Why are we doing it?
Unlimited: Making the Right Moves is an arts and disability programme arising from a common-sense idea that there are no limits for those who dream big, regardless of background or physical ability. The programme now includes workshops, educational forums and live performances. Since its inception in 2015 as a British Council programme, it has had a significant effect on the arts and theatre scene and on the lives of the disabled people living in the region.
The programme’s accomplishments in the few years since its start are hugely encouraging, with the potential for encouraging real reform and for the development of Ukrainian society with unlimited room for growth.
The results are equally measurable in every country where the Unlimited:Making the Right Movesis at work. In Armenia, disabled performers have begun to be brought in to work in theatre, in positions that had previously been closed to them.In Azerbaijan, the innovative theatre technique in inclusive art work is used as a tool for a social change. In Georgia, work has begun on an intra-regional platform for the development of disabled arts. And in Ukraine, the prominent patronage of the First Lady has helped reshape public perception of the contribution of disabled people to society.
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What is the capacity of a human soul? How would you measure it? Consider the case of Yaroslav Grybalsky, Ukrainian disabled civil activist and an advisor to the Mayor of Lviv. Trained in his youth as an orchestral conductor, a spinal injury put an end to his dream of being a musician. He lived, he knew, in a place where the disabled were excluded from the arts and from many other aspects of society. But the question haunted him: why did it have to be that way?
Candoco, a London-based dance company for disabled and non-disabled performers, has been asking the same thing since 1991. It has produced the best possible answer to Yaroslav’s question: there is absolutely no reason for the disabled people to be excluded from taking part in the arts. No good reason, anyway.