Leaving, but I know I’ll be back again.

By Jhinuk Sarkar

I’m very sad to say this will be my last blog for Unlimited. I’ll be leaving Shape soon but will remain an advocate of access to the arts for artists and audiences. I will be joining the access team at the University Arts London and I’m really excited to learn how access is organised internally in a different arts organisation.

Whilst my new role will be exciting and a new challenge I’m looking forward to, I’m pretty sad to be going – so thought I’d write down the reasons why:

 

Unlimited History

Shape hired me in 2011 to be a Project Coordinator for the original Unlimited programme. Then, Unlimited was funded by the Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council Wales, British Council, and of course LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games).

Being a tiny cog in that massive wheel of production, which saw 29 commissions across art-forms achieve their ambition in 2012 was definitely an experience never to forget. My colleague Fiona, at Shape is pulling together a fantastic summary of what happened in the form of an exhibition to be displayed at the Unlimited Festival in September 2014, make sure you check it out.

 

Shape after 2012

After September 2012 when the first Unlimited festival was over, I worked on a variety of research and evaluation projects. This was a result of working with many artists directly during Unlimited and addressing access for artists and audiences on a large scale. At this point I’d realised how much I had absorbed in such a short space of time – and how much more there always is to learn!

I was fortunate to combine some of my previous skills in working in galleries with my new experiences on access, by joining the Arts and Exhibitions team at Shape. For this period I assisted the team with Shape’s regular programming of the artists’ residency ‘Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary award’ and the annual Shape Open exhibition, open to disabled and non-disabled artists who respond to a disability focused theme. This integrated knowledge led me to Brazil through the British Council’s Transform programme. I assisted two excellent trainers from Shape who conducted access audits and scoped the training needs of six arts and cultural venues including theatres, museums and galleries in São Paulo with a view to developing future networks in Rio de Janeiro.

 

 

Shape trainer Zoe Partington being interviewed by the local news in São Paulo on Access.
Shape trainer Zoe Partington being interviewed by the local news in São Paulo on Access.
Shape trainer Barbara Lisicki speaking at the ‘Artes sem Limites’ seminar (Arts without Limits)
Shape trainer Barbara Lisicki speaking at the ‘Artes sem Limites’ seminar (Arts without Limits).
Zoe, Barbara and Jhinuk on the first day in Brazil.
Zoe, Barbara and Jhinuk on the first day in Brazil.

Unlimited now

Being involved in the current Unlimited programme, working with Artsadmin has been really exciting. With literature and Unlimited Impact playing new roles in the programme this time around, it is going to be hard for me to keep away from the buzzing atmosphere of the Unlimited festival in September.

 

So although I will be leaving, I am definitely going to come back to work during the festival. I hope you’ll join me to see the Round 1 Unlimited Artists’ powerful and engaging showcases at the Southbank Centre, 2nd-7th September 2014.

 

Until then,

Jhinuk.

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