a group of people networking at IETM.
IETM Valencia Plenary. Photo by Vincent Chartier

Unlimited: keeping connected with the world

March sees the formal end of our Unlimited International programme, but we are still working internationally – thanks to support from the British Council. Find out about what’s coming up and do read to the end to find out about the open call offering bursaries to attend IETM plenary meeting this autumn or in Spring 2020.

Wondering what to do over ‘Brexit weekend’ at the end of March? Well, over 400 people from across Europe and beyond will be heading to Hull for IETM’s Spring 2019 plenary meeting. Each meeting has a specific focus, and this one is on inclusion. Definitions, beliefs and values around inclusion and diversity differ hugely across borders and cultural contexts; this event offers a chance to unpack our thinking about what we mean, what we want and how we aim to get it.



We are delighted a number of Unlimited alumni and staff are embedded in the programme including a performance of  ‘This is Not a Safe Space’ by Jackie Hagan and a presentation – ‘Biscuits Beyond Borders’ by Jess Thom, Touretteshero. Both Jo Verrent and Clara Giraud are moderating sessions: ‘Everyone has an opinion, but only mine is right’ and ‘Producers in the middle’ respectively. Tarik Elmoutawakil will be moderating a session called ‘Nothing about us without us’ which has David Tovey as a panellist; and Stephanie Back is a panellist for a session on ‘Language barriers’.

Unlimited will also be working with the IETM organisers to host the Library Corner – a space where people can rest, relax and take in case study material around inclusion from a range of UK sources – aiding access and also increasing knowledge. Watch out as we read through and tweet out about the guidance material we’ve gathered for the event. Within this space we will be running drop in sessions on #CardsforInclusion across the four days.


International disabled artists

As this IETM event is in the UK, the British Council can’t support bursaries for UK disabled artists to attend – so instead we are working with them to open the opportunity up to disabled artists from Europe. Organisations which are part of the Europe Beyond Access have handpicked artists who are hungry for more international opportunities. As a result, we are delighted to welcome:

If anyone wants to be introduced to any of our guests, just let us know.

This won’t be the only opportunity for us to host international disabled guests – we are delighted to report that we have just gained further funding from British Council to rerun our International Producers Placements programme – watch out for news this September about how to apply.

But what about bursaries for UK disabled artists – how can people get involved?


Want to attend an international event?

IETM events happen at least twice a year. British Council and Unlimited will be offering bursaries for UK based disabled artists and producers to attend two more IETM plenary meetings – one in Autumn 2019 and one in the Spring of 2020. The dates, locations and themes for these haven’t been released yet but if you check @IETM on Twitter on the morning of Sunday 31 March you’ll be amongst the first to know the details of the Autumn event.

Our partnership has supported groups of disabled artists and producers to attend IETM events in Valencia, Porto, Brussels and Munich in the past and we will be pushing out a single application form for both events in July this year – so sign up to our monthly newsletter if you are interested and don’t want to miss out.

The British Council’s Head of Arts & Disability in the European Union Region, Ben Evans, says “The British Council has long-identified IETM as a key place that Europe’s performing artists and producers gather on equal terms with venues and programmers – not to pitch works at one another, but to engage in debate and to build long-term relationships which can flourish into artistic opportunities. Our partnership with Unlimited aims to ensure that the UK’s disabled artists benefit from this network, and we genuinely want more applications from a wider group of artists and producers”.

Unlimited has also been working on one of the IETM satellite events, taking place in Milan this May. The satellites are smaller meetings, with a more practical approach centring on a single theme. This one is about the use of language within performance, and in particular the ways in which some forms of language are privileged above others. We are delighted that Unlimited alumni Rinkoo Barpaga is giving the key note presentation, Amy Rosa is on a panel, and that we are able to support alumni Aidan Moesby and Sophie Woolley to attend, as their current work aligns closely to this subject.

It’s not just IETM events – also in May, Unlimited will be supporting, via the British Council, two artists to attend the IntegrART in Switzerland where alumni Jo Bannon is speaking on a panel on ‘The creative potential of disability: How does it affect our approaches towards art and art making’ and Claire Cunningham’s Unlimited commission The Way You Look (at me) Tonight is being performed. Claire is also part of a table talk on whether or not disabled people make more exciting art and Jo is also running a workshop linked to audio description and ‘describing mystery’. We’ll also be working with British Council to take a delegation to No Limits, an international theatre festival in Berlin that focuses on disability-related arts. That will be in November 2019.

Whatever the UK decides to do on 29 March, Unlimited is committed to maintaining its European and global links, ensuring disabled artists continue to benefit from exchange, dialogue and debate. To be kept informed about these, and other opportunities, please sign up to our monthly e-bulletin.