Eve is balancing on Joe and his wheelchair. Her legs are apart and she is held up by Joe, who is beneath her, and using his wheelchair to support her. Joe is in his wheelchair, which is tipped on the floor and his arms are spread out to each side, supporting Eve's feet
'111', Joel Brown and Eve Mutso. Photo by Vik Singh Taak.

Announcing the Unlimited 2018 Awards

From opera to sonic installations, from the weather to benefit fraud: it’s our privilege to announce our 13 latest awards to disabled artists, with over £120,000 to develop exceptional, ambitious new work across all art forms.

These new projects are supported through two different awards: six receive Emerging Artist Awards, funded by Spirit of 2012, for artists who are still early in their career to develop or produce a new artwork or participatory project, and seven receive Research and Development (R&D) Awards, funded by Arts Council England, for mid-career artists to explore a new creative project. These also include one R&D Award supported by Wellcome Trust, for an artist to develop a creative project that engages with health and science research.

These projects have been selected by two selection panels comprising arts sector professionals, including Paul Bonham of Arts Council England, Ruth Gould of DaDaFest, Tamsin Ace of Southbank Centre, independent artist Richard Butchins, and independent curator Rose Lejeune.

Starting with 200 applications, which were first narrowed down to a shortlist of 39, the panels have awarded a range of projects, some covering more traditional art forms such as visual arts, theatre and dance, including:

  • I was naked, smelling of rain by Aidan Moesby, a series of artworks that explore technology, wellbeing and the weather. (Visual Arts, R&D award)
  • 111 by Joel Brown, a duet between a wheelchair dancer and a former principal ballerina, exploring the interactions between the body and the physical structures of our skeletons, wheelchair(s) and the set. (Dance, Emerging award)
  • Cured by Laurence Clark, a new piece of theatre work about an eventful group trip of young, disabled Scousers to Lourdes in France. It is the first disability-led event at the newly renovated Royal Court Liverpool. (Theatre, R&D award)

Some of the awards were given to works covering art forms or cross art form collaborations we have supported less frequently, including:

  • Delicate by Jamie Beddard, a collaboration with a circus performer to explore ageing, disability and deterioration through storytelling and aerial circus. (Combined Arts, Wellcome Trust R&D award)
  • Metamorphoses by Adrian Lee, a new opera about the mythical power of transformation by a blind composer and guitarist. (Music, R&D award)
  • Gallanach by Amy Rosa, a durational performance work demonstrating the complexities of living with chronic fatigue and pain. (Visual Arts, Emerging award)

An increasing number of projects have participation at their centre, following a national trend:

  • A Very Queer Nazi Faust by Vince Laws, an experimental participatory performance celebrating homosexuality and highlighting issues around cuts to disability benefits. (Theatre, Emerging award)
  • The Goldilocks Mixer by Felix Peckitt, a sonic installation co-created by disabled and non-disabled people that challenges audiences to think about how sound can welcome or isolate people in public spaces. (Visual Arts, Emerging award)
  • TENTACLES by Neal Pike, a participatory project bringing together disabled writers of all genres in Nottingham to take part in workshops on poetry and writing for performance. (Literature, Emerging award)
  • The Language-Generating Machine by Jess Thom, a new playful, multi-sensory production with the Touretteshero team, exploring the power and potential of language. (Combined Arts, R&D award)
  • Man on Bench Fairytale by David Tovey, a participatory performance art piece informed by the artist’s experience of homelessness, where discarded clothing is transformed into catwalk couture. (Combined Arts, Emerging award)

Technology also features, both as subject and form:

  • Augmented by Sophie Woolley, the story of the artist’s deafness and hearing told through a one-person show about a cochlear implanted ‘cyborg’. (Theatre, R&D award)
  • TrueLove by Jane Gauntlett, a dark comedy combining interactive theatre and Augmented Reality to explore the impact of shared data and technology on our future encounters and relationships. (Theatre, R&D award)

It’s always incredible to read the sheer quality of the applications submitted, all of which will make extraordinary artworks and projects; these were some of the toughest decisions faced yet by our selection panels. Unlimited will continue to support all 39 artists and companies on the shortlists, to help provide access to training, networks and development.

The next round of funding opportunities from Unlimited will be announced in summer 2018, with an application deadline in autumn 2018. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know.

Join the conversation on Twitter using #UnlimitedCommissions and by retweeting us to celebrate the news!

You can read the full press release making the announcement here.