A young woman wearing casual sports wear, barefoot, standing knees bent, is surrounded by colourful helium balloons which are floating around her, covering her face
Photo: Buzzcut, Double Thrills, '-ish' by Aby Watson. Photo by Julia Bauer.

Callout for Ideas: Funding Available

This autumn, we are opening our callout for a range of Unlimited Awards for artists and companies creating disabled-led work, based in the United Kingdom. Whether you are an established artist or are taking your first steps into the arts, we want to hear your ideas! Because of the nature of our funders, we offer a range of opportunities, with a couple of new twists this time round – Clara Giraud, Project Manager at Unlimited, tells us more.

Where are you based, how experienced are you?

Unlimited is first and foremost a commissioning programme for disabled artists and companies creating disabled led artworks across all artforms – 75% of all the funding received for the programme goes to artists, it’s one of the underlying principles on which we work. But who can apply for which funds?

If you’re an emerging artist or company creating disabled led work based anywhere in the UK, you can apply for an Emerging Artist Award. What do we mean by emerging? Primarily, it’s up to artists to identify themselves, but we assume you are emerging if you have not shown your work in a public professional setting in the past, or only a few occasional times. Emerging Artist Awards can fund a Create or a Participate project: either focussed on creating a new piece of art, or on working with a group of people over a period of time in a participative fashion.  A previous blog post explains in more depth what we mean by emerging.

If you’re an established artist or company creating disabled led work and are based in England or Wales, you can apply to our Main Awards, either to Research and Develop a new artistic idea, or for a full commission project to develop an idea through to production and presentation.

Ambition and innovation: what does this mean for you?

Unlimited is a commissioning programme keen to take risks, to support artists to create ambitious and innovative new art works. This might be about the form of the work – a performance artist’s first large scale show, a visual artists’ first use of video and digital platforms, a writer’s exploration of developing new texts based on real interviews… Or it could be about the context and the audience – a performance that is so unique it can only happen once but will be live-streamed around the world, a book of poetry that tours as a spoken word show, a carnival group developing work through an international collaboration. A previous blog about what Unlimited funds gives an insight into what ambition and innovation might be for different applicants.

To apply, you don’t need to complete a full application at this stage. We are only asking for an ‘Expression of Interest’ – this means we are interested in your idea rather than in all the details of how the project might work. Applicants should let us know what is stretching their artistic practice in this idea, and if they are shortlisted they will be invited to expand on this ambition and innovation in more detail. The deadline for all Expression of Interest applications is Monday 29th October 2018 at 12pm.

Partnership Awards: an opportunity to build new relationships

This year we have added to our Main R&D Awards and Main Commissions pot by including a number of partnership awards. Why? A number of reasons – it swells the amount we have to give to artists, it helps build partnerships in the sector (which is part of our legacy planning to embed disabled artists further within the arts sector) and it also helps us address some areas where we’ve found less disabled people might focus their practice. We also hope it will support those artists who find our call out a little too open – some people respond better to a tighter brief.

These partnership awards, part of the Main Awards, have all the same Unlimited criteria at the heart, but have added specific criteria based on the partnering organisation. We’re excited to offer funding for two Partneship Commissions: Wellcome Collection Partnership Commission is for a project that challenges how we think and feel about health, while the Farnham Maltings Partnership Commission is for a project that gives innovative and exciting responses to the context of rural touring and village halls.

We’re also working with Great Ormond Street Hospital Arts, Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust, Forma and Wellcome Collection to fund Main Research and Development Partnership Awards across artforms and contexts – hospitals, forests, pushing artform boundaries and tackling questions related to health are at the heart of these awards.

For the first time, we allow applicants to be lead artist on up to 2 Main Award applications if one of those is for a Partnership Award. This is an opportunity for artists to take risks and apply with an idea which may not be what they usually do in their practice, or in contexts they may not have thought of in the past.

Do you have an idea? Do you know someone who does? Have a look at our callout information (also available in Easy Read and alternative formats), and refer to the Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any questions we haven’t addressed there, get in touch.