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> > > Arts Council England announces national delivery partnership for Unlimited II
Artist Sue Austin performing in wheelchair flying mid water in deep blue sea

Sue Austin 'Creating the Spectacle!'

Arts Council England have awarded Shape and Artsadmin £1.5m to act as national delivery partners for the Unlimited II commissioned grant programme.

Arts Council England is today announcing that Shape and Artsadmin have been awarded £1.5m to act as national delivery partners for the Unlimited II commissioned grant programme.
The Arts Council will invest in Shape, the disability-led arts organisation, and arts producing organisation Artsadmin to support Deaf and disabled artists through a programme of commissions and run a complementary mentoring programme between 2013 and 2016.

The programme will support Deaf and disabled artists to develop ambitious and high quality work, which will help them to develop their practice. It will also help to develop new relationships and collaborations with producers, venues and promoters, increase distribution of the work (through touring, including international touring, and digital means), and afford greater opportunities for audiences to see the work. DAO will be a key delivery partner for Unlimited II helping to promote the commissions, support the artists and feature their work.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive for the Arts Council said:
"Supporting diversity in arts and culture is the right thing to do. I firmly believe that artists and organisations should make work that draws upon the full range of backgrounds of our society. Unlimited in 2012 was a real success story, enabling deaf and disabled artists from across the UK to showcase their talent as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Building on this success, Unlimited II will ensure that deaf and disabled artists have a strong platform from which they can create ambitious, high quality work to develop and stretch audiences across England and beyond. The collaboration between Shape and Artsadmin is a really exciting combination with both demonstrating really strong experience in supporting artists' development; we believe this partnership will enable us to build on what was achieved in 2012 and continue to challenge public perceptions of disability."

Tony Heaton, CEO for Shape said:
"We are absolutely delighted to have been selected to deliver Unlimited II, and with our partners Artsadmin we are fully committed to building on the success of the original Unlimited programme."

Tony goes on to say:
"This investment from the Arts Council is excellent news for disabled artists and will generate new opportunities to develop and present the spectacular, beautiful and often unique work that they create."

Judith Knight, director of Artsadmin said:
"It's very exciting to be able to offer artists the chance to make major new works. The first round of Unlimited saw some fantastic artworks created but we know there are even more artists who can make something extraordinary with the support of Unlimited. We are thrilled to be working with Shape on this programme."

The new Unlimited programme will build on the success of the Unlimited programme that took place during the Cultural Olympiad 2012. Artists were offered an opportunity to develop ambitious projects across a variety of art forms, to develop work that challenged the public perception of disability, and that inspired collaborations with new partners.

London 2012, the UK Arts Councils and the British Council commissioned 29 ambitious pieces of work by Deaf and disabled artists. These included:

Ménage à Trois, a beautiful study of love, obsession, loneliness and manipulation through dance theatre from award-winning performer Claire Cunningham and choreographer/video artist Gail Sneddon

'Creating the Spectacle!' by Sue Austin, a groundbreaking series of live-art and video works featuring the world's first underwater wheelchair. Sue and her team are currently working towards touring this show with live events in large tank aquaria, and a touring exhibition of films and documentation

Kaite O'Reilly's In Water I'm Weightless, a fusion of dance, words and attitude, exploring the poetry of human difference, which has been nominated for the James Tait Black Prize for drama this year

For more information or to register an interest in the programme visit