Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Ruth Fabby

Ruth Fabby, MBE, DL
Artistic Director, Disability Arts Cymru (United Kingdom)

Born in Liverpool, Ruth has had hearing aids since the age of 6. She found it hard to find vocation for being perceived as deaf. At 22, Ruth trained in dance and discovered physical theatre. She attended the Liverpool Theatre School in Dance & Drama and began work, firstly as a performer, and over time, gradually developed skills in creative producing. In her mid-30s, Ruth discovered the wild and wonderful work of Disability Arts. She was appointed Director of Disability Arts Cymru (DAC) in August 2019. DAC is the lead organisation for disability and the arts in Wales, supporting members to achieve their creative aspirations, develop new work and engage in creative practice. DAC also acts as an advocacy agency and training specialist to a range of arts and third sector organisations.

Caroline Bowditch

Caroline Bowditch
Chief Executive Officer, Arts Access Victoria (Australia)

After 16 years living and working in the UK, Caroline Bowditch returned to Australia to take up the role as Chief Executive Officer at Arts Access Victoria, the leading arts and disability organisation in Victoria dedicated to the social and artistic transformation for people with disability. She is also best known as a performer, maker, teacher, speaker and mosquito buzzing in the ears of the arts industry in the UK and further afield.

Panel Discussion Speakers

Stevens Chan

Stevens Chan
Founder, SOS Missions Berhad (Malaysia)

Stevens Chan, an entrepreneur, lost his eyesight to glaucoma at the age of 45 in 2007. He found a new calling in life and founded SOS Missions Berhad (a non-profit organisation) in 2011 with his wife, to stop unnecessary blindness and encourage others, like him, who have lost their eyesight. Stevens is also a social activist advocating for inclusive and equality rights for the disabled, and a social entrepreneur with the internationally renowned Dialogue in the Dark, a franchise with presence in more than 50 countries championing access for the blind or visually impaired persons.

Jean Loo

Jean Loo
Co-Founder & Lead Producer, Superhero Me (Singapore)

Jean practises social advocacy, creative arts and community mobilisation to assemble projects that push for progress on inclusive education and equality in childhood. She co-founded SUPERHERO ME, an inclusive arts movement that focuses on fostering social interaction between children of different needs and mentors a network of creatives and facilitators. Jean is interested in growing inclusive practices in schools and the community. For her commitment to inclusion through the arts, Jean was conferred the Singapore Youth Award 2018.

Sofia Begum

Sofia Begum
Programmer, Children & Youth, The Esplanade Co Ltd (Singapore)

As an Esplanade Programmer for Children and Youth, Sofia has produced, presented and developed theatre work for children. Sofia produces PLAYtime!, an immersive theatre experience for 2 to 6 year olds which also includes sensory-friendly performances. Aside from her theatre work, she also works on illustrations for children, and designs activities for them in the Esplanade PIP's PLAYbox. In 2020, she worked on PLAYlab – a new development initiative that aims to provide a platform for artists to process and create work for children of diverse needs and abilities.

Tan Beng Tian
Photo by Tucky's Photography

Tan Beng Tian
Independent Theatre Practitioner (Singapore)

Beng Tian is a disciple of the late renowned traditional hand puppet master Li Bofen and is a recipient of the JCCI Singapore Foundation Culture Award in 2005. In her twenty-four years career, she has worked with established arts companies such as Drama Box, The Finger Players, The Necessary Stage, The Theatre Practice, Toy Factory Productions, W!ld Rice and also collaborated with Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, and international artist Zuni Icosahedron (Hong Kong). She is a proud member of SDEA (Singapore Drama Educators Association) and Access Arts Hub, which aims to make arts more accessible for persons with disabilities in Singapore. In 2019, she collaborated with a diverse team of creatives to stage "Not in My Lifetime", a production that caters equally to both non-disabled and disabled audiences.

Breakout Session Speakers

Alicia Teng

Alicia Teng
Assistant Director, Community & Access, National Gallery Singapore (Singapore)

Alicia Teng currently heads the Community and Access team, which oversees access initiatives, volunteer management and community engagement at National Gallery Singapore. Over the last year, she led the development of access programmes such as "Silent Tour", "Gallery Signs Tour and Storytelling", "Chinese Dialect Tours and Sister Guides" in partnership with community stakeholders to better engage with diverse communities at the Gallery. Her 11 years of art administration experience include marketing, sales and development for the Singapore Arts Festival and partnership development at the Gallery, prior to her transfer to Community and Access.

Kavitha Krishnan

Kavitha Krishnan
Artistic Director, Resident Choreographer, Maya Dance Theatre Ltd (Singapore)

Kavitha Krishnan is the co-founder and artistic director of Maya Dance Theatre (MDT). She is trained in Bharatha Natyam and creates inter-disciplinary dance-theatre works to bring insight to social issues. In 2018, Kavitha founded Diverse Abilities Dance Collective (DADC) as part of MDT which enables the co-existence of both abled and differently abled performers. Kavitha is also a qualified Occupational Therapist with a Masters in Community Services Management from University of Swansea, Wales, and a recipient of Artistic Excellence Award from the late S R Nathan, Singapore's sixth and longest serving President.

Paul Adams

Paul Adams
Learning & Engagement Manager, Singapore Repertory Theatre (Singapore)

Paul Adams is the Learning & Engagement Manager at Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT). His focus is facilitating and managing arts education programmes and participation opportunities across formal education, community outreach and venue-based programmes. Paul has been involved in many Access and Inclusion programmes, including working with Shattering Images, a theatre company for adults with learning difficulties and Alternative Outcomes, a company of adults experiencing homelessness. He is a keen champion of the Access Arts Hub established in Singapore.

Peter Sau

Peter Sau
Artist-Educator, Theatre Director and Producer (Singapore)

Peter is an artist-educator, theatre director and producer who facilitates the professional development of artists with disabilities. He holds a Professional Diploma in Intercultural Theatre (Acting) from Intercultural Theatre Institute, Singapore, and a M.A in Advanced Theatre Practice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (UK). As a recipient of the Young Artist Award (2011) and 2015 Life! Theatre Awards ‵Best Actor′, he teaches in mainstream contexts and expands his practice through creating original and authentic performances with D/deaf and disabled artists.

Dawn-joy Leong

Dawn-joy Leong
Researcher and Multi-Artist (Singapore)

Dr. Dawn-joy Leong is a researcher and artist with an MPhil in music composition and PhD in Autism, Neurodiversity and Multi-Art Praxis. Dr. Leong is Autistic, and passionately advocates for disabled leadership, equity and representation in all areas of life involving the disabled.

Claire Teo

Claire Teo
Theatre Actor and Singer (Singapore)

Claire graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts with a Diploma in Performance, Distinction in the Trinity Guild Hall: Initial Text Examinations and a Grade 3 in Classical Ballet. Her performances included Cake Theatrical Productions' "Rubber Girl on the Loose" and Pink Gajah Theatre's "Alter Egos". Closely mentored by Peter Sau, she performed in "Making A Stand" (2018) and "Something About Home" (commissioned by National Gallery Singapore for the Light to Night Festival 2020), which creatively combines Spoken English, Singapore Sign Language, Creative Captioning and Audio Description.

Partho Bhowmick

Partho Bhowmick
Founder, Blind with Camera & Beyond Sight Foundation (India)

Partho is a Mumbai-based photographer, researcher, curator, writer and the founder of the Beyond Sight Foundation. In 2006, he started Blind With Camera to teach photography to visually impaired persons. In 2010, he launched the world's first virtual e-school for photography for the blind. He has trained over two thousand visually impaired persons in photography in India, UK, Greece, Singapore and Malaysia. He has designed and curated several inclusive photography exhibitions in India and abroad. He also conducts blindfold sensory photography workshops for the sighted (blindfolded), with visually impaired photographers as trainers. He is a resource person for several Art Access projects in India. Partho has written three books, and he is a TEDx speaker, as well as a recipient of several national and international awards.

Moderators

Justin Lee

Justin Lee
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Policy Studies (Singapore)

Justin Lee is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies. He is interested in issues related to disability, community development and social services. He has created a Wikipedia platform that allows mass participation in the mapping of social needs (socialcollab.sg) and co-founded a skilled volunteer matching platform (serve.sg). He is also Chairperson of ArtsWok Collaborative, a non-profit organisation engaged in arts-based community development.

Aruna Johnson

Aruna Johnson
Deputy Director, Education & Development, National Arts Council (Singapore)

Aruna Johnson is an educator and administrator with 20 years of experience in a diverse range of roles. She was formerly a Head of Department, Curriculum Specialist, and Vice-Principal at the Ministry of Education (MOE). She has a MA in English Studies with a specialisation in Literature and Film History from National University of Singapore (NUS), and an Ed.M in Curriculum & Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has been involved in various arts projects over the years with groups such as the Little Bird Theatre, the Asian Film Archives and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2016, she joined the National Arts Council (NAC) as Deputy Director for Education & Development, and now works with schools, artists, government and corporate partners to shape arts education policies and programmes for children and youth across the pre-tertiary education sector.

Paul Adams

Paul Adams
Learning & Engagement Manager, Singapore Repertory Theatre (Singapore)

Paul Adams is the Learning & Engagement Manager at Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT). His focus is facilitating and managing arts education programmes and participation opportunities across formal education, community outreach and venue-based programmes. Paul has been involved in many Access and Inclusion programmes, including working with Shattering Images, a theatre company for adults with learning difficulties and Alternative Outcomes, a company of adults experiencing homelessness. He is a keen champion of the Access Arts Hub established in Singapore.

Alecia Neo

Alecia Neo
Artist and Co-founder of Brack (Singapore)

Alecia Neo's socially engaged practice unfolds primarily through photography, video, and participatory workshops that address modes of mobility, reciprocity, caregiving, and wellbeing to explore issues of identity and the search for self. She is the co-founder of Brack, a platform for socially engaged art, and the founder of Unseen Art Initiatives, an inclusive platform promoting access and innovations for persons with visual-impairment by building capacity through the arts. Neo was the recipient of the Young Artist Award in 2016 and the Singapore Youth Award in 2019 and an Artist-in-Residence at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore Residencies Programme.