Who’s who: Sarah – Assistant Producer

A portrait of Sarah with her hand resting on her chin
Assistant Producer Sarah Howard

My name is Sarah Howardand I’ve just joined Unlimited as its Assistant Producer. I recently left a decade of working in the ‘blingy’ environment of Sadler’s Wells, so I’ll admit it’s been a nervous transition to being the ‘new girl’ once again. I’m all fingers and thumbs at the moment, trying not to destroy all office furniture with one turn of my wheelchair – so far I’ve not run over any toes, but apologies to all if this happens over the next few weeks, it’s nothing personal!

Although I am extremely proud of all I have achieved in my previous roles, I was searching for a new challenge and Unlimited seemed to tick all the boxes. I have been aware of Unlimited since its beginnings and have followed its unique path with much interest and fascination; as a disabled person working in the arts, it’s been so refreshing and felt so right to see a whole host of really great disabled artists flourish with Unlimited’s support, which gets a major ‘thumbs up’ from me.

I’ve literally just started my time with the Unlimited team, but already I’m aware that it’s made up of a strong, productive group of people united in their belief in the programme’s mission. I’m now sitting here, scrolling through the many wonderful case studies to do with the programme and the partnership between Shape and Artsadmin, Unlimited’s delivery partners, trying to digest as much information as possible before this month’s announcement of new commissions and awards.

During London 2012, I worked within the Cultural Olympiad, which was the genesis of Unlimited, and was chosen to carry the Olympic torch. I enjoyed many days of pride as a disabled person – it’s refreshing to be surrounded by positivity, celebration and enjoy that moment of unity when, for two weeks every four years, we get to enjoy and applaud our uniqueness, and people from all corners of the world got to witness what motivates us as individuals. Today I spent time with my five year old nephew discussing the wonders of dancing in a wheelchair, and it made me excited to imagine the possibility of a new generation of open-minded children who readily accept disabled people without prejudice. Let’s carry on from what we have learned in recent years and strive for a more inclusive society to keep celebrating all that every wonderful, unique individual has to offer. This rich tapestry of arts, delivered through Unlimited, creates a real, genuine feeling of change in the UK’s artistic waters (and beyond) and I’m ready to seize that sentiment and support the artists in every way that I can, and to deliver another fabulous round of inventive, original work by disabled artists.

Paralympian Alex Zanardi said, “Inspiration doesn’t come from people or things, it comes from the eye’s who seek it” – my eyes are wide open to Unlimited and I’m ready to serve.

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