Call for applications announced for Unlimited’s third round of commissions


Unlimited, the arts commissioning programme delivered in partnership by Shape Arts and Artsadmin which supports disabled artists to create and present exceptional work across all art forms, today announces the dates and guidelines for applications to the third round of arts commissions and Research and Development (R&D) awards.

A photograph of dancer Claire Cunningham, she is up a ladder with a huge projection of an eye in the background behind her.

current Unlimited commission – ‘The Way You Look at Me Tonight’, by Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis. Credit: Sven Hagolani

Disabled artists and companies who are creating new disability-led work are invited to submit expressions of interest via Unlimited’s online applications portal which opens 3 October 2016 at 12pm. There will be three strands of funding available:

  • Main: Unlimited main commissions and R&D awards for mid-career and established disabled artists
  • International: international collaborative commissions and R&D awards
  • Emerging: commissions for young and/or emerging disabled artists to create work or run participatory projects

Each commission strand is funded differently and so is open to artists and companies based in different parts of the UK. As Unlimited is funded primarily by Arts Council England, artists and companies based in England can apply to all strands and programmes. If based in Wales, artists and companies can apply for Main R&D awards, Emerging commissions and International commissions; if based in Scotland or Northern Ireland, artists and companies can apply for Emerging commissions.

The guidelines and instructions on how to submit expressions of interest can be found on the Unlimited website at The deadline for submissions of expressions of interest will be 7 November 2016 with shortlisting taking place shortly thereafter via three separate panels – panel members to be announced 9 November 2016.

Shortlisted artists and companies will then discuss their applications with and receive guidance from members of the Unlimited team before submitting full applications, the portal for which will open 28 November 2016. The deadline for full applications will be 20 February 2017 with successful applicants chosen by the panels and announced in March 2017.

Current Unlimited commissions from the programme’s second round will be highlights of this September’s Unlimited Festivals at Southbank Centre, London and Tramway, Glasgow. They will include Sheila Hill’s ‘Him’, Noëmi Lakmaier’s ‘Cherophobia’, Jack Dean’s ‘Grandad and the Machine’ and Liz Carr’s ‘Assisted Suicide: The Musical’.

Jo Verrent, Senior Producer of Unlimited, said:

“With three strands that disabled artists and companies can apply to, Unlimited now has the potential to commission more work than ever before, thanks to funding not only from Arts Council England, but also the Arts Council of Wales, Spirit of 2012 and British Council. With an easier way to apply in the first instance – by just sending in an expression of interest rather than a full application – we hope we can engage a wider diversity of applications and also care better for the capacity of the sector. I can’t wait to see what amazing, provocative, inspired and incredible ideas we get in this time round!”