Individuals and human culture as a whole share a mutually beneficial relationship and are in fact inseparable. The value system, life philosophy and attitude behind all forms of cultural activities are the foundation on which we find our common ground and communicate. As we become immersed in cultures, we accumulate strength and energy to express ourselves through all sorts of life experiences and creative works. In the process, we interact, communicate, share and network with one another, subsequently building and shaping our cultural-scapes. Various regions and groups of people also develop vibrant and multifaceted cultural presentations due to the influence of subcultures. Meanwhile, as different cultures meet and intersect, these encounters also inspire changes and innovation.
Each and every one of us is deeply influenced by the culture we belong to, and each of us can be the unique force that shapes the culture. Therefore, cultural accessibility and social inclusion are the concepts and actions needed for a civilization to move forward in realizing a vision of respect for all.
“Cultural accessibility” focuses on ensuring everyone’s right to access and participate in cultural activities, regardless of an individual’s identity, age, gender, geological origin, ethnic background, or whether he or she has any disabilities. “Social inclusion” seeks to honor the uniqueness of each individual and build mutual understanding and appreciation among various groups. With cultural accessibility, each individual has the right and understanding to acquire cultural resources and express themselves through cultural participation.
Meanwhile, social inclusion brings about interaction and fusion among heterogeneous cultures. Cultural accessibility and social inclusion spark new ideas and continuous cultural innovation , resulting in mutual acceptance and love that are inherent to human nature.
Every individual is fallible. Cultural accessibility and social inclusion are not limited to the so-called minority. These two concepts apply to all of mankind and should be explored with a holistic point of view. Holism is about fullness and completeness. Educationally speaking, holism regards a human being as a whole person that is greater than what is visible, a person that is closely connected to the world physically, emotionally, and spiritually . Holism emphasizes the development of each individual’s potential and helps nurture an individual into a whole person who can relate with the society in harmony. The ultimate purpose of cultural accessibility and social inclusion, therefore, is to adopt the universal design concept for contents and services, making cultural institutions “accessible to all.” Universal design is not a scattered service in response to the physical impairments of some people. Rather, it is a more comprehensive way of thinking that takes into account everyone’s physical and cultural needs .
The International Conference on Cultural Accessibility and Social Inclusion is an occasion for professionals and practitioners to exchange ideas and learn from each other. At the conference, professionals from cultural facilities, such as museums, performing arts centers, and professionals from various fields, such as cultural and arts administration, special education, arts education, social work, mass communication and universal design, will gather and identify a path through which cultural accessibility and social inclusion can be realized and advanced.
This International Conference is also an exchange platform beyond borders and geographical limitations. Through activities such as speeches, lectures, research presentations, roundtable exchange on practical workshops, this Conference aims to provide opportunities for participants to learn from their counterparts from other countries, share their insights and practical experiences, hoping to promote the exchange of ideas among different places, accelerate the progress of cultural accessibility and social inclusion, and become the soft power that shapes and changes the world.