Un-Label brings symposium to Turkey in plea for free and open society


Un-Label, an international cultural project which brings together disabled and non-disabled arts practitioners across Europe will be delivering a double bill of performance and symposium in Turkey in May. This will start with a guest performance of the new production, L: Do I Need Labels to Love? at Nilüfer Belediyesi Theater in Bursa. Framing the performance will be a symposium with Turkish partner, SKYGD, which will be held in Istanbul on the 14th of May.


Due to the political situation in Turkey Un-Label had to cancel a guest performance it had planned for December 2016. After a long period of a sensible balance between security concerns and political as well as artistic conviction, the performance of L – Do I need Labels to Love? will finally go ahead in Bursa instead of Istanbul as originally intended.

L – Do I need Labels to Love? combines dance, theatre, music, poetry and acrobatics into a unique high class mixed-abled performance. The international company Un-Label consists of artists from different disciplines, backgrounds and with various abilities.

Their aim is to be inspired by diversity and to expand the creative boundaries. Beyond all labels and stereotypes, it is possible to meet different people and to create a space for creative togetherness. By this means, the performance also serves as a vehicle of an important socio-political discourse on diversity.

The Symposium will take place on the 14th of May 2017 at the Social Incubation Center in Istanbul. It aims to create the terms for an interactive and a fruitful discussion between representatives of artistic and cultural organisations, organisations of disabled people, the academic community and civil society.

Turkey has ratified the UN-Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which should guarantee the full participation of disabled people. However, the reality hardly provides access and possibilities of participation. As a result, disabled people are rarely seen in public social life – especially in art and culture.

Where can we locate inclusion in Turkey currently? To what extent can we create opportunities for cultural participation, promoting social change, despite the difficult political situation? How can we support disabled artists to access art workshops and productions? How can we develop the implementation of human rights for disabled people in culture, both as audience and participants?

The Un-Label Symposium organized by SKYGD will reflect on these circumstances through lectures and panel discussions. Invited are representatives from organisations of the art sector, disability rights as well as artists, academics and the interested public.

Un-Label’s Lisette Reuter says:

“At the beginning of our project Un-Label in early 2015, none of the later political upheavals within the EU and between the participating Un-label partner countries Germany, Greece, UK and Turkey could have been foreseen.”

“Today in 2017, the political conditions from the perspective of open societies have enormously deteriorated. It is therefore all the more important  that we continue to be active and engaged to fight for an democratic and tolerant society. With our Un-Label Symposium on the 14th of May in Istanbul we want to create and support a socio-political discourse on diversity. This is more important than ever in today’s socially and politically changing times.”