Thursday 03 December 2020
19:00 to 20:15
Online event (registration required)

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is annually observed on 3 December to promote the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities and to take action for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society and development.

This year, as part of our initiatives towards the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the British Council, along with our partners will be carrying out an online discussion on dance as a tool for the empowerment of people with disabilities.

The event will be carried out for a period of 1 hour and 15 minutes, and will include a panel discussion followed by audience Q&A. 

When you register online, you also have the ability to share any question or comment that you want to direct at any panellist. 

Registration free.


Prof Lars Waldorf


Lars Waldorf is Professor at Essex Law School. He has worked primarily on transitional justice and peacebuilding in Rwanda and Sri Lanka. He was Principal Investigator for a GCRF grant (2016-18) and a British Council grant (2018-19) on dance and legal empowerment in post-war Sri Lanka.

Dr Hetty Blades


Dr Hetty Blades is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) at Coventry University. She has worked on a number of research projects examining the intersections of dance and disability. She was Co-Investigator on Performing Empowerment (in collaboration with Lars Waldorf and VisAbility, funded by AHRC).

Dr Vipavinee Artpradid


A postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE), Coventry University (UK). She recently completed her PhD research titled ‘Dance, disability, and the pluralistic audience: A phenomenographic engagement’ and has an MA in Anthropology of Media from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, UK). Her research interests include applied educational and social research, performance studies, anthropology of dance and movement, and media, cultural and sociological theory.

Mahesh Umagiliya


A dancer and choreographer. He delivers VisAbility’s mixed-abled dance workshops along with Gerda König and VisAbility’s dance assistants. He also acts as VisAbility’s country representative. He also runs his dance company ‘Meranga Fine Arts Ensemble’. He has worked on a number of national and international dance projects in Germany and the US, including mixed-abled projects. In 2017, he received the Bunka award for his artistic achievement by the Japanese-Sri Lankan Friendship Cultural Fund.

Gerda König


A German mixed-abled dance choreographer. She is the co-founder of VisAbility. Since 2014, she runs VisAbility’s mixed-abled dance workshops with Mahesh Umagiliya in different communities. She is also the artistic director of 'DIN A13 tanzcompany', one of the leading mixed-abled dance ensemble on an international level, and has worked on a number of international projects in Africa, South America and Asia. She has won several awards by the German Cultural Ministry and the federal government.

Helena Marambio


Helena is a socio-legal scholar with expertise in disability rights. She is the co-founder of VisAbility and acts as its research coordinator, conducting VisAbility’s rights awareness workshops. She has recently completed a PhD in Law (University of Essex, UK) on the potential of legal empowerment for Tamil women with physical disabilities. Currently, she holds the position of Post Doctoral Research Associate (University of Lincoln, UK) investigating arts-based approaches for peacebuilding.

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