‘Unlimited’, the three year UK commissioning programme supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Creative Scotland which supports disabled artists in developing and showcasing ambitious and high quality work across the UK and internationally, has announced the recruitment of a selection panel with over 75% of quality candidates elected being disabled people.
The 13 panellists include high profile disabled artists, and individuals from Southbank Centre and British Council, and will be chaired by Ruth Gould, Artistic Director for DaDaFest. Out of the panellists, eight will have overall responsibility deciding which artworks will be commissioned, with the others offering their expertise across the entire Unlimited programme including supporting and advising artists on producing commissions. Arts Council England and Creative Scotland will also be represented as an observer.
Unlimited will not only help disabled artists develop their practice and encourage the development of new relationships and collaborations with producers, venues and promoters, but will also increase distribution of disabled artists’ extraordinary work (through digital means and touring up to an international level), affording greater opportunities for audiences to see high quality accessible art.
And with Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, DaDaFest, Disability Arts Online, British Council, and Southbank Centre already on board as key delivery partners, Unlimited is set to become a cultural legacy in the making, not only transforming the perception of disability, but also embedding disabled artists within the cultural sector across the UK & internationally.
Jo Verrent, Senior Producer and non-voting panellist for Unlimited says:
‘I'm astounded at the diversity, quality and quantity of people who applied to be part of the Unlimited selection panel. The final decision was a tough one, however we are now confident with our newly appointed arts-centred, disability-led panel, that this will undoubtedly ensure Unlimited as a legacy in the making. Unlimited always attracts high quality art applications created by extraordinary disabled artists, and this makes our decision making process all the more challenging.’
Carole McFadden, Unlimited voting panellist and Program Manager Theatre and Dance for the British Council says:
‘Judging by the breadth and range of experience from potential advisory panellists applying to Unlimited, the previous 2012 Unlimited legacy clearly left an indelible mark on the UK arts and disability scene. We need great people like these to take these conversations and great art forward.’
Maggie Maxwell, Acting Portfolio Manager, Audience Development, Equalities and Participation, Creative Scotland, said:
‘The 2012 Unlimited programme saw ground-working work being produced to great acclaim in the UK and internationally. We are sure that the 2014 commissions will have equal impact. Given the range of talented artists across Scotland and the UK the judging panel will have a tough task deciding on the final commissions.’
Sarah Pickthall, Unlimited voting panellist and Independent Artist says:
‘I'm delighted to join the Unlimited selection panel. I'm particularly excited to be part of a process that supports the research and development of new ideas from a wealth of disabled artists across England and Scotland and to see the next phase of the Unlimited programme work its very particular magic.’
The voting panellists who will decide which artwork is commissioned include: Wendy Martin, Head of Performance and Dance for Southbank Centre, Carole McFadden, Programme Manager Theatre & Dance for British Council, Caroline Bowditch, independent artist from Scotland, Sarah Pickthall, independent coach, artist and curator, Marc Steene, Executive Director Pallant House, Cathy Mager, Artist, Aaron Williamson, independent Artist, and Chenine Bhathena, Senior Cultural Strategy Officer, Greater London Authority.
The non-voting panellists who are steering the whole Unlimited project as well as advising artists in their applications are: Tony Heaton, CEO Shape, Manick Govinda, Head of artists’ advisory services Artsadmin, and Jo Verrent, Senior Producer Unlimited.
The national delivery partners for the Unlimited commissioning programme, Shape and Artsadmin, were awarded a £1.5 million grant supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England at the end of 2013. Creative Scotland is an additional funding partner through National Lottery funds.
They launched the Unlimited website www.weareunlimited.org.uk via their delivery team which includes disability industry heavyweights Jo Verrent and Ruth Gould.