Who’s Who: Clara Giraud, Project Manager

Clara turning to her right whilst sat at a table sharing a joke with Jo Verrent
Image for Unlimited by Rachel Cherry.

Continuing our Who’s who at Unlimited blog series, Simon Overington-Hickford, Current Unlimited Trainee sat down with Clara Giraud , Project Manager at Unlimited to find out more about her work.

Simon Overington-Hickford: Hi Clara, thanks for letting us ask you some questions, so how long have you worked with Unlimited?

Clara Giraud: Since January 2014, When the Unlimited two programme started being managed by Shape and Artsadmin. I was hired by Artsadmin to work on Unlimited, at first on a part time basis – I started working three days a week and it gradually grew. I’ve been full time since April 2016 because we’ve gotten so busy.

SOH: We have got pretty busy, I think that’s a fair observation, so could you just talk us through your role with Unlimited?

CG: So I started off as Assistant Producer, working really closely with Jo Verrent (Senior Producer of Unlimited) on the vision of Unlimited and delivering stuff on the ground while Jo was busy doing the strategic aspects. Now I’ve evolved into project manager. My responsibility lies with the relationships with the artists involved in the main commission programme. There are other people within the team who also look after these relationships of course but I’m the person looking after the overall commissions process. I also look after artists’ professional development, which has involved organising a range of showcases, networking and training days for artists involved with Unlimited. I’m the key contact for quite a few Unlimited Impact artists, especially in Wales or Impact artists around England who are linked to dance and the performing arts, as that’s my background. I’m also involved in looking after Unlimited Allies and help shape those relationships. Since April 2016, I’ve started as project manger of Unlimited International.

My role covers a range of things! Obviously they are all done in massive collaboration with the rest of the Unlimited team, we work very closely together.

SOH: What upcoming Unlimited projects you are particularly excited about?

 CG: At the moment, I’m most excited about the announcement of Unlimited III, combined with our announcement a few months ago of Unlimited International. These two programmes, side by side, are really going to shape exciting opportunities and will be game changers for the arts sector in the UK and beyond. I’m excited the upcoming programmes are really pushing the spread of knowledge, opportunities and chances for cultural exchanges beyond our borders.

SOH: Sounds like a great opportunity! Ok, moving on, are they any assumptions often made about Unlimited that you would like to address?

CG: There are a few… one that comes up a lot for me is that Unlimited is a team of ‘experts’ about making artistic work accessible. People come up to us asking for us to be their consultant in making their events accessible. We are very happy to try and help – but Unlimited is a commissioning programme. There are other great organisations, such as Shape, one of the delivery partners of Unlimited, which are much better placed to give tailored advice in how to make things accessible.

SOH: It’s great to know that an organisation such as Shape can help with that. Thinking more personally now, is there something you are most proud of achieving during your time working with Unlimited?

 CG: This sort of relates to your last question, because people kept coming up to us asking how to make things accessible….as I was really not an expert, I decided to do some research around that. I put together a resource pack, something useful for my peers in the under resourced performing arts sector. Something that could help them start to think about making their work more accessible. I developed that pack last year and I’m proud that came together and the positive response it has received.

SOH: Do you have a favourite Unlimited commission past or present?

CG: So rather then a favourite, I think its more about which ones provoked me in the most interesting way because of who I am and the learning curve I’m on. And for me Katherine Araniello’s show ‘The Dinner party (revisited)‘ was a really interesting piece of work in its concept and how it was provoking the limits of ‘what does access mean?’, when does live art stop and access start? Is it ok for an interpreter to get drunk on stage because that’s what the cast is doing. Should the access decompose as much as the show is decomposing? So I found that experience pretty wild and interesting.

SOH: OK, finally we’re going to end on a light hearted note and I have some quick fire questions for you. So… are you a tea or a coffee person?

CG: Tea, definitely, Earl Grey.

SOH: Which do you prefer cats or dogs?

CG: Cats.

SOH: Pop music or classical music?

CG: Classical!

SOH: Finally Comedy or Horror Film?

CG: Comedy.

SOH: Well there we are, thank you very much Clara.

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