A hand-woven basket sits on the pavement. Out of it spring white and green flowers and fauna.
Kristina Veasey Willow Basket Rush and Gyp Trim. Credit Kristina Veasey.

Balm in a time of chaos. Our micro awards are up and running!

The newest member of our team has been working on our newest project – getting micro awards out to artists in the Unlimited Alumni. Abby Hoffmann tells us more…

We’re really happy to announce that so far 11 artists have each been awarded a grant of £1000 as part of the pilot we’ve been running (see our last blog here). We’ve also officially launched the scheme to our Unlimited Alumni and are already getting applications in ahead of the first deadline on 5 May 2020. The artists who have received pilot awards are:

  • Rhiannon Armstrong – to work with previously filmed kaleidoscope footage towards video art works, that can also support breathing exercises
  • Mo Barrangi – to locate and purchase materials (inks, paper) and research using new materials
  • Katy Rose Bennett – to create a series of heart-warming, joyful and honest acappella vocal pieces with accompanying videos
  • Nwando Ebizie – to provide time to think and write and play with the idea of Kink as a framework for some of the most important issues artists, and particularly disabled artists, face
  • Thompson Hall to further develop his visual style using the imagery of traditional African Kanga Cloth with symbols and images to express thoughts and feelings reflecting his life in the here and now in London.
  • Sonny Nwachukwu – to complete a full length script of a one man show which looks at the intersectionality of being black gay and disabled through spoken word and dance.
  • Christopher Samuels – to explore attitudes, language, and circumstances of disabled people living in the UK at different periods of history compared to the current situation in order to develop a new work
  • Baluji Shrivastav – to compose and record music for an original epic poem about  a journey of self-discovery which takes place in withdrawal from the world
  • Sop – to create sound and video work which will explore online forms of broadcasting informed by DIY and punk principles and ethics.
  • Natasha Sutton Williams – to research and develop a large-scale play about sexual harassment at a tech company
  • Kristina Veasey – to create a time to reflect on existing projects; explore new, germinating ideas; and play with materials and processes

The awards will be used for a range of purposes –  creating new work, reflecting on past work, purchasing materials as well as using the time to explore different creative processes. After listening to artists, we kept the purpose broad. There is no requirement to ‘produce’ something (although this is equally possible) –  the whole point of the award was to support artists in this uncertain time. Some of the artists who are taking part in the pilot have told us that they really value this – one description of how they saw the grant was ‘ balm in a time of chaos and isolation’ and that ‘this space and funding will allow me to continue my creative journey and be in a better place to continue as a freelance artist beyond lockdown’

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions – and answers!

Who can apply? 

The scheme is currently only open to artists connected to Unlimited – either through being awarded funds, having been shortlisted, been awarded travel bursaries or other reasons. If you feel you are part of the Alumni and haven’t received an email, please email info@weareunlimited.org.uk and tell us why – it may be we have lost contact with you or don’t have your details due to GDPR restrictions.

Why is it only open to Unlimited Alumni? 

Because we have limited funds – so far we have managed to create a budget of £50,000 which will support 50 awards of £1000. We have approximately 250 artists in the Unlimited alumni. We are looking for additional funds that may allow us to open this up more widely in the future. The forthcoming open Unlimited awards round will be open to all disabled artists based in the relevant UK countries supporting the programme.

What are the deadlines for the micro awards rounds ?

5pm on 5 May, 1 June and 6 July.

They are spread out in response to some artists asking for longer lead in times and others wanting more immediate opportunities for support.

Access

Can I use the money for access requirements? Yes, and we also have an access fund for anyone who needs access funding in order to apply for these opportunities and well as to support access within the projects themselves.

I’ve been previously given a micro grant by Unlimited, am I eligible?

Yes. The ones we have given (of up to £500) have been focused on artists development. This is a different opportunity, and you can apply for up to £1000.

Can I include a fee for myself within this award?

Yes.

If I am unsuccessful, will  my application roll on into the next round?

No, but you can re-work your application and apply again. We will give all those who are unsuccessful as much feedback as we can.

Can I apply on the phone? 

Of course. Let us know any access requirements and we’ll do our best to meet them. If you can, let us know in good time before the deadline as we expect to be busy around that time.

So, if you are an Unlimited Alumni and have an idea or project that you’d like to develop or if this money would help you to continue or extend your practice, make a note of the deadlines and send in your application.  Please email Abby@weareunlimited.org.uk if you have any access needs in order to be able to do this.