Image shows a close up, highly contrasted image of what appear to be small bubbles on a shiny surface.
"Low Tide" by Kristina Veasey. Image courtesy of the artist.

Contingencies for COVID-19

We’ve recently been asked what our contingencies for COVID-19 are. Read them below! You can read a list of resources and information for disabled freelancers and artists here.

This is a fast-evolving situation and our contingencies will change as Public Health England and Government guidance develops/unfolds. This is our updated information on Monday 23 March.

We are keeping going with what we can, finding new ways to support as many people as we can, and continuing to plan for the future. There isn’t a single, right way to respond – we are trying to cover a lot of bases.

If we keep going, we can employ freelancers, ensure our contracts with artists continue, have events online to keep people connected and give us all things to focus on, and create new opportunities for the future. These are the headlines of what we are offering at the moment and we’ll update you as we add in more.

Staff

  • All staff are home working – we’ve bought kit where needed to make this possible and comfortable including new laptop computers.
  • Upgraded Zoom membership so we can all have meetings and events online and record things if we need to.
  • All standard team and monitoring meetings are going ahead – just online.
  • We are having more check-ins through the team and have a clear ‘what happens if someone is ill’ plan.
  • We are continuing with all planned contracts and still issuing new ones – we’ve issued three this week.

Artists

We have many artists who are experiencing cancelled performances, exhibitions or events and therefore not being paid. We are being flexible and responsive, kind and sensible. We understand timescales may need to be reviewed and events rescheduled, that targets may not be met, and that people may not be able to deliver the same things.

The most important thing is that artists and freelance workers are protected – because they don’t have the privilege of salaries and organisational protection.

We are in contact with the artists with whom we have current contracts to reassure them, ask them to talk to us and share any concerns with us. Everyone who has a contract with us will be receiving their funds, no matter what changes they need to make in order to keep going with their project. In addition:

  • We increased the number of external blogs we are commissioning. These don’t have to be written material, but can be video, image based etc. We’ve asked past and current Unlimited Commission artists to pitch to us if they wish to create something. We are extending this to Instagram takeovers too.
  • We announced some small micro commissions for any of our artists who are self isolating, asking if there was a mini-work they could make that we can share? Or an online way people could interact with the work they have already made? We are prepping that scheme to go live this week and have increased our budget for it. At the moment, these are for artists already connected to Unlimited. We are talking with funders and others to see if they can be extended more widely.
  • We are preparing for our next major funding round which opens this summer. We need to look forward and make sure that opportunities are there in the future so disabled artists can plan.
  • We are buying art from disabled artists (not just those linked to Unlimited) and encourage others to do so. Each staff member is buying a piece to help make their home working environment feel more creative and artistic.
  • We advocate that arts organisations use their privilege and call for them to support their artists – situations like these are what contingency funds are for. Artists are at the heart of the cultural sector and yet are the most financially exposed to the impact of the current situation.

For events

We are continuing to run events but online. This means we can keep paying artists and freelancers engaged on those days, as well as have activities for us all to focus on. This includes:

  • A 2-day event with Wellcome Collection on 25 and 26 March
  • Access surgeries on 27 March and 2 April
  • An Unlimited Connects Wales event focusing on visual arts on 8 April
  • We are in planning to:
  • Deliver our proposed event on Access Riders online
  • Hold a virtual Connects event in partnership with Coventry 2021.

And we are thinking about other events too. We are also inviting everybody to read and consider ways we can work to un-racialise the Coronavirus epidemic.

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