‘Unlimited’, the UK’s largest ever disability arts programme – set to transform the disability arts movement in the UK – was launched by London 2012 as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, and opens for artists’ entries today through www.london2012.com/unlimited. ‘Unlimited’ is the result of a three year consultation process across the disability, arts and disability sports sectors. ‘Unlimited’ provides the disability arts and cultural sector with an unparalleled opportunity to develop new work for the world stage. The total project fund of £3 million, provided principally by the Olympic Lottery Distributor, using National Lottery funds, with additional funding and delivery by Arts Council England, the British Council, the Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and London 2012, will:
- Enable talented deaf artists and artists with a disability to create exciting, quality new work across all disciplines leading up to and including the Olympic and Paralympic Games with awards of £25-50,000 as part of Unlimited Commissions.
- Unlimited Presents’ will bring new audiences to disability arts through major pieces of new work showcased at arts festivals, venues and London 2012 events, building up to and including the Games.
- Provide resources and training to foster young talent and develop skills across the sector through ‘Unlimited Talent’, forging new partnerships between disability and mainstream arts organizations.
- ‘Unlimited International’ will support collaboration between the artists in the UK and other countries, showcase new work around the world, and promote a global debate amongst young people about disability rights.
- ‘Unlimited’ will leave a lasting legacy of high quality new work, increased confidence and momentum in the sector.
The £3 million fund is split into two sections, half in a commissioning fund of £1.5 milion for new work which is believed to be the largest single investment in creative work by artists with a disability. The second half of the programme will provide support to artists to develop their talent and skills and present their work to audiences in the UK and abroad. Janet Paraskeva, Chair of the Olympic Lottery Distributor, said: “London 2012 can bring opportunities to all of us and that is why the Olympic Lottery Distributor is investing National Lottery funds in deaf artists and artists with a disability to enable them to work with mainstream organizations to bring their work to new audiences. The level of funding from The Olympic Lottery Distributor and all the contributing partners represents our commitment to the development of the disabled arts sector whose work can be a powerful catalyst for change in perception and understanding.” Jenny Sealey, MBE, Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre Company and Artistic Advisor for Unlimited said: “The disability arts community has been on tenterhooks waiting for Unlimited to be unleashed. Disability arts and culture demonstrates artistic excellence crosses all boundaries and is a powerful agent for change. It enables disabled people to strive for artistic expression, champion their own destiny and combat prejudice. Unlimited is an opportunity like no other for an extraordinary programme of art, performance and spectacle – a chance to speak to the world about the quality of what we do.
I hope the future after ‘Unlimited’ will be one of new audiences, new artistic partnerships and collaborations across the creative industry with talented disabled artists rightly given equal status and profile.” ‘Unlimited’ will encourage collaborations and partnerships between disability arts organizations, deaf artists and artists with a disability, producers, and mainstream organizations to celebrate the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and produce work like never before. Applications for the Commission strand are welcomed from deaf artists and artists with a disability or disability arts groups wishing to create excellent work either on their own or in partnership with other artists or groups with or without a disability. Further information on the application process can be found at www.london2012.com/unlimited. Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee said: “The ‘Unlimited’ programme will without doubt contribute to the expansion of the Paralympic audience over the next three years in the United Kingdom with its theme of celebrating arts, culture and sport by people with a disability. The programme will create awareness in the community that will certainly yield more opportunities for future artists and athletes who will be inspired by the upcoming and much anticipated London 2012 Paralympic Games.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “London is leading the way on disability arts, highlighted by the Liberty festival and companies like Graeae and Candoco. So give a cheer for ‘Unlimited’, an unprecedented showcase of artists with a disability and opportunity to discover new talent. I want the 2012 Games to be the most accessible ever and deaf and people with a disability – whether athletes, artists, or spectators – are central to making that happen.”
For further information, please see the official website of London 2012 at www.london2012.com.