Sign in Register
Posted On: 12 March 2015 07:26 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:14 pm

Sasol and the British Council Announce Definitely Able Conference and ILHAM Art Exhibition in Partnership with Qatar Museums

Discuss here!
Start a discussion

Sasol, the international integrated energy and chemical company, and the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, in partnership with Qatar Museums, announced today the ground-breaking "Definitely Able Conference and ILHAM Art Exhibition" under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums. The event builds on Sasol’s “Definitely Able” initiative and British Council’s Arts and Disability Festival during Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture. Through the power of art and dialogue, the event will challenge perceptions about disability and build a more inclusive community that creates opportunities for people of all talents.

Taking place on 18-19 March, the Definitely Able Conference will bring together and give a voice to international, regional and local stakeholders working towards inclusion for people with disabilities into the community. Through keynote speeches and eight panel discussions, the Conference will share examples of good practice and shed light on the challenges that people with disabilities face as they try to integrate into society and achieve equal opportunities.

Hussain Ali Al Thawadi, Chief Operating Officer, Qatar Museums, said: “Qatar Museums and the Museum of Islamic Art are pleased to be partners and hosts of the Definitely Able Conference and ILHAM Art Exhibition. Art is a form of expression that allows individuals to understand one another in a pure and emotional way. We look forward to the events and the opportunity to demonstrate how art can break down barriers in society.”

Commenting on the conference, Marjo Louw, President, Sasol Qatar, said: "Inclusion is critical to a highly-developed and functioning society. We’re proud to have created the Definitely Able initiative, now in its third year, to address barriers facing the disabled community and to shed light on the abilities of people of all talents. Partnering with British Council and Qatar Museums to bring the art and culture components together as bridges to understanding is a natural extension of the Definitely Able initiative. We owe a great deal of gratitude to Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani for her patronage and to Qatar Museums for its role and cooperation to render this conference successful."

Martin Hope, Director of the British Council in Qatar, commented: "We are grateful to Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani for her patronage of the Definitely Able conference and Ilham Art Exhibition. We are also delighted to have the support of a range of Qatari organisations, which have provided valuable advice and expertise in organising the event. Partnering with Sasol and Qatar Museums, the British Council’s objective is to bring people together from around the world to share their knowledge and experience in the field of inclusion and disability and learn from each other. The recommendations of the conference will be implemented through a number of follow-up initiatives over the next year, which will ensure impact and sustainability.”

More than 30 speakers from Qatar, the region and around the world will address the following topics over the eight sessions:

· Disability legislation

· Employability

· Inclusive learning technologies

· Attitudes and disability terminology

· Education access

· Art as a vehicle to change perceptions

· Accessible museums and galleries

· Finding the accessible Doha

Diversity champion Simon Minty will host the conference, which will include performances by the Al Noor Institute for the Blind featuring the talented child singer Rebecca Chalouhi. Renowned international speakers will share the stage with voices from Qatar, including Lord Holmes of Richmond, the UK Paralympic champion; Justice Zakeria Yacoob from South Africa; Maha Al Mansouri, CEO of Mada Qatar Assistive Technology Center; Prof. Dr. Georges Tamer, Chair of Oriental Philology and Islamic Studies at the Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen-Nuremberg; Dr. Asma Abdulla Al-Attiyah, Head of Department of Psychological Sciences, College of Education at Qatar University; Khalid Al-Shoaibi, from Al-Noor Institute for the Blind; and Mark Dyer, Accessibility & Inclusive Design Adviser – Programme Management Consultant, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.

Sasol and the British Council have involved Qatari stakeholders and civil society organisations to contribute to the success of the conference right from the start, in order to ensure that it meets local needs and addresses the most important issues. Stakeholders from the disabled community, academia, government and the private sector have contributed to the programme and its content to serve a wide audience.

The ILHAM Art Exhibition will be open to the public at the Museum of Islamic Art from 18-27 March. Featuring the work of seven disabled artists from Qatar, Oman and the UK, unique pieces of art will be displayed for the first time ever during the Exhibition. Artists created new works melding their own style with Arabic influences during a trip to Qatar earlier this year, generously hosted by the MIA.

Strategic partners of the Conference and Exhibition include Qatar Museums, Museum of Islamic Art and UCL Qatar. Supporters include Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Supreme Education Council, Qatar University, Mada Qatar Assistive Technology Center, UNESCO Doha Office, ORYX GTL, Al Noor Institute for the Blind and Audio Education Complex.

Follow the conference on Twitter (@definitelyable) and via the hashtag #definitelyable.