Unlimited… living up to its name.

Unlimited is about stretching boundaries – be they artform based or geographic. Thanks to funding from Arts Council of Wales, Jo Verrent, Senior Producer, welcomes disabled artists based in Wales for Unlimited’s second round of awards…

When Unlimited began in its current incarnation in 2013, being delivered by Shape and Artsadmin, it was through funding for English-based artists from Arts Council England. It was a matter of weeks before Creative Scotland came on board and the scheme opened up to artists based in Scotland too. A year on with one funding round and one festival in the bag and we are in the midst of preparations for round two with the delightful news that artists based in Wales are now able to apply.

Both Wales and Northern Ireland were involved in the original Unlimited programme, designed to be a crucial part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012, with artists such as Joel Simon, Chris Tally Evans and Maurice Orr delivering ground breaking works.

Kaite OReilly  was one of the artists based in Wales who was successful for 2012, creating the immersive ‘In Water I’m Weightless’ partnering with the National Theatre Wales and with their Artistic Director, John E. McGrath as director. Described as ‘a feast of textures’, the performance captivated those who saw it, provocative and mesmeric. She is delighted that artists based in Wales are now able to apply again for Unlimited support:

‘Unlimited is an extraordinary opportunity for artists and their creative ideas to take flight. All too often disability art or work made by Deaf and disabled artists, regardless of subject, is marginalised. For too long we have been the poor cousins, the ‘also-ran’. Unlimited shifts the focus and broadens the lens. I was fortunate to have been commissioned in 2012, and was envious when the 2014 commissions were announced, as they didn’t include Wales,… Now Cymru is back in the frame, with terrific possibilities for disabled and Deaf makers, shakers, practitioners, artists, sculptors, writers, performers, ceramicists…. What are you waiting for? Apply!’

It can be daunting – we know that. Especially for freelance artists considering applying outside of the safety of an organisation. That’s partly why we offer face to face surgeries so that people can talk to us directly about their ideas. Unlimited isn’t just about the commissions though, its also about placing the work in different contexts – including through working with festivals and venues in Wales. Ben Pettitt-Wade, who is the Artistic Director of Hijinx as well as the Unity Festival Director also comments:

“It is fantastic that the Unlimited Fund is now open to Wales based artists, this is a unique opportunity for disabled artists to realise their creative potential.  I urge any Welsh disabled artists out there, if you have an idea, pick up the phone, write an email, go to an Unlimited surgery, talk to Unlimited, they want to hear from you. We need Welsh Disabled Artists to be represented, they are waiting, now it’s up to us.”

And there is a great Welsh disability arts scene waiting for us to engage with. Maggie Hampton, Strategic Director, Disability Arts Cymru has been working ceaselessly in Wales for many years, slowly pushing back barriers and increasing engagement. As Maggie says:

“Disability Arts Cymru is delighted to hear the news that Unlimited commissions are now open to disabled artists in Wales. Such fabulous work has come out of Unlimited since the programme opened with the Cultural Olympiad in 2012; this is a wonderful opportunity for Welsh disabled artists to share the platform. To be involved in Unlimited is to be right at the heart of Disability Arts in the 21st Century.”  

We are so pleased to have Wales in the Unlimited ‘loop’ that we are going to announce all the successful applications there – keep signed up to Unlimited to get information about the date and venue for our launch in March 2015.

If you are thinking about applying how can you find out more, how can you get in touch?

Our surgery sessions are filling up fast, but we do still have a few spaces left at all sessions:

·      November 19th London, 27th Edinburgh, 28th Glasgow

·      December 2nd & 3rd Liverpool, 5th & 6th London, 9th Caernarfon, 10th Cardiff

·      January 8th & 9th London

All you need to do is email Clara at clara@artsadmin.co.uk and negotiate your time – or book a Skype, phone or email session if that suits you better.

Unlimited is nothing without the art – it takes fabulous, fantastic artists to make Unlimited work. So as Kaite says: What are you waiting for?

P.S. its not all about Unlimited either, there are many other opportunities in Wales for disabled artists from across the UK. For example, DASH is currently working with Disability Arts Cymru, to create Tu Fewn, an exciting new development opportunity for arts organisations in Wales to commission new high quality work by Disabled visual artists from across the UK and Internationally. They are advertising for three amazing commissions at the moment with the following galleries:

 

  • Ffotogallery – who want to commission a Disabled artist to create a public-realm/digital cross platform artwork as part of the Diffusion Experience for Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography in October 2015.
  • g39 – who are seeking an ambitious disabled artist-curator to contribute to their process of programming. The successful artist-curator will be commissioned to work with the g39 team for a twelve-month period and will be responsible for devising one of g39’s 3-month seasons, comprising a main exhibition with associated projects / exhibition spaces, seminars and talks.
  • Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre who are looking to commission a disabled artist/maker to curate an exhibition as part of our ‘Maker to Curator’ programme. The resulting exhibition will be presented at LGAC in January 2016.

 

For more information, please see the DASH website.

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