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The International Guild of Disabled Artists and Performers (IGODAP) offers you the chance to be part of a leading voice in the promotion of disability arts and culture worldwide. The Guild’s members are professional and amateur artists and performers of all genres — visual artists, screen and stage actors, dancers, comedians and humourists, musicians, singers, speakers, poets, writers, producers, directors and others working in the arts and entertainment industries. They experience physical, intellectual or learning disablement, mental illness, or a combination.

IGODAP is an ongoing project of Diversity New Zealand.

What are the benefits of following IGODAP?

When you follow you will receive regular emails informing you of ways to be more involved in disability and mainstream arts – rehearsals, seminars, training, media opportunities and articles to name a few. You also have access to disabled artists around the world, with whom to discuss ideas, problems and strategies via comments and on the Discuss page.

In addition the Guild includes those individuals and organisations who are involved in or supportive of disability art and performance.

IGODAP is not a large organisation and, therefore, cannot offer money or on-going support to artists, but we will do what we can to point you in the right direction.


To be a globally recognised collective voice of artists and performers who identify with impairment and/or disability.


1. To provide an opportunity for disabled artists and performers to network and exchange information, ideas and experience

2. To represent the global interests of disabled artists and performers

3. To facilitate the development of the global disability arts and culture movement

4. To be a leading international authority on disability arts, performance and culture

5. To demonstrate the value and presence of disability arts and culture to the global disability and mainstream communities

How did IGODAP get started?

The concept of IGODAP came from New Zealand comedian, poet, speaker and writer Philip Patston. In August 2001 he attended and performed at the kickstART! International Celebration of Disability Arts and Culture in Vancouver, Canada. This Celebration highlighted the distinct perspectives and creativity of artists and performers with all types of disabilities. The four-day event provided an opportunity to explore new territory in visual and literary arts, dance, theatre, music, film, video, and humour.

Philip returned at a loss to describe the Celebration and the impact it had on him as a disabled artist/performer. He found it impossible to articulate the experience of being in the company of more than 23 international and 44 Canadian performers with disability and 38 visual artists with disability. He failed to explain the superior talent and richness of performance and artistic expression he witnessed. His belief was affirmed that art and performance — be they literary, dance, theatre, music, film, video, or humour — are magic and creative forces. Mixed with the experience of disability, however, he saw them become a miraculous expression of the illusion of limitation and proof of the existence of infinite human potential.

He couldn’t shake the thought that the energy of kickstART! — and particularly the union of the artists and performers — could not be allowed to dissipate. He saw a need for disabled artists and performers to communicate, share ideas, be represented and promoted, and continue to build a global presence, in both the artistic and disability communities in order for the disability arts movement to mature and develop.

Philip knew of many organisations that organise and promote disability arts and performance events. However, there did not seem to be an international organization of artists and performers with disability. He thought there needed to be. He thought it was time. So he created it.



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