Unlimited is a commissions programme, delivered by ShapeArts and Artsadmin, funded by Arts Council England with additional funding from Arts Council Wales, British Council and Spirit of 2012. In the run-up to the closure of the first Expression of Interest stage of the application process for Unlimited 2017, three previous award winners, Liz Carr, Jess Thom and Aidan Moesby talk about their experience of Unlimited.
“A friend encouraged me to apply to Unlimited. They said the process of completing the application form would help me think through and define what I actually wanted to ask for and what I really wanted to do with the funding.
He’s a wise man because in the search for clarity, a producer and a director, I found a new direction to Assisted Suicide The Musical. I had tried two attempts at the work but neither had quite achieved what I wanted and it was only through putting the application together that I began to see what I needed to do next.
When I learnt I’d been successful I was totally overwhelmed – not least because it meant I had no excuse. I had money and a date and too much expectation on myself and from others to not make this happen. Working with producers for the first time meant I could get on with the business of making a piece of theatre. Unlimited funding gave me freedom to create what I wanted without interference or censorship.
Eighteen months after I received the grant, I’ve premiered the musical at the Unlimited Festivals at London’s Southbank and Glasgow’s Tramway theatre to sold out audiences and standing ovations and great interest nationally and internationally. I would never have had this kind of exposure without Unlimited.
If anyone is thinking of applying – do. What have you got to lose when the world has everything to gain from seeing new and exciting creative work?”
“Not only did the support of Unlimited help create a piece of work of which I’m really proud, it also made me feel part of a cohort of artists changing the way disability is seen and understood in cultural spaces. In short it has forever changed my life and my practice in an incredibly positive way.”
“Being part of Unlimited has been a significant part of my development as an artist. The experience of getting a Research and Development award was a massive learning curve. With the support of my producer and Unlimited I produced a collaborative project on a much bigger scale than I had previously worked, which gained national exposure.
It introduced to me to new models of working, increased my networks, provided me with a calling card which has given leverage for other projects and generally ‘upped my game’ as an artist. It’s not just the formal elements of professional environments and people but the softer things – esteem, confidence in myself and my work – peer networks – which has really benefitted me as an artist.
My development has been gradual and supported. Three years on from my initial award I am really beginning to see the impact of it on how I am now… I never thought i’d be on a panel at the Southbank or applying for international work.
I also benefitted from working with Unlimited’s wider networks. For instance working as Disability Associate at Salisbury Festival opened up a whole range of potential future work from festivals to extending my practice working with organisations – being employed for ideas and approaches, not just as an artist.
Also the opportunity to be part of the Unfixed residency with Unlimited, Australian Network for Art and Technology and Watershed Bristol – 5 Australian and 5 UK artists exploring Disability and Technology in an arts context was amazing. The opportunity has already resulted in my becoming a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed.”
7 November 2016 is when the portal closes for the Expression of Interest applications for all 3 Unlimited commission strands. Please click on this link to the Unlimited page from where you can download application forms for all three strands of commissions for this round:
- Main: commissions & Research and Development (R&D) awards
- International: International collaborative commissions
- Emerging: commissions for young and/or emerging artists to make work or run participatory projects
The Unlimited panel will look at your ideas first, and shortlist according to popularity, balance across art-form, geography and diversity, as well as their key objectives to find quality, innovation and ambition across everything they commission.
By ‘artists’ Unlimited mean individuals, companies, collectives and partnerships, so you can apply according to what works best for your creativity.
You have to decide which strand suits you best. By ‘emerging artist’ Unlimited mean any artist who has yet to receive a major exhibition or showcasing opportunity.
Unlimited are inviting ideas from any artform – or cross-artform – and are consciously engaging in discussions around opening up access and visibility in different artforms.
If you have questions about the criteria, the application form or experience access barriers, the team are on hand to talk about the practicalities of making an application. However at this stage, to keep the process fair, they will not talk about the ideas.
For more details please click on this link to the Unlimited impact blog or visit the Unlimited page from where you can download the application forms