Photograph of a person lying face-down on a projection of a street map. The person is wearing a white protective suit, which is also acting as a projection space. The person has one hand on a mobile phone.
Sebastian H-W, Run City Run, 2015

Announcing our micro awards with Dadafest and Coventry 2021 

Unlimited was delighted to stretch our micro awards model through working with two new partners, Coventry 2021 and DadaFest. Each partnership resulted in a wide range of applications and has led to Unlimited connecting with and supporting some exceptional disabled artists based in two distinct geographic areas – the northwest and Coventry and Warwickshire.   

In partnership with Coventry 2021 

After an impressive amount of applications from artists based in Coventry and Warwickshire the final ten have been chosen, covering a range of work spanning activism, community collaboration, environment and public and digital spaces. 

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We want Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 to be truly inclusive and representative of the all of the people of the city, which includes commissioning artistic creations from d/Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists. These artists are all making art, of one kind or another, their profession and their future. I can’t wait to see how they respond to our City of Culture themes and the great art that they create for our 2021 programme.”  

The artists are:

Graphic comic-like illustration. The perspective is from the view of a desk as a man is about to place his pen down to draw. The man is balding and wearing a red beanie. His pen, which hovers in the centre of the image, about to be placed down, is followed by a wave of detailed illustration. Emerging from the nib, a segment of red and black, mystical and intricate drawings takes up the top left corner of the image.
Al Davison

Al Davison
Al is a comic artist, author, painter and printmaker. A lot of his work is based around his experiences as a disabled person and as a survivor of physical ritual child abuse. Al is keen to raise awareness around hate crime towards disabled people, while also making his work accessible to more people by exploring different formats. The work by its very nature will likely shock people, but it aims to in such a way that leads to discussion and increased empathy. 

 Chrysalis Craft Coventry CIC
Chrysalis Craft Coventry CIC using art to work against loneliness as a result of language, cultural and ability barriers. The organisation seeks to help and support people from a variety of different. The aim is to build self-esteem and friendship through artistic techniques. Dr Seyedeh Naseriniaki is the executive director and has worked with BAME, asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants for the last seven years. She creates sessions and activities to help with healing using art and different artistic methods for wellbeing. 

Debbie & Culley (not their real names)
Having met at a community event raising funds for young Black people who suspect they are neuro-diverse, Debbie and Culley remained in contact. The pair plan to record an insightful conversation talking how it is to be Black, disabled, neuro-diverse, and chronically ill, whilst managing work, daily-life, financial (in)security and self-care in a pre and post-pandemic landscape. 

A slightly out of focus image. In the centre of the frame is the face of a computer-generated looking woman (though it could be a mask). She has luminescent skin, reddish pink hair with a fringe, and is wearing a soft pink hood. Her lips are big and bright pink and her eyes wide. She sits with her arms hanging between her legs, appearing to be crouching down and looking down the lens of the camera.
Edie Jo Murray

Edie Jo Murray
Edie is a Coventry-based artist whose work focuses on perceptions of space, reality, and the world(s) we live in. Edie looks for ways to enhance or distort perception and propose alternate worlds to those one finds familiar. Edie is interested in sensory definitions of place, and the way sound impacts how we feel in a space. Edie will be creating a series of new sound works that respond directly to the sonic landscape of Coventry.

 

Emily Woodruff
Emily’s work draws on her perspective as a neurodivergent woman to rediscover and unpick patterns. For the micro commission Emily will paint a reimagined modern Lady Godiva, that also celebrates the city’s bicycle manufacturing history. ‘Ms Godiva’ will cycle vibrant and unfettered through Coventry and reform the norm within our depictions of femininity, championing body positivity, body hair freedom and destigmatising menstruation!

A woman in a leopard print, strappy dress sits with her legs crossed and leaning back on a yellow chair. She wears glasses and has short hair and is looking down the camera. Behind her is a painting of a biblical-looking scene in which a woman appears to be stretching her head backwards in discomfort.
Emily Woodruff, Reform the norm

Hayley Williams
Hayley is a researcher, writer, artist and coach. She is also a Brain and Behaviour change practitioner, and a ‘TRE’ provider for trauma and stress relief. Interested in the neuroscience of human behaviour and relating, with a particular focus on supporting the wellbeing of autistic and other neurodiverse adults this commission challenges the conventions we hold about what it means to ‘pay attention’ to each other, reforming the norm that we need to make eye contact and sit still in order to signal our focus. Hayley is creating a celebration of fidgeting! 

Katie Walters
Katie is an autistic and physically disabled performance poet, with a soul full of stories that can’t be contained. They make complicated metaphors about serious things, like sickness, loss, and love. They will be using their micro-commission to spend some time exploring the Herbert gallery’s natural history collection and create an artistic response to what they find there.  

Photograph of a woman with long, wavy brown hair. She is posed and smiling as it is a portrait.
Lou Sarabadzic by © Paul Stringer (www.paulstringer.co.uk)

Lou Sarabadzic
Lou Sarabadzic is a French bilingual artist based in Warwickshire, where she works as a freelance writer, translator and performer. Lou lives with OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – which means that the public realm and simply leaving her home have always been challenging. Through this commission, she wants to create a collaborative piece mixing audio, film, and spoken word, in order to explore hope and celebrate daily joys at a time when anxieties about going out and about have, for many people, reached their peak.  

A photo of two friends hugging and pulling silly faces. The photo has been filtered to appear somewhat like a comic book or graphic illustration.
Richard and Rishard

Richard & Rishard
Richard & Rishard is a collaboration between playwright Richard Walls and actor Rishard Beckett, which seeks to explore new artistic territory through the sheer joy / terror of structured improvisation and playfulness. Whilst this is their first film project together, Beckett is no stranger to the screen, having played Lawrence in BBC Doctors and Mikey Wade in Channel 4’s No Offence. They hope to create something that will raise a few smiles…and maybe even some laughs. 

Sebastian H-W
Sebastian H-W is a Live Artist (MX:UK) based in the West Midlands whose work explores identity, memory, technology, participation, and bodies, through cutting-edge approaches to creating live performances, tours, games, workshops, and installations. He has made work across a range of sites, spaces, and places including; grand theatres, queer clubs, white cubes, black-boxes, historic watchtowers, city streets, quiet canals, the palm of your hand, and the voices inside your head. His Micro-Commission project “Re:Mapping The Norm” is an intersectional mapping project to create accessible digital maps of Coventrians navigating a changing world. 

In partnership with DadaFest 

The details of each commission are still under wraps (building up the suspense here, DaDaFest!) but we can share who the artists are and tell you a little more about them: 

GolAkanbi 
Gold is a neurodiverse British-Nigerian multidisciplinary artist. They come from a place of intersectionality, and feel it can often be very difficult to find representation and comfort in mainstream culture which is why her work mainly focuses on Afro-futurism, Traditional African spirituality, The Black Body and the physical land it is indigenous to and inhabits, sensory-stimulation and sensory overload and neurodiversity and neurological perception of reality. Gold recently created a piece for Unlimited’s blog: Can I Be Free? 

a black woman with an afro sits at a table with a white background. Her arms are folded on the table and she looks directly at the camera.
Gold Akanbi

The Misfits – A duo made up of Clare McNulty and Natalie Amber.

Photograph of a woman pouring cups of tea. She has black hair with a short fringe and is sat at a table with an orange shiny table cloth atop it.
Clare McNulty

Clare is a queer multidisciplinary artist, sculptor writer, singer and performer, most recently the creator of a pop up comedy hairdressers ‘curl up and dye in Oldham’. The character makes people cringe giggle so much their bones hurt. Her work is sometimes political, she is presently developing a disturbingly warped recycled uranium glass and ceramic series that explores her feelings about society which she plans to exhibit.

Black and white portrait photograph of a female wheelchair user. She wears large black boots and a leather jacket.
Natalie Amber

Natalie is an Actress, Dancer, and Theatre Maker who has worked across TV, Theatre and Film for 10yrs. After working with Graeae, her understanding of how to embed access grew and this has been the driving force of her work ever since. Together, their work will provide a fresh take, including  on the truly holistic and psychosexual needs of disabled people.

 

 

 

A photograph of a smiling man wearing a cap.
Ngozi Ugochukwu

Ngozi Ugochukwu 
Ngozi is a photographer, filmmaker and performer – including acting and stand-up/sit-down comedy. Ngozi believes that art, imagery and performance can challenge people’s perceptions and encourage debate about the way they see and shape the world and her ambition would be to have her work, touring in galleries worldwide. 

 

Nicola Smith 
Nicola’s performances involve movement, music, dress-up, sensory materials, special effects, gesture, speech, words and pictograms. Working with both solo and group creative process, she uses access and interpretation mechanisms for dialogue, to challenge stereotypes and signal in performances inclusively for people. She is influenced by her everyday life being a neurodivergent artist, mother, child-led play and her performer/facilitator roles make visible the cultural contribution of the artist and the participant. 

Photograph of a woman holding a blue glass plate with a black leather glove on her hand. Through the plate, her face is visible, giving the image the feeling of something space-age and fun.
Nicola Smith

Julian Gray 
Julian is a young British illustrator based in Manchester, UK who defines as unapologetically trans, queer, disabled, and mixed raceJulian is passionate about equality and minority rights, and these themes weave themselves into his artwork. He illustrates for charities such as the LGBT Foundation, and creates independent comics featuring minority characters rarely seen in mainstream media.

Dramatic portrait photograph of a Black woman wearing lots of silver bangles and an intricate silver choker. Her right hand supports her head while her left hand, out of frame, is resting on her hip.
Chanje Kunda

Chanje Kunda 
Chanje is a poet, playwright and performance artist. She creates autobiographically inspired art that explores how the personal interlinks with the universal, and the political. Her work explores 21st century life, and aims to use art as a tool to transform lives, shift consciousness and also bring joy to an otherwise serious and stressful modern existence. She predominately works as a solo artist in performance, across the literary, theatrical and live art sectors. 

Izzy Kroese 
Izzy is an artist, writer and curator based in Manchester, UK. They are interested in hidden LGBT histories. Rather than positioning themselves as a historian, they take a fan-like approach to their research. This research is often finalised either in print or online. They run Trans Masc Studies, a research project currently available on Instagram (@transmascstudies), in which they research masculine-leaning gender variance throughout history and culture.   

Dominic G 
Dominic is a 27 year-old Mancunian artist with Down’s Syndrome, who has featured on BBC news and displayed work in London and New York. His work includes sculpture, graffiti art and rap music. He is based at Venture Arts, and for this project is supported by Patrick ‘CaveMan’ Farrell. 

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