A panel of four people conversating. With a screen behind them that reads Unlimited
'Deepening the Impact' talk at Southbank Centre's Unlimited Festival 2016. Image c. Rachel Cherry

Unlimited: The Symposium – Choosing a Topic for the Equality Session

Unlimited is hosting a symposium on 4 and 5 September 2018 at the Unicorn Theatre, London to discuss the key issues, challenges and opportunities in and surrounding disability-led arts in the 21st century, which will lead into Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival (running from 5 to 9 September). The Symposium will be broken down into four sections – ‘Art’, ‘Equality’, ‘Attitude’, and ‘Future’ – and this week we’re asking for your votes on what exactly the ‘Equality section will focus on…

Last week you voted on which subject we should tackle in our art session, the winner being ‘How can disabled artists change the ‘mainstream’ arts sector?’ with 33% of the vote. It’s all part of our campaign to determine what should be discussed. Do let us know if you think you know brilliant speakers, projects or content we should feature from around the globe that fits the topic.

This week, it’s all about ‘Equality’ – something which should be central to every aspect of the cultural sector. We called out for subject suggestions, and these are the 4 topics to choose from this week.

George Orwell wrote in Animal Farm, ‘some are more equal that others’ – within the arts how do different artforms or different impairment groups fare within the cultural sector? Or what about intersectionality and how the many and various identities people may have weave together? Or how so many of the very building blocks that make up the cultural sector seem to disable people? Or perhaps we should focus on getting beyond a simplistic, tokenistic response, and instead look at how to achieve real action?

Have a read, have a think, make up your mind and then cast your vote. Got an opinion? Want to suggest background reading, artists or projects that fit with any of these topics? Then tell us using the hashtag #unltdsymposium

Equality (poll opens 12 February and closes 16 February) 

  1. How can we make the arts equal?
    Is the arts equal for disabled artists, no matter what barriers they face? Are all art forms equal in how they engage with disabled artists? How can we dismantle the hierarchies of art form and impairment to create a more equal arts ecology? Want to talk about this? Then vote for ‘Make the arts equal’
  1. Disability, intersectional identities and the arts
    Intersectionality looks at various aspects of identity such as class, race, sexual orientation, disability, gender as interwoven. Where does disability sit within the dialogues around intersectional identities, identity politics and the arts? Want to talk about this? Then vote for ‘Intersectional identities’
  1. How do the arts discriminate?
    Does the culture of overwork, underpayment and funding reductions create more barriers for disabled artists than others, especially given the current global austerity agenda? What can change? Want to talk about this? Then vote for ‘The arts discriminate’  
  1. How do we go beyond tokenism, box-ticking and lip service?
    How can we create real equal opportunity in every creative space and avoid ‘all speech and no action’ approaches? Want to talk about this? Then vote for ‘Tackling tokenism’

Please share – we’d like to get as many opinions as we can. Last week we made over 20,000 impressions on Twitter and we’d love to top that! And remember, if your topic isn’t the one that wins, that’s ok. We hope to ensure all these topics are discussed over the next couple of years. Don’t forget – if you fancy leading on any of those that don’t make it onto our programme, get in touch!

And the winning topic that will be discussed at the Symposium is ‘Intersectional identities’. Many thanks to all the people who voted!