CONNECT⇄_ is a project that promotes engagement with diversity and an inclusive society through art.
Carrying on the concept of the Kokokara exhibition held in Tokyo from 2016 to 2019, this initiative was launched in 2020 with the goals of supporting artistic activities and expanding appreciation opportunities for people with disabilities, and deepening mutual understanding through art and culture among people regardless of whether or not they have disabilities.
In 2020, various facilities in Kyoto’s Okazaki cultural zone staged exhibitions, workshops, online programs, and so on with the theme of “Openness in Art, the Body, and Design.” Also, we were pleased to welcome the philosopher Kiyokazu Washida, the architect and Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art director Jun Aoki, and the former National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto director Masaki Yanagihara for a special three-way talk on the topic of cultural facilities in an era of harmonious coexistence. It was an opportunity for people to talk, think and act together, transcending boundaries among cultural facilities.
Meanwhile, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there is a more urgent need than ever to explore new possibilities for access to cultural facilities and interpersonal relationships through culture and the arts. The 2020 project was initially intended to include workshops for appreciating art through all five senses, such as enjoying works by touching them, and special programs for children from special-education schools, but unfortunately it was necessary to refrain from implementing several programs so as to avoid physical contact and close proximity.
The 2021 edition of CONNECT⇄_, based around the key words “Connect, Continue, Expand,” expands initiatives outward from the Okazaki area to elsewhere in Kyoto City and Kyoto Prefecture. It offers opportunities to come together and consider new possibilities, the importance of connections among people, and the significance of people’s connections to the arts.
All people have the right to enjoy and engage in cultural and artistic activities on a level playing field, regardless of whether or not they are living with disabilities. Promoting inclusion in culture and the arts by persons with disabilities removes existing physical and psychological barriers to participation and creativity, and leads to our building a society with a diverse range of options open to everyone. This will contribute to the advancement and elevation of the arts in general, and also to the realization of an inclusive society in Japan.
In recent years, there has been systemic progress in Japan with passage of laws such as the Basic Act for the Promotion of Culture and the Arts and the Act on Promotion of Cultural and Artistic Activities by Persons with Disabilities, and a nationwide increase in activities promoting participation in and enjoyment of the arts and culture without barriers due to disability. Inspired by Tokyo’s selection as the site of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, the Agency for Cultural Affairs organized the three-day exhibition Kokokara: First Steps on Art, Design, and Disability in conjunction with the World Forum on Arts and Culture held in October 2016, with the aim of strengthening interest in inclusion and cultural diversity. The exhibition was subsequently held annually, with the same objective, and in 2020 multiple cultural facilities in Okazaki Park, Kyoto collaborated to hold CONNECT⇄ : Openness in Art, the Body, and Design, the successor to the Kokokara exhibition.
In its second year, CONNECT⇄_ continues with its mission to “offer opportunities for people with diverse sensibilities and characteristics, regardless of whether or not they have disabilities, to easily access art, culture, and history, and for participants to connect and mutually exchange insights.” To develop this mission further, a range of programs will be implemented in line with the initiative’s overall concept of people connecting across various distances and differences, including those of place, time, background, individual character, and sensibilities.
In this time when the coronavirus has become a fact of life, and in light of ever-diversifying ways of engaging with the arts and history, this year, in addition to offline programs carried out on-site and online programs that can be enjoyed from home, “connected programs” that link online and offline programs will be offered so as to heighten participants’ enjoyment and create further connections among people, between people and culture, and among cultural facilities.
CONNECT⇄_ includes a range of programs including exhibitions, workshops and streaming videos. You can visit venues in person to see exhibitions and attend workshops, and enjoy watching videos online––please check individual pages for details of each program. Some programs must be applied for in advance.
Please contact the office. We will address each request according to individual circumstances. (Tel: 075-255-9757, Fax: 075-255-9763)
All programs are free. However, note that fees are charged for other exhibitions on view that are not CONNECT⇄_ programs, as well as for admission to the zoo (admission is free or discounted for those showing a certificate of disability [shogaisha techo]). For details, please see the websites of each facility.
There are multiple venues in Kyoto City and Kyoto Prefecture. Please see the individual webpages of each program and websites of venues. Also, while CONNECT⇄_ is in progress, there will be a dedicated information area in the first-floor lobby of the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto.
Please contact the office. We will listen to your needs and respond according to the circumstances. (Tel: 075-255-9757, Fax: 075-255-9763)
Please contact the office by telephone or fax. (Tel: 075-255-9757, Fax: 075-255-9763)