Commissioning body Unlimited has announced that it has over half a million pounds available for Main Commissions, Research and Development awards and Emerging Artists awards, thanks to Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland. The application portal will open on 1 October 2020, closing on 27 October 2020.
Unlimited has also joined up with eleven partners for its Partner Awards, which are linked to specific geographic areas, types of audiences and specific practices: Artsadmin, Bagri Foundation, Coventry 2021, Farnham Maltings, Museum of the Home, Sage Gateshead, Southbank Centre, Pentabus, Polka Theatre, The Art House, Wellcome Collection.
Ruth Hardie, Interim Head of Public Programming, Southbank Centre, on partnering with Unlimited to deliver a commission said:
“Southbank Centre and Unlimited have a rich history of collaborating, and together present the Unlimited Festival every two years. We’re hugely excited about this new opportunity to partner on one of their commissioning awards. Southbank Centre are committed to embedding work by disabled artists across our programme, reaching new audiences and shifting perceptions. The Unlimited commissions are a vital part of that work, and we are thrilled to be supporting an artist through a partner award in 2021.”
The commissions call out is a competitive process (last time 25% of applications were shortlisted and 13% eventually funded). It starts with an Expression of Interest application, which is as simple possible, and only shortlisted applicants complete a full form, which they do with support from the Unlimited team.
The long lead time before the application portal opens is so that Unlimited can spread the word and reach underrepresented groups. It also allows artists to think and plan partnerships, get access support if needed to help with applications and to ask questions.
Unlimited is running a number of events across the summer and into the autumn where people can find out more and ask questions face to face (well, screen to screen). This includes Rural Touring: Accessible to Everyone? on Aug 14, and events in partnership with Creative Scotland, Wellcome Collection and Bagri Foundation (information coming soon).
Unlimited is also running a series of blogs across the summer spotlighting specific aspects of the commissions programme. Earlier this month, Unlimited published a blog analysing its commission data – Who does Unlimited fund? and one on its previous partners and allies – Who does Unlimited partner with?