winds’ for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Sailing.

Michèle Taylor

Michèle is an experienced Equalities Trainer and Policy Advisor who has provided disability equality training and support to the Royal Shakespeare Company; to the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games; at the British Museum; and with Embrace Arts in Leicester.

Jon Bevan

Jon is Arts Development Co-ordinator for County Youth Arts and Notts Performing Arts. In his 22-year career in the arts, he has been responsible for the delivery, development and management of projects, in a range of art forms, with young people with a broad range of disabilities.

Paul Russ

Paul is currently Artistic Director and Chief Executive at Dance4, the National Dance Agency for the East Midlands. Particular areas of interest, to Paul, are increasing opportunity for disabled young people to have access to high quality programmes that enable them to achieve in dance and in research to enable dance and choreography to share and exchange knowledge with other disciplines and sectors.

Ben Rossi

Ben is the Fundraising and Business Development Manager for Cerebral Palsy Sport and was responsible for writing the successful Grants for the Arts bid to support the Nottingham 2015 CPISRA World Games. He has worked in the charity sector for 15 years, including YHA (England & Wales) Ltd and The National Trust.