Nalitari’s Program Manager, Yoana Wida Kristiawati, had the opportunity to be involved in the International Conference on Disability and Diversity in Asia in Malang. In addition to being a speaker in a parallel session with the theme ‘Women, Gender, Youth and Identity’, Yoana had the opportunity to attend various discussion sessions with researchers and practitioners as well as the government officers.
At the conference, an idea was pitched that the commitment to increase social inclusion was not the responsibility of certain parties. Synergy is needed from all stakeholders so those all-important aspects can be improved, including education, infrastructure, employment and innovation. For example, Ocky Karna Radjasa (Director of Research and Community Service, Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education) stated that the government had tried to contribute by drafting regulations and providing research frameworks that encourage inclusiveness. Darren O’Donovan from La Trobe University in his presentation stated the importance of investment on disability. He illustrated how an inclusive economy became a substantial part of economic growth.
So, as an inclusive art organization, what is the role of Nalitari in increasing social inclusion in Indonesia?
Since its establishment as a community in 2013, Nalitari has continued proving its existence and promoting inclusivity through dance. With the mission to create a safe space for diverse humans to dance to inspire a more inclusive society and our vision to be a leading voice of inclusive dance in Indonesia and globally, by empowering our participants through high-quality programs and inclusive leadership to inspire changes in attitudes towards diverse people, we have carried out many activities related to inclusive dance, starting from performing at various events, filling workshops, and being a speaker at national and international happenings.
We have worked with individuals from various backgrounds, including people with disabilities and marginalized group. One of the recent and notable events is Nalitari was invited to become the speaker of Indonesia Development Forum 2019 by the Ministry of National Planning. We talked about how art practice could be an inspiration as well as development space for a more creative and inclusive economy.
Indonesian society is indeed full of diversity but not all understand how to live in this diverse community. Therefore, society needs concrete examples to appreciate and live within this diversity. Nalitari has successfully existed to be one of the concrete examples of inclusiveness applications using its creative activities. One of the challenges in mainstreaming disability in development is paradigm issues. One of the common paradigms is that people with disabilities are seen as objects of development where they are placed as ‘recipients’ of charity. Therefore, the existence of Nalitari has become increasingly important because art is one of the most effective paths to change people’s perception because it demonstrates their active involvement. Through dance, Nalitari invites people to develop relation as well as understanding towards each other.
In addition, inclusive dance is able to have an impact on the dancers themselves. Through a safe space to express themselves, dancers also gain a secure space to explore themselves. Self-respect is built, and affirmation of their social identity becomes more positive. These more positive self-affirmations will undoubtedly become the initial capital for them to be actively involved in the sustainable development of social inclusion with a broader context. Their active involvement is, of course, very important because we know assuredly that ‘Nothing about them without them’.
International Conference on Disability and Diversity in Asia is a biennale conference held by AIDRAN (The Australian-Indonesia Disability Research and Advocacy), Law Faculty of Brawijaya University and PSLD UB. This year, the conference was conducted at Brawijaya University in Malang, 24-25 September 2019. The theme was ‘Theorizing Advocacy and Research for Disability Policy and Social Inclusion: Experiences from Asia’. This conference was conducted in collaboration with Kementerian PPN/ BAPPENAS, Australian Government, Knowledge Sector Initiative, and La Trobe University.