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During several international visits IIAN took the opportunity to increase the visibility of IIAN worldwide. IIAN was invited by ASSITEJ España to present at the 1st Conference on Inclusion and Accessibility in the Performing Arts for Young Audiences, organized in association with Canovas Theatre in Malaga on 20-23rd October. IIAN was represented by Ginni Manning, IIAN Board member, responsible for communications and networks, who gave a presentation discussing the goals of IIAN in the field of TYA and its growing global community, including the IIAN Champion programme. IIAN Champion in Spain Jaume Bello spoke of his experience in the field of creating inclusive work for and with children and adults with disabilities. The ASSITEJ España team created the conference as a place for reflection, debate and exchange on accessibility and inclusion in the performing arts for children and young people. Conference participants from the TYA, dance and culture arenas spoke of their work for and with audiences with disabilities. The conference was held in collaboration with the Canovas Theater in Malaga, one of the few scenic spaces whose programming is entirely aimed at children and young people and which plans to launch a permanent accessible program this year. Ginni says, that “the conference was enlightening and inspiring, with a positive clarity of the challenges and progress needed in creating inclusive and accessible work with and for young audiences with disabilities”. IIAN would like to extend their gratitude to ASSITEJ España.

On 7-9th October Vicky Ireland, Co-Secretary of IIAN, invited by the member of IIAN Board Birute Baneviciute, visited Lithuania on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Dansema Dance Theatre and represented IIAN at the gathering. Vicky reports that: “on the first of the three days, we shared conversations with a performing arts community of Disabled actors, about how much they enjoyed performing and how important it was to them. I then gave a power-point presentation about the work of IIAN, followed by discussions, and a visit to a kindergarten to observe an inclusive object theatre workshop, run by the Table theatre director Saule Degutyte. The next day was the premiere of Dansema film about their work and practice, followed by a roundtable discussion on dance for young audiences’ challenges and possibilities. On the last day, there was a wonderful Dansema ‘labyrinth performance’, where a family audience wandered through a large hall, divided into five sections, and found a performer at each stage who engaged with them, using props and costumes from previous shows. The five dancers were charming and skilled so a joyful time was had by all. The day finished with a roundtable meeting of members of ASSITEJ Lithuania and international guests, and an excellent discussion on urgent issues around the performing arts for young audiences in this challenging and changing world. It was so good to have a robust and thought-provoking conversation with other guests, including: Bebe de Soares – Vice-President of ASSITEJ International, Chris Schenlaer – producer of SALTO festival in Malmo, Sweden, Iryna Zapolska – theatre director and representative of ASSITEJ Ukraine, Violeta Podolskaite – President of ASSITEJ Lithuania, Beata Stankevic – performing arts producer from The United Arab Emirates and Raimondas Klezys – actor and director of No Shoes theatre and member of ASSITEJ Lithuania Board. I came home with wonderful memories, new discoveries and new friends”.

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