There is a powerpoint being shown to an audience with one of Unlimited's commission on the screen. There are three people on the panel facing the audience
Unlimited's Be There at the Start event, Match 2018. Photo by Matthew Cawrey

Unlimited: The Symposium Online

With tickets having sold out for Unlimited: The Symposium at record speed, we thought we’d reassure those that have not got tickets – the idea has always been to create an event that you don’t need to be in the room to be a part of. Read on to find out more…

Right from the start we have always planned that the biggest audience for the Symposium wouldn’t be those who could attend the venue in London, not least because of travel constraints, visa issues, access, finances, sustainability concerns and capacity. The Symposium is designed to reach UK-based and international arts organisations, and has gained wider interest from cultural sectors across the globe. We also don’t want an event that is just a passively live-streamed – we want something more interactive; something free to all that could be engaged with around the world.

The Symposium is designed to encourage conversation and discussion rather than simply listening to others. We don’t all function best by listening – some people prefer to talk things through in order to develop and stretch their thinking – and we also wanted to recognise that the expertise on all the subjects that are being discussed is held by many, many people, not just those in the venue. There are many perspectives rather than one right answer, and again, debating with others can help us realise that.

Facilitating discussion in the room and online

Each of the four sessions will begin with a set of provocations – different views to help us stimulate our thoughts. These will be live-streamed out, with captions and optional BSL; then comes an hour long discussion in smaller groups. In the Unicorn Theatre, there will also be some artists in different spaces if group discussion really isn’t your thing.

We encourage viewers to form their own ‘groups’ to watch and discuss the content in different places, just like at the event. This might mean two or three people gathering at home or a bigger group of people gathering in a venue. Soon, we will be approaching our Unlimited Allies (arts organisations across the UK) to host some of these groups so people don’t necessarily have to watch from home (where there may exist limitations for some around access to a computer and the internet).

And everyone gets to feedback online from their discussions in a format of their choice – perhaps in writing, or on video, or through an image, even by interpretive dance if that’s your thing. The responses are just as valid whether they are a sheet of bullet points from group watching in Japan, a painting from an independent artist in Russia inspired by the discussion, a short video summary from activists in Glasgow, or a set of notes from one of the spaces at the Unicorn.

All responses will be gathered together – we are still choosing the right ‘aggregator’ to draw in content from multiple sources. We don’t want people who prefer one platform to have to use something that is less comfortable for them, we just want a way to draw together all those responses so everyone has the option to experience all the responses.

So, how do I get involved if I don’t have a ticket?

  • Tune into the live-stream on our Symposium web page.
  • To make the most of the discussion elements – form a group and watch it around a shared screen (or projector), using the breakout times to discuss and debate together
  • Share your thoughts, reflections and responses with #unltdsymposium on an online platform (platforms to be announced)
  • Let us know if you’d like your local arts organisation to host a live-stream group. We’re happy to ask them!
  • If you work at an arts organisation and would like to host a group – let us know!
  • Sign-up to our e-newsletter to find out more information about the Symposium, the live-stream, and which organisations across the UK we’ve recruited to host groups