Unlimited unveils latest commissions with £945,000 to support ambitious artistic work


Unlimited have today announced 24 ambitious new commissions and awards spanning a range of disciplines spotlighting talented and diverse disabled artists working in the world today. It represents an adventurous range of projects giving voice to disabled artists producing standout work that is “must see” not “should see”.

Samba School

Alegria Samba School, VIVA

Funded by Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, British Council and Spirit of 2012, and delivered by Shape Arts and Artsadmin, Unlimited has, since 2013, provided near to £1.8 million in commissions as well as mentoring support to 72 young and emerging disabled artists.

Jo Verrent, Senior Producer, Unlimited commented:

“This year’s commissions have for the first time been divided into three strands – Main Commissions including several research & development awards, and new for this round, Emerging Artists, and International Collaborations, which see disabled UK artists working with disabled artists from across the globe. The response to Unlimited’s commissions call-out has been staggering and we are thrilled to announce the 2017 awardees from 269 applicants. The newly commissioned artists will be developing their works over the coming year and will be unveiled to the public across 2017 and 2018.”

The 2017 commissioned artists include:

Jo Bannon’s visceral theatre performance We are Fucked will explore the internal and external experiences of female desire, sexuality and neoliberalism and the modern feminist experience of both personal and political penetration.

HERTZ by Juliet Robson will Identify and translate the sound of stars into live visual patterns, creating an orchestra that can be heard, seen and felt.

British Paraorchestra and Extraordinary Bodies

The British Paraorchestra, Terry Riley’s In C with Extraordinary Bodies. Photo by Paul Blakemore

The British Paraorchestra will work with Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory in VELOCITY, reinventing the role of composer to be part of the devising team, supported by Lloyd Coleman and the disabled musicians of the collective.

It Was Paradise by Rachel Gadsden, a collaborative multi-visual installation, partnering with artists from Palestine highlighting the voice of the disempowered.

Tony Heaton OBE, CEO, Shape Arts, said:

“One of my last but very pleasant tasks as the outgoing CEO of Shape is the announcement of the next round of recipients of Unlimited commissions and awards. The panels have selected a diverse and eclectic mix of work which will amaze and engage, with some surprises! I think the range of ideas we have funded will once again show disabled artists at their creative and ambitious best, so sit up and take notice!

Manick Govinda, Head of Artists’ Advisory Services, Artsadmin, remarked:

“The third round of Unlimited commissions proves that so much exciting, provocative, political and beautiful work is being created by disabled artists. These ambitious commissions carry Artsadmin’s ethos to help develop and produce great work by artists.

Danny Diva

Fittings Multimedia Arts – Danny Diva Photo by Joel Fildes.

The judging panels comprised independent high profile disabled artists, curators, critics and senior staff members from organisations including Extant, Southbank Centre and Tramway.

Ruth Gould MBE, Chair, Main Commissions Panel & Artistic Director DaDaFest, said:

“Unlimited is without doubt one of the most significant developments in creating opportunities for disabled artists and companies to lead in the arts. By challenging and exposing artists to wider audiences and critical acclaim, as well as supporting venues and galleries to take risks, Unlimited provide a way for increased recognition and profile raising of the huge talent and creativity that the lived experience of disability presents.  I am so proud to be part of this.

Sarah Pickthall, Chair, International Commissions Panel & Director, Cusp Inc., commented:

“These are life-changing artistic collaborations for artists and their proposed projects which will impact local communities internationally and change the way disabled led innovation is experienced and understood.”

Aidan Moesby, Chair, Emerging Commissions panel & former Unlimited awardee said:

“It’s essential to provide opportunities for the next generation of disabled artists to develop as professional artists and performers, and as someone who has benefitted from an Emerging Artists commission in the past I know the difference it can make to an artists practice. Not only the funded time and space to work on your ideas but the benefits of being associated with Unlimited are invaluable. My practice has developed beyond recognition over the last three years and it would be nice to think this is the beginning of any amazing trajectory for those commissioned from this panel.”

Watch Unlimited’s announcement film and read the full list of commissioned artists online now

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