Who’s who – Manick Govinda

Man in purple grey shirt speaks into a microphone. He has a piece of paper in his left hand.
Manick at Launch Night of Southbank Centres Unlimited Festival 2016. Photo by Rachel Cherry

Last month James Zatka-Haas, Unlimited’s Trainee producer, sat down with Artsadmin’s Head of Artist Advisory Services Manick Govinda to discuss Unlimited and his role within it.

James: You work at Artsadmin. For someone new to Unlimited, can you describe what Artsadmin’s involvement with Unlimited is?

Manick: Artsadmin is a co-partner with Shape Arts; we are both delivery partners for Unlimited. We came together to submit a tender for Unlimited in 2013 and we applied as a partnership to the Arts Council to deliver Unlimited. We have a triangular relationship. Shape’s CEO David and I are in the rear-guard of the management and strategic direction of Unlimited, whereas Jo Verrent, Senior Producer is at the vanguard – she oversees the overall delivery of the projects.

So tell me more about your role?

My role in Unlimited is around funding and strategic management. I look at staffing, budgets and the relationships between Unlimited and funders. David and I also alternate chairing our quarterly meetings.

What upcoming Unlimited projects are you most excited about?

Well we are a commissions programme, so of course our upcoming commissions. It’s always exciting to see new work. I’m particularly looking forward to Juliet Robson’s HERTZ, as after taking many years out of the arts scene she’s coming back into the public light, developing a new work on two of my favourite interests: cosmology and noise art!

Have you noticed a change in perceptions of disability art or disability in general over the period of Unlimited?

Well, yes. Unlimited has been at the forefront of widening perceptions of art produced and made by disabled artists, and that is brilliant.

Has there been a change in the types of applications Unlimited has received since it begun?

I think the first two rounds of commissions were really exciting for risk taking and challenging work – and the festivals clearly highlighted that. The new commissions really capture artistic breadth. It seems there may be more mainstream arts projects that may be highlighted, and that’s good; I think that there will be broad spectrum of artists saying “is there such a thing as disabled arts” or “is it just a diverse range of practices made and produced by disabled artists?”

I’m going to ask a bit of a cheeky question now. If you had to pick on piece of work from Unlimited past commissions as your favourite, which would it be?

Liz Carr’s “Assisted Suicide: The Musical”. It’s provocative, pertinent, extremely funny, and asks “what kind of moral world do we want?” Legalising assisted suicide pries open the door to a downward spiral to death as the final solution, in my opinion.

Thanks Manick!


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