Women is dancing in the centre of a room holding hands with a child and an adult. Audiences sit around the perimeter of the room.
Rosie Heafford, Second Hand Dance, Touch. Photo by Zoe Manders

Unlimited Connects: linking artists and allies around the country

Connecting up the cultural sector is one of the most important things we do – we are nothing without disabled artists, and equally we can’t change anything without involving arts organisations, promoters, festivals and venues. We have teamed up with arts organisations around England and Wales to host a series of events aimed at mixing it up between September 2019-March 2020. Project Manager Clara Giraud tells us what you can expect, and gives you the key dates and locations to pencil into your diaries.

What are these events?

Unlimited’s main activity is to commission new work by disabled artists, but we also look to support and engage the wider arts sector in working with a greater diversity of artists. It helps deliver one of our key aims – ‘embedding disabled artists in the cultural sector’. Over the years, our Unlimited Allies network has grown to over 200 individuals and organisations who have signed up to support what Unlimited stands for – whether they do this in partnership with us or with other partners.

Unlimited Connects is a series of events throughout the UK bringing together disabled artists and current and potential Unlimited Allies. These gatherings will provide an opportunity to debate and discuss, as well as to meet new contacts. We will be holding one event in each of the Arts Council England areas (except London) in September and October 2019, and a series of events throughout Wales from November 2019 to March 2020.

Each event will be curated in collaboration with a local partner and tailored to meet the interests of the local area and/or the artform/s most strongly linked to that partner. They will each be a day long and will combine panel discussions, facilitated networking – we know how important this is to so many disabled artists who find networking a huge barrier to their careers. Where possible, we will link in the showcasing of the work of disabled artists.

Who’s invited?

Unlimited Connects events will be relaxed and have a limited capacity, aimed primarily at local disabled artists and arts organisations who are either engaging with disabled artists or those who are interested to do more work with disabled artists. Of course, people can travel to get to different events if they want – there are no rules!

What can you expect?

If you come along, you can expect to meet new people, experience art by disabled artists, and be provoked with new ideas and practical actions you could take – either to take your work further or to develop new approaches. There will be opportunities to network both in facilitated environments and casual ones, to meet a range of artists, producers, programmers, curators, reviewers and writers, funders and supporters.

All events will have step-free access, alternative seating/lying arrangements, be BSL interpreted and captioned and have a quiet space. People will be available to provide audio description and guiding services if required. We will work with our host partners to ensure we meet as many of the access needs of attendees as we can, as we are made aware of them, and aim to create an inclusive and inviting space that everyone can enjoy.

Where and when?

  • Unlimited Connects North – Sick Festival, The Lowry, Manchester

19 September 2019, 10:30am-4pm, followed by performances.

Book your place now

  • Unlimited Connects Midlands – FRONTLINEdance Festival, Stoke-on-Trent

All day, 3 October 2019 – registration to open in August

  • Unlimited Connects South East – Firstsite, Colchester

All day, 10 October 2019, 11am-6pm

Book your place now

  • Unlimited Connects South West – Salisbury Arts Centre, Wiltshire Creative, Salisbury

All day, 18 October 2019, 10:30am-4pm, followed by a performance.

Book your place now

  • Unlimited Connects Wales, DI-BEN-DRAW – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Two full days 14 & 15 November 2019 – registration to open in August

We will be hosting six smaller Unlimited Connects events throughout Wales January – March 2020, full details to be announced by October 2019.

Any questions? Get in touch by email info@weareunlimited.org.uk or call Harry Murdoch at Shape Arts on 020 7424 7330.

Sign up to become an Unlimited Ally