What’s In store

A man in a black jacket stands next to a woman in a blue jumper. Both are looking at a piece of paper attached to the wall.
Unlimited Trainee James Zatka-Haas and Ginnie Blakey at The Unlimited Welcome Day 2017. Photo by Rachel Cherry.

James is the current Unlimited Trainee at Artsadmin. As we announce the callout for next trainee, James shares personal highlights of his year with us, and tips on how a trainee can make the most of this opportunity.

The first day of my Unlimited Traineeship was, like any new job, terrifying. I was tangled in a web of new names and unfamiliar systems, alien offices with alienating ‘working hours’. But looking back 7 months in, It’s not so scary.

Here are a few tips on how you can make the most of your first month as a trainee:

Make the most of your ‘newbie’ status: you’ll receive training on all things Unlimited: blog scheduling, website updating, what to say to artists (or as I painfully found out, what not to say), tweeting, Facebooking, the lot. The team understand your position, so are happy to assist.

Don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’: you’re new, nobody’s expecting you to know everything inside out by the end of your first week. Better to admit not knowing rather than giving incorrect information.

Find how you can be independent: it’s one of the focuses of the traineeship, providing enough assistance to feel secure, but being DIY enough for you to feel proud. Scary? Sure, but it’s the best way to go.

Get organised: buy a diary. It’ll help, really. The trusty to-do list won’t go amiss either.

Take opportunities: your inbox will be flooded with messages and a few will be opportunities. If something sounds up your alley, you might as well do it (providing it doesn’t nullify the above point.)


After your training period, the real work begins. Once new awards are made to artists, the team’s work involves being a key contact, a sort of intermediary between artist and Unlimited. You’ll assist with problems, share opportunities and ensure an application is completed to a high standard.

 You won’t be limited to just that. The traineeship is as varied as it is insightful. Here’s a list of my personal highlights so far:


Routine: it may seem strange, but having a day job allowed me to take better care of my time. Your free time is finite. Make the most of it.

Getting a bigger picture of ‘art’: my background is in visual art, so coming to a job that caters to everything from live art to poetry has heightened my understanding across the board. l’ve also been introduced to things – like theatre – that I may have overlooked before.

The people: working an arts job, you get the chance to meet a whole diversity of people with interesting and varied opinions.

Empathy: art-making is not all about the end product and it is definitely not about the artist alone. Working at Unlimited, I truly feel for all the people who’ve put in the hours for everyone involved. A commissions programme is not easy to run, and the importance of being ‘part of a team’ is not overlooked here.

Trips: these are not a given, but the traineeship does cater to as diverse an experience as possible. Travelling around – seeing shows and attending meetings – reinforces how Unlimited is trying to embed disabled culture globally.

Coaching: 8 months in, I was put in contact with Jo Wright, a life coach whose style is less dictation and more realization. Over 3 sessions she helped me better understand my job, my strengths and my weaknesses, all helping me realize my full potential.

The Social Model of disability: this is a core element of Unlimited. Its premise is set around barriers removal, dictating that your disability, whether physical or not, is not a hindrance to society, but rather something that society should make reasonable adjustments for. Knowing this has allowed me to re-evaluate myself, not just as a working member of the team, but further afield, and it is knowledge like that which makes working here much more than just a traineeship.

So, maybe this is for you? We are now open for applications. Deadline is 12 noon on Monday 9 October 2017. Have anything you’d like to ask me directly? Feel free to email me at james@artsadmin.co.uk