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Arts and disabilities conference on Saturday

Tuesday, April 30 2013

The Academy for the Performing Arts at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and the Consortium of Disability Organisations (CODO) are collaborating to co-host an Arts and Disabilities Conference on fostering ability through the performing and visual arts.

The conference takes place on Saturday (May 4) at UTT@NAPA, Port-of-Spain from 8 am - 4 pm and is co-chaired by UTT Associate Professor Deborah S Moore and CODO President Sharda Ramlakhan.

The conference aims to bring together individuals and organisations with and without disability to explore issues surrounding arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities.

Local, regional, and international guest speakers will be presenting ideas, discussing best practices, and encouraging conversation to foster and promote a unified and informed community that values high quality arts opportunities for all people within TT and the Caribbean.

The Arts and Disabilities Conference is a culmination of a broader partnership between UTT and CODO that provides a teaching artist training course taught by UTT Associate Professor and Kennedy Centre National Workshop Leader Deborah Moore.

Through this course, students at the Academy for the Performing Arts at UTT lead weekly music classes January - May 2013 in 18 centres for disabilities. Centre locations include Penal, Gasparillo, San Fernando, Marabella, Cocorite, Port of Spain, St Annís, Arima and more. Participants from all 18 centres will perform at the Music Festival for the Disabled to be held at 2 pm, on May 10. This second annual festival will also be co-hosted by UTT and CODO. Both the conference and the festival provide service learning and networking experiences for UTT students that have been previously unavailable. Additionally, nine UTT students are serving on the conference committee.

Conference activities and presenters include an opening address by Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education, Senator Fazal Karim, a local panel of music and art therapy experts from Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Sharon Malley from Very Special Arts/Kennedy Centre, Deborah S Moore from UTT, Jean Raabe from University of the West Indies, Dr Eric Williams of the Jamaica Field Project, and Dr Ryan Hourigan from Ball State University. The conference will culminate with a reception and art auction that will feature visual art by persons with disabilities.

The conference is underwritten by First Citizens and the United States Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago.

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