Opening up the world: Artists International Development Fund #AIDF

A sculpture of the world suspended from ceiling
photo by Jack Wheeler

Jo Verrent examines some important points to consider when applying for the Artists International Development Fund and explains what Unlimited are doing to help artists put forward the strongest application possible.

Increasingly international touring is part of the picture for many disabled artists, and with our recent announcement on our very own international strand we want to signpost an opportunity that could help you build international connections in order to develop a strong proposal for funding…

Arts Council England and British Council’s Artists International Development Fund provides small grants of £1000-£5000 for just that.

Some important points to remember:

  • The scheme is for emerging and mid-career artists and/or creative practitioners – which includes curators and producers based in England. It can be for small groups of people too.
  • It is genuinely about development. It’s not about making or touring work, its about building networks and relationships – a vital first step before more formal projects can be developed.
  • Although disabled people appear to be finding Access to Work increasingly hard to get hold of for international work, don’t let that put you off. You can include access costs within an application as additional costs, so they don’t have to come out of the £5000 ceiling for your project
  • The fund is committed to increasing the proportion of awards going to applicants based outside London
  • And for this round only, there is some priority (25% of the available budget) for applications proposing visits to South Korea.

Richard Butchins, who had an Unlimited R&D to create 213 Things About You which formed part of the Summerhall Exhibition in Edinburgh and is part of Brighton Festival this May, has been awarded an AIDF award from the latest round and heads out to Japan in June to investigate ideas with performer Kazyuo Morita. “If I have one bit of advice – it’s to read the guidance notes. They are there to be helpful and do tell you pretty much everything you need to know. Give yourself plenty of time – it takes longer than you think to get your application in order, and be precise and thoughtful – and the word counts for each section matter.”

The next deadline for AIDF is 5pm on 13 April, and that’s for projects to take place this Summer and/or Autumn. That means if you are thinking about applying for our Unlimited International fund, you would have time to complete an AIDF project before you apply. If you have a prospective partner in mind, this could be the chance for you to really develop those links.

We can help people with their project ideas– we helped Richard identify and get in touch with Kazyuo Morita, for example – but we can’t complete your application for you.

There is quite a lot of support out there too from other sources:


Got questions? We’ll be doing a Twitter Q&A from 1-3pm on Friday 11 March using the hashtag #AIDF.

Jo Verrent, Senior Producer, will be taking over the @weareunltd Twitter feed to help answer your #AIDF queries. If you’re unable to join us online but still have a burning question please email them through to and we’ll answer them along with the others on the day. Spread the word!