A three-year commissioning programme, Unlimited, has been launched, to support disabled artists in developing work in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Unlimited will help disabled artists develop their practice, and encourage the development of new relationships and collaborations with producers, venues and promoters. It will also increase distribution of disabled artists’ work (through digital means and touring), affording greater opportunities for audiences to see the work.

The national delivery partners for the Unlimited commissioning programme, Shape and Artsadmin, were awarded a £1.5 million grant supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England earlier this month, and have announced today the official launch of the Unlimited website www.weareunlimited.org.uk and the delivery team to include disability industry heavyweights Jo Verrent and Ruth Gould.

Those already on board as partners since the announcement include: Creative Scotland, the British Council, Southbank Centre, and DaDaFest.

Leonie Bell, Acting Director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland, says: “We are delighted to be supporting this new round of Unlimited commissions. The 2012 Unlimited programme saw ground-working work being produced to great acclaim in the UK and internationally by talented artists from Scotland. We look forward to enabling and celebrating new artists voices through this next round.”

Carole McFadden, Programme Manager for East Asia, China & Hong Kong, Middle East and North Africa, British Council says: “The British Council is once again delighted to be working on Unlimited.  Given the unprecedented number of works which toured internationally following the Unlimited Festival in 2012, we are looking forward to the next round of excellent work created by disabled artists for possible inclusion in our global arts programmes. This a very exciting opportunity for the UK to demonstrate its excellence in the Arts and Disability sector and we are pleased to be able to play a part in it.”

Jo Verrent joins the Unlimited team as Senior Producer following over 15 years of working in the disability sector at strategic levels in arts and culture, with national agencies and on the ground working with organisations and individuals, embedding the belief that diversity adds texture, turning policy into real action.  

Renowned for being the co-creator of PUSH ME, a groundbreaking film project focusing on Unlimited artists as part of the cultural olympiad and SYNC, a leadership development programme reframing the work of artists and focusing on the interface between disability and leadership, Jo is a Clore fellow, and believes that ‘different’ is delicious not divergent. 

British Council, London 2012 and the UK arts councils commissioned 29 pieces of work by disabled artists in 2012. These included: 

1. Ménage à Trois, a study of love, obsession, loneliness and manipulation through dance theatre from award-winning performer Claire Cunningham and choreographer/video artist Gail Sneddon

2. MACROPOLIS by Joel Simon and Flickrpix, a light-hearted animated film which tracks the adventures through the city of two toys with impairments, which have been discarded from a factory production line.  

3. The Dean Rodney Singers, an international interactive multimedia project which saw the creation of a global band of 72 musicians and dancers. This project was produced by Heart n Soul under the creative guidance of 21-year-old artist Dean Rodney, lead singer of The Fish Police.


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