The Issue

The COVID-19 pandemic decimated the arts, and disabled artists were particularly disrupted. While people with disabilities are at increased risk of facing barriers to inclusion, the pandemic also raised awareness about the need for increased access and inclusion for those with disabilities.

During the pandemic Professor Ruth Rentschler and Dr Boram Lee sought ways to create people-to-people connections in disability arts and forged a collaboration between Australia and South Korea. The aim was to create inclusive online arts practices that developed skills and formed career-building opportunities for disabled artists.

Access and inclusion for online or hybrid artistic practices and events requires urgent attention given the limited resources and infrastructure available to artists.

Our People and Partners

Professor Ruth Rentschler and Dr Boram Lee have developed strong partnerships with artists, industry groups and government departments. They have collaborated with Restless Dance Theatre, 29 Dong Dance Theatre and Korean Music Project. South Australian filmmaker Matt Byrne will film the documentary series that will record Counterpoise.

Counterpoise is a dance theatre collaboration between Restless Dance Theatre (Australia), 29 Dong Dance Theatre (South Korea) and Korean Music Project (South Korea) that is directed by Michelle Ryan. According to Professor Rentschler, the beauty of Counterpoise is that “dance and music are universal languages. Barriers just melt away”. Counterpoise consists of three short performances and is the centrepiece for a documentary series called Dancing Against the Odds which will be co-produced by Professor Rentschler and Dr Lee. Dancing Against the Odds will be shown at film and arts festivals worldwide and will create a permanent record of these ground-breaking performances.

Key sponsors include the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australia-Korea Foundation and the Arts Council Korea.


“COVID-19 turned the creative industries and our project upside-down. But pivoting to the digital brought far more opportunities than hurdles. It transformed people’s lives,” said Dr Lee.

Connect2Abilities is an internet platform that fosters cross-cultural engagement and collaboration for artists in Australia and South Korea. It promotes inclusive arts practices that transcend boundaries between countries, disciplines, and abilities by creating person-to-person connections.

Connect2Abilities hosts performers from Australia and South Korea and brings together musicians and dancers with and without disability. Professor Rentschler has said that Connect2Abilities “celebrates diversity and inclusion, self-expression and individuality, not just in the arts, but throughout society – it shifts attitudes about capabilities of artists with disability”. It also creates skill development, employment, and career opportunities for diverse artists, and facilitates cultural dialogue between two nations using the universal languages of dance and music.

Engage with us

Professor Ruth Rentschler and Dr Boram Lee believe in creating unique but universal artistic experiences that build partnerships that are lateral, non-linear and anti-hierarchical, and that have diversity at their core.

The Connect2Abilitites project has demonstrated the significant social, artistic, economic and intercultural benefits of online person-to-person artistic collaboration. It has established a platform for the exchange of culture, skills and knowledge that can be applied within other communities, both locally and internationally, and across diverse groups of people.

Please contact us for further information, or to discuss opportunities for collaboration.