Festival of Equal Opportunities (10. F=M)

time: 24.05.2011. - 26.05.2011.
place: Zagreb, Croatia
organiser: DTI - Association of Physically Disabled
The 10th Maintenance of Festival of equal opportunities (10. F=M) will be held between 24-26th May. The Festival takes place at Ban Josip Jelacic Square in Zagreb, Croatia.

The aim of the Festival is to show creative possibilities of performers, spreading the message that people with disabilities should enjoy the same rights and obligations as other citizens. The organizer is Association of Physically Disabled in Zagreb.

Festival of equal opportunities (F=M) is a traditional international urban culture event with a program performed by persons with disabilities as well as by other musical-stage artists and visual artists. It takes place in the street so that every passerby can see and admire their works which, just as those by other artists, rank as high artistic achievements and impress the viewers.

Taking place by the end of May on the main city square, the Festival has, with its original form and program concept, for nine years enriched the cultural and tourist offer of the city of Zagreb and positively influenced the development of public consciousness of disability which is by many unjustly considered equal to inability.

The purpose of the Festival is to present creative capabilities of the program performers and to spread the message that the people with disabilities should enjoy the same rights and obligations as other citizens.

In order to develop awareness of the rights and freedoms of this isolated social group and contribute to equalizing their potentials with those of other citizens, the concept was put forth of establishing a public scene on which persons with disability would promote their values and, at the same time, give their contribution to the benefit of all. The first Festival took place in 2002 owing to the financial support of the Delegation of European Commission in the Republic of Croatia and moral support of the City of Zagreb and the continuation of the project has been supported by the relevant bodies of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, City of Zagreb and Zagreb’s Tourist Board. The Festival has been conceived and organized by the Association of Physically Disabled in Zagreb.

At the three day street event (from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.) over 900 performers will appear from country and abroad, of whom 600 arepersons with disabilities. The organizing team consists of about 20 experts and 130 targeted volunteers – students from a dozen of Faculties of the Zagreb University. In preparation for their work, student volunteers attend training on disability. Volunteering at the Festival they acquire precious experiences by working in teams and communicating with persons having various physical or sensual impairments as well as those with decreased mental capacities.

The Festival consists of music and stage performances, visual arts, film, educational, recreational and sports program. Music and stage program is composed of theatrical, dancing and musical items performed by both the disabled and the popular artists from show-business. Visual art program encompasses urban group exhibition featuring 60 authors of various artistic expressions and painting techniques bound together by physical disability as a common denominator. The viewers thus establish communications with the authors and relationships with their art works presented in the multitude of stylistic, thematic, expressional and other diversities. The film program features documentary films dealing with life and work of disabled persons. The educational and recreational program includes mobility games in which public figures and citizens, through a simulated impairment and on an improvised polygon, gain experience of moving in a wheelchair and orienting themselves with the aid of the white stick. The sports program consists of tournaments in sitting volleyball, bowling, tennis and street basketball in wheelchairs.

Every year the Festival is observed by more than 50 000 citizens -the lovers of music, theatre, visual and film arts. This Festival, national and international in character, asserts the status of the republic of Croatia as a country of social justice and promotes the reputation of the City of Zagreb among the great European family of healthy cities.

(Source: F=M)

(D.H., 25.05.2011)