An ensemble of the people are gathered as an orchestra each playing instruments.
Baluji Shrivastav – Antardrishti – Inner Vision

Unlimited International – what did it achieve? 

In 2016 an Arts Council England’s Ambitions of Excellence award of £759,949, match funded by the British Council and Arts Council Wales, enabled Unlimited to extend global influence principally through co-commissions with non-UK based disabled artists running through until March 2019. What did it achieve? 

  • Five major international co-commissions linking disabled artists in the UK with their counterparts overseas 
  • 42% international attendance for Unlimited: The Symposium (110 international speakers/artists/attendees from 43 countries plus livestream of the event in Canada, Singapore and Australia
  • Over 50 UK based disabled artist/producers supported to attend events/tour work overseas. In total 306 events (23% of the UL3 programme) have now been seen outside of the UK, viewed by 26,272 people, 8% of the total audience figures for the Programme during UL3. 
  • The stated cash match at application was raised –  £138,000 – and we achieved an additional £177,750 making the total International programme budget just over one million pounds. An additional inkind contribution of £168,981 was been logged across all the programme elements.
  • And an incredible reach into 141 different countries across the world

Resources 

The creation of accessible resources was a key output. 

“There is a large demand for social model/ disability arts resources and data. It helps back up for funders what we do in disability arts and its crucial need.” 

We created: 

  • Cards for Inclusion – a card game, of which over 500 physical copies have been distributed, and which has had over 2,250 page views, with an average dwell time of 3:26 minutes.  “We absolutely love Cards for Inclusion – and we discovered they can be applied in such diverse contexts. It has helped us think of ideas for our projects where the main barrier to access is language.”

External evaluation  

Ruth Stevenson, Ruthless Research, undertook an independent evaluation finding:   

  • that international collaboration was at the heart of the programme and that Unlimited is uniquely in a position to both share ‘world leading’ knowledge and expertise with a global audience and ensure that UK-based disabled artists and producers can learn from other cultures and perspectives. 
  • UK disabled artists were producing ‘ground-breaking’ work which is disability-led, high in quality, includes blended access, and enables disabled people to tell their own stories in their own ways, meaning that international participants are being exposed to new ideas, methods and practice. 
  • Stakeholders felt that the collaborations are ‘natural’ and had ‘integrity’, hence participants reported learning a lot, growing in confidence, and feeling creatively inspired. 

Impact and recommendations 

There has been considerable impact on the Unlimited programme as a whole: 

  • Unlimited now has had some degree of direct contact in 141 countries across the globe 
  • 86% have of our awarded artists travel internationally within 18 months of gaining an Unlimited award

Unlimited has already undertaken a number of actions as a result of Unlimited International such as creating annual ‘packs’ for international ambassadors and working with British Council to continue to send UK disabled artists/producers to IETM and other events.  

Unlimited International may be over, but we plan to continue international connections and global dissemination so still have more to do!