Shape Arts and Artsadmin have been awarded Â£1.8m by Arts Council England to deliver the third Unlimited programme from 2016 until 2020.
Building on its success over the past 3 years, Unlimited will continue to produce ambitious and high-quality work by disabled artists, award research and development grants and provide mentoring to disabled artists, with Jo Verrent continuing as Senior Producer.
Tony Heaton OBE, Chief Executive of Shape Arts, says: “Shape relishes the opportunity this continued funding and partnership with Artsadmin will bring to increase the impact disabled artists have on the creative diversity of our cultural life. This vote of confidence in us demonstrates the richness Unlimited has brought to the cultural offer and recognises that an inclusive and civil society must include the unique creativity of disabled artists within it.”
Jo Verrent comments: “The whole team working on Unlimited is delighted that Arts Council England is continuing its investment in such a pivotal programme. Unlimited – and the many more initiatives and programmes working in similar areas – are playing a vital role in ending discrimination by challenging the barriers in making, creating, platforming and sharing work. We look forward to a time when equality and diversity are commonplace within the cultural sector, knowing that Unlimited will have been so instrumental in its making.”
Manick Govinda, Head of Artists' Advisory Services and Artists' Producer at Artsadmin, comments: “Unlimited has made some important strategic interventions into the UK arts infrastructure and has also brought amazing artists into the limelight and will continue to effect change in the cultural fabric of the nation. The Shape- Artsadmin partnership is a brilliant working model of two influential organisations working together and learning from each other.”
Joyce Wilson, London Area Director of Arts Council England, said: “It is vital that no Deaf or disabled artist experiences barriers to realising their ambitions, whether that be socially, physically or economically. Unlimited demonstrates the Arts Council’s commitment to this belief. We are excited to be working with Shape Arts and Artsadmin, who will use their expertise and insight to build on the success of the work to date and continue to develop the positive profile of the Unlimited brand. This year, there will be an enhanced focus on talent development and, with our support, international partnerships, building on the excellent existing partnerships with Southbank Centre and Tramway festivals to make new connections across the globe.”
Over the next four years, Unlimited’s position as a catalyst for change in the cultural sector will be amplified. The new programme will continue to support talented disabled artists to develop their practice and build new relationships and collaborations with venues and festivals so more audiences get the opportunity to see the work. Comprising 3 separate commissioning rounds, applications for the first round will open this October and artists to be commissioned will be confirmed in March 2017.