International Aspirations – Our Placement Holders

Jo Verrent, Senior Producer for Unlimited, speaking in Indonesia. Image by British Council.

Taking inspiration from Morwenna Collett’s placement in 2014, Unlimited has, in partnership with the British Council, been looking for someone to join us on an international placement to assist us with our work supporting the two Unlimited festivals this September…

Unlimited is delighted to report that, thanks to having had so many outstanding applications and with additional support from Arts Council England, the Unlimited team selected not one but two worthy people to undertake our placement from the huge number of high quality candidates from across the globe.

We’d like to introduce Sokny Onn from Cambodia and Fred Batale from Uganda, who will be immersing themselves within the Unlimited team in a fantastic collaborative opportunity to share knowledge, skills and empowerment from unique perspectives within the sector of disability arts.

Sokny, Senior Manager at Epic Arts Cambodia, tells us that she ‘can’t wait to part of the team’ and, over the course of her ten-week placement with us, starting early this August, would like ‘to learn how Unlimited advocates and influences donors and government bodies and how to make positive changes through the arts at both social and policy levels’.

She summed up the value of the placement very well: ‘I am also excited to bring the skills and knowledge back to my country. I want to use the skills that I gain to continue to serve the artists with disabilities and people with disabilities through my work with Epic Arts. I want to be one of the voices to influence the policy makers in my country to develop a more inclusive policy in arts, culture and education in regards to people with disabilities.’

Fred established Disability Arts Project Uganda, and is currently working with Thirty Two Degrees East Ugandan Arts Trust, and will be joining us for three weeks from the end of August. He echoed similar sentiments to Sokny: ‘Personally, I am excited to be part of this program but I am also reflecting on how beneficial it will be to the art scene in terms of bringing disability work to the international arena and learning different skills on how to embed works of Ugandan people with disabilities into the national and international art scene.’

The placement opportunity came about as a result of our evolving relationship with British Council, who provide support, contacts and strategic development hand in hand with Unlimited. In the words of Dana Macleod, Head of Arts, British Council (Scotland):

‘The British Council’s Cultural Skills team is delighted to support a new international initiative offering disabled producers a professional development opportunity working with the Unlimited Team.In parallel to the stellar artistic talent, we are building capacity behind the scenes by enabling Unlimited to provide a unique training ground for producers to develop practical and leadership skills and to exchange knowledge and practice.’

Over the next few months both Sokny and Fred will be giving us important insights into their regions and their personal perspectives on the festivals, so watch this space for more from them. For Unlimited, it’s all about the exchange – sharing learning, perspectives and skills. As Jo Verrent, Senior Producer for Unlimited says, ‘for us, it’s a perfect next step – we are supporting disabled artists to take their rightful place in the cultural sector and we need to ensure the same for all roles within the arts sector. But that’s not the best – for us, we get to learn from the practice in other countries, about their approaches to art, to disability and to the interconnections between the two. It’s win-win.’

The whole Unlimited team will also be covering the Unlimited Festivals at Southbank Centre, London and Tramway, Glasgow, where Sokny, Fred and the whole Unlimited team look forward to meeting you. Sign up to our newsletter and social media pages for all the latest.

See you in September!