Our friends at Unlimited are offering £500,000 of commissions for new work from disabled artists and disabled-led companies based in England, Wales and Scotland
Opportunity: Unlimited commissions now open
Jo Bannon, an Unlimited Commission fund alumni in We Are F*cked
This autumn, Unlimited launches its latest commissioning round with £500,000 for ambitious work by disabled artists and disabled-led companies. It's looking for ideas that provoke, challenge and break form from across all artforms – whether that's theatre, dance, live art, music, literature or visual arts. There are three different awards available, with opportunities for artists based in England, Scotland and Wales. See our At a glance section below for details.
Unlimited is a commissions programme for disabled artists and disabled-led companies, delivered by Shape Arts and Artsadmin. Since 2013, it has awarded over £4 million to over 300 artists – reaching audiences of more than 2.6 million people globally in person and online.
While restrictions to halt the spread of Covid-19 are in place, many artists and companies are unable to tour and share work. Against this backdrop, Unlimited is committed to keep commissioning artists, continuing to amplify the voices and visions of disabled artists.
'It's vital that disabled artists are part of the new future that we're creating within our arts sector'
Jo Verrent, Senior Producer for Unlimited says: 'We think it's vital that disabled artists are part of the new future that we're creating within our arts sector.' As a key partner of Unlimited, we at the British Council support its aim to change the landscape for disabled artists in the UK and internationally.
Previous commissions have included Jonny Cotsen's HHA (Hearing Hearing AIDS) (theatre), Joel Brown's 111 (dance), Sonny Nwachukwu's Circles (literature), Noëmi Lakmaier's Never Happier (visual arts), and the British Paraorchestra's The Nature of Why (music).
'Our partnership with Unlimited and our work with Unlimited commissioned artists, and the disability arts sector more widely, are essential to our cultural relations mission,' explains Neil Webb, Director Theatre and Dance at the British Council. 'These programmes help to place D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists at the centre of international conversations about a better, more inclusive and more equitable world.'
Watch this video for more about the commissioning fund and how you can apply
At a glance:
There are three commission strands:
1. Main Commission
- Funding partners: Farnham Maltings Wellcome Collection, Arts Admin and Pentabus
- Open to: Established artists and disabled-led organisations based in England and Wales with a strong track record of creating work and reaching audiences
- Funding available: You can apply for between £20,000–£80,000
2. Research and Development Commission
- Funding partners: Southbank Centre, Bagri Foundation, Polka Theatre, Museum of the Home and Sage Gateshead
- Open to: Established artists based in England, Wales and Scotland who have an idea that needs development
- Funding available: You can apply for between £5,000–£10,000
2. Emerging Artists Commission
- Funding partners: The Art House and Coventry 2021
- Open to: Artists at the beginning of their careers who are aged 18+, not in full time education and living in England, Wales or Scotland
- Funding available: £2,500–£10,000
How do I apply?
Head over to the Unlimited website to access the application portal. The portal is open from 1–27 October 2020.
Who can apply?
Unlimited's work is informed by the social model of disability, which defines disability as a social construct where physical and attitudinal barriers exclude disabled people. 'If you define as a disabled person, if you meet barriers in your career progression then we encourage you to apply,' says Jo Verrent Senior Producer for Unlimited.
Applications must be disabled-led. However, the work doesn't need to cover disability, Unlimited want to commission work from a range of artists across artforms covering a range of themes.
All three commission strands are open to disabled artists or disabled-led organisations based in England and Wales. The Research and Development and the Emerging Artists Commissions are open to those based in England, Wales and Scotland.
See the video above for information about the commissions. Visit Unlimited's website to get this information in alternative video and text formats.
Check out Unlimited's Frequently Asked Questions.
Find out more:
> Take a look at the exceptional work commissioned by Unlimited
> Watch a video that explains the social model of disability
> Read our feature exploring how to avoid stereotyping disabled artists
> Learn more about Unlimited's partners