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> > > Unlimited Cultural Olympiad programme launched

by Jon Pratty

photo shows a mixed group of disabled and non-disabled dancers moving and swaying to music  Jon Pratty/dao

Cando2, the youth dance group formed by leading disabled and non-disabled dance company Candoco, explore some movements at the launch of Unlimited

Image: Jon Pratty/dao

Unlimited is London 2012’s flagship £3 million programme for deaf and disabled arts culture and sport, unveiled at London’s South Bank Centre on Oct 7 2009. The programme includes the largest sum of commissioning funds ever committed to deaf and disabled arts and culture.

MC for the launch was Chris Holmes MBE, London 2012’s Director of Paralympic Integration; Chris leads on getting the Paralympics to happen on track and he’s got some experience of achievement: he’s won an amazing nine Paralympic gold medals as a swimmer.

Other speakers at the launch included Jenny Sealey, the inspirational artistic director of Graeae Theatre Company and Tony Hall, Chair of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Board.

photo of a man in a suit speaking at a lectern - he's spreading his arms out and gesticulating Jon Pratty/dao

Tony Hall, Chair of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad board, evangelises about Unlimited at the launch

Image: Jon Pratty/dao

After the speakers, the unveiling of Unlimited was celebrated by Cando2, the youth dance company from Candoco, the leading disabled and non-disabled company. In a brief showcase, Cando2 explored just the kind of freshness, excellence and creativity that the Cultural Olympiad is going to be all about.

So – what is it all about? Four key strands of funding were explained to the national press audience at the South Bank Centre. Talented deaf and disabled artists can apply for Unlimited Commissions of £25 to £50,000 to create exciting quality work across all disciplines.

Unlimited Presents brings deaf and disabled culture to new audiences through major work showcased at festivals venues and 2012 events

Unlimited Talent will see new talent fostered and skills developed across a range of art forms and into the mainstream arts sector.

Finally, Unlimited International supports artistic collaboration across borders, showing new work and sparking debate amongst the young about disability rights.

Beyond that, in broad terms, the £3m fund splits into two parts – £1.5 million for commissioning, and the rest for artist support and development, and to help get the word out to UK and world audiences.

Go further:

Find out much more about Unlimited on the London 2012 website

More details about the funding opportunities from the Arts Council England website

See a slideshow of our photos from the Unlimited launch in the Disability Arts Online Flickr stream.