An image of some ornate Japanese Containers
Photo by: Flikr user Rob Faulkner, Tokyo, Japan, May 2015

What do we mean by ‘Unlimited International’?

Unlimited has received an Ambition for Excellence Award from Arts Council England, match funded by the British Council, to deliver a three year international programme. Clara Giraud, Assistant Producer for Unlimited, explains what it means for the next three years…

Since its first iteration as part of London 2012, Unlimited has had an important international dimension. The first Unlimited commissions included five international collaborations between UK-based artists and Brazilian, Chinese, Croatian, German, Japanese and South African companies, funded and assisted through the British Council.

Since then, many of the Unlimited projects have gone on to tour internationally, bringing boundary-defying work to new contexts, challenging audiences world-wide, and raising the profile of disabled artists. With the help of our close partnership with the British Council, cultural leaders across the globe are inspired by Unlimited as a funding model that has capacity to lead to social impact, and have expressed an interest in facilitating artistic exchanges. This new programme exists primarily to fund international collaborations between disabled artists/companies from England and those from around the world, enabling a global exchange of practice.  Neil Webb, Director of Theatre & Dance at the British Council affirms,

“We are witnessing a real step-change since the launch of Unlimited in 2012 with the work of the UK’s Deaf and disabled artists gaining international prominence on an unprecedented scale. Our artists are helping to define the international disability agenda and quite literally changing lives. I am very excited about the prospect of further international collaboration and where this will lead us. And I’m proud to be involved.”

International touring into UK in 2016

We’re kicking off the 3-year programme by welcoming work by international disabled artists, partnering with some brilliant UK arts organisations to ensure the work is presented as it should be:

All these will tour England in a variety of forms, including presentations at both Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival (5-11 September 2016) in London and Tramway’sUnlimited Festival in Glasgow (15-25 September 2016). At all these, you’ll be able to get more information on the upcoming commissioning opportunities too.


Summer 2016, Unlimited will release the full criteria for the co-commissions, and in the autumn the portal will open to enable people to make applications for research and development projects between English and international disabled artists and companies (and yes, we are in discussion with other UK Arts Councils to see if the geographical range can be extended!).

Applications will begin with Expressions of Interest, so that people don’t have to commit time to completing a full application form unless they are on the shortlist. Successful applicants from the shortlist will be announced in the Spring of 2017 and a selection of the funded research and development projects will go on to be commissioned by Unlimited, and produced for presentation in 2018.

Thinking of applying?

Unlimited will be looking for high quality arts projects and innovative collaborations between disabled artists in England and abroad across all artforms. Artists and companies interested in working internationally may want to start conversations with potential collaborators sooner rather than later. Funds such as Arts Council England/ British Council’s Artists’ International Development Fund might be suitable options to support initial planning trips and exchanges to help people get to know each other, share practice and plan possibilities (next deadline is 13 April 2016).

Sign up for our newsletter, if you haven’t already, keep an eye on our news pages for announcements of tour dates, and kick-start your international dreams – we can’t wait to hear your ideas!

UPDATE September 2017 

Unlimited awarded funding to six International Collaborative Research and Development projects in March 2017:  

VIVA Carnival – Alegria Samba School (BRAZIL / UK) 

Billy Read – Somebody’s Watching Me (CHINA (HONG KONG) / UK) 

Baluji Shrivastav – Antardrishti Inner Vision  (INDIA / UK) 

Richard Butchins – The Voice of the Unicorn (JAPAN / UK) 

Rachel Gadsden – It was Paradise (PALESTINE / UK) 

Kaite O’Reilly – The Singapore ‘d’ Monologues (SINGAPORE / UK) 

 In October 2017, decisions will be taken to support a maximum of 4 of the above to progress through to full development and initial touring. 

Extend – an element of Unlimited International that provides resources to the cultural sector – has published a number of case studies (available in standard read and easy read formats) and is commissioning an animator to create a film illustrating the social model of disability for December 2017. Case Studies to date: 

Nama Ato: Japanese Outsider Art 

International Placements 


 Unlimited International has also developed to include International Placements – awarded to disabled arts producers or managers based outside of the United Kingdom. These placements allow an in depth exchange centered around practical contributions to the Unlimited team over festival periods: 

Morwenna Collett (Australia. Pilot placement, 2014)  

Fred Batale (Uganda, 2016) 

Sokny Onn (Cambodia, 2016)