Today we are sharing information about the next open call for Unlimited commissions. Make a cuppa, settle back and find out more!
Unlimited’s main aim is to commission disabled artists and companies to make exceptional work. We aren’t the only people commissioning disabled artists in the UK; we are part of a big jigsaw of work across the cultural sector, all of which is vital. It feels important at this unprecedented time, when many artists and companies have been stopped from touring and sharing work, to keep commissioning artists even when we are all unsure of where the cultural sector might be when these works will be due to bloom.
For this next round, Unlimited has over half a million pounds available for Main Commissions, Research and Development awards and Emerging Artists awards, thanks to Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland. We have also joined up with eleven partners for our Partner Awards, which are linked to specific geographic areas, types of audiences and specific practices: Artsadmin, Bagri Foundation, Coventry 2021, Farnham Maltings, Museum of the Home, Sage Gateshead, Southbank Centre, Pentabus, Polka Theatre, The Art House, Wellcome Collection.
Unlimited is nothing without the artists we support – we say this repeatedly, because it’s true. The commissions call out is a competitive process (last time we shortlisted 25% of the applications we received and funded 13%) but we try and make it as humane as we can. It starts with an Expression of Interest application, which is as simple as we can make it, and only shortlisted applicants complete a full form, which they do with support from our team.
Has that whet your whistle? Want to find out more? Information is summarised in the video below (available in four formats – captioned, with BSL, with summary Audio Description and with Welsh Captions) and more details can be found on the ‘apply to Unlimited’ webpage on this site in various formats.
There is a lot to take in – and you don’t need to take it all in at once. The application portal opens on 1 October and closes on 27 October. It’s a long time ahead. This is so we have plenty of time to spread the word and reach less represented groups. It allows artists to think and plan partnerships and also get access support if needed to help with applications. Of course, it also means there is plenty of time to ask us anything you need to know.
We’ll be running a number of events across the summer and into the autumn where people can find out more and ask us questions face to face (well, screen to screen). These include Unlimited Connects Wales: Into the Future on 5 August, Rural Touring: Accessible to Everyone? on Aug 14, and events in partnership with Creative Scotland, Wellcome Collection and Bagri Foundation (information coming soon).
We are also running a series of blogs across the summer spotlighting specific aspects of the commissions programme. Earlier this month we pushed out a blog analysing our commission data – Who does Unlimited fund? and one on our previous partners and allies – Who does Unlimited partner with? Next week, we’ll examine just what Unlimited is looking for by looking back at the range of work we’ve supported in the past. We’ll publish one giving more information on Partner Awards, one on access – both in relation to applying to us and also in relation to the work we support – and one announcing our selection panels. We’ll update these links here as they are published. To see them all, go to the blogs page and click on ‘commissions’.