Ahead of the Olympic Games in 2020, the City has launched TURN, an art programme open to all and aimed at bringing different people together through artistic expression. Running since 2015 and supervised by the artist Katsuhiko Hibino, the programme encourages participants to celebrate their individuality and differences through art, regardless of age, gender, nationality, or disability.
TURN consists of four programmes; TURN Interactive Programs, TURN LAND, TURN Meeting, and TURN Fes. In TURN Interactive Programs, artists visit workplaces and social welfare facilities, where they meet and spend time with the residents and staff, and lead enrichment activities. Through the programme, dancers have led movement workshops at factories employing people with intellectual disabilities or autism. Artists have also organised workshops at care homes to build more enjoyment into residents’ daily routines.
In TURN LAND, artists and social welfare centres work together to build inclusive public spaces for the benefit of their community. For example, artists have created a cafeteria that provides food and shelter for children in poverty and allows them to experience workshops and talks by people from across the world of work, whom they wouldn’t normally get to meet. These activities can turn facilities that function as welfare centres into cultural facilities where anyone can participate.
The activities and outcomes of these two programmes are showcased in TURN Fes, an annual festival where all the participating artists and facilities join together to share their progress. Artworks created through the programmes are exhibited, with talks and workshops from participating artists. Guided tours are available, along with sign language interpreters and volunteer helpers, providing an opportunity for everyone to experience and learn more about TURN activities. The third TURN Fes held in 2017, attracted over 2,000 attendees.
To further develop the programmes, artists and staff members from the participating facilities meet regularly to share their input. In 2017, five meetings were held with guest speakers from various backgrounds discussing the TURN programs from different perspectives in order to improve future activities.
Through these four programmes, TURN aims to influence how the society treats people’s differences. It wants these differences to be seen as unique and worth celebrating, rather than causing discomfort or unease. By redefining the role of art in the community, the ultimate goal is for a society in which everyone can accept each other for who they are and express themselves freely.