Unlimited, the commissioning and support programme for disabled artists, has announced it is to develop a three-year international programme.

The project, delivered in partnership by Shape and Artsadmin, is the latest recipient of an Ambition for Excellence Award from Arts Council England. A grant of £759,949 will be match-funded by the British Council, helping to extend global impact by co-commissioning both English and international disabled artists.

The programme will include a tour of work from Japan, Brazil and Australia throughout England in 2016. It will be delivered in partnership with the British Council, Southbank Centre and Tramway, with support by Pallant House, Drake Music and Watershed.

In addition, six research and development awards will be chosen from an open application process. This will lead to three full commissions, each led by disabled artists from England and one other country. The full commissioned works will tour at least three countries upon completion.

Jo Verrent, senior producer at Unlimited, said: “Unlimited International will enable Unlimited to take a crucial step forwards within the global positioning of disabled artists. Working in partnership with British Council, we can push disabled artists to the forefront of the creative sector, transforming perceptions and ultimately influencing how disability is considered around the world.”

Joyce Wilson, London area director at ACE, said: “Unlimited continues to respond to the very high demand for ambitious new work by deaf and disabled artists. Unlimited International offers significant scope to grow this impact worldwide, delivering demonstrable change and extending the international profile of British deaf and disabled artists.”

Since Unlimited’s launch in 2013, £935,832 has been awarded to artists working in dance, theatre, performance, music, visual art and literature. Its work has reached audiences of over 75,000 through 1,318 performances, installations, screenings and workshops in the UK.

Past commissions include work for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Aaron Williamson‘s mobile performance reinterpreting YouTube ‘How-To’ videos, Cameron Morgan‘s series of public artworks that celebrate learning disability culture, and Bekki Perriman‘s touring, site-specific sound installation that explored homeless culture.

Commenting on Unlimited’s growth beyond the UK, Tony Heaton OBE, chief executive of Shape, said: “Shape is proud to continue its successful partnership with Artsadmin on the Unlimited Programme. As an organisation with national and international reach, this marks an ambitious step forward for us and another great opportunity for the talented disabled artists we support.”


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