Headshots of Helga and Lara smiling
The Unlimited Transition Managers. (From left to right) Helga Henry. Credit: Tim Dickeson. Lara Ratnaraja. Credit: Ian Davies.

Welcome to our Unlimited Transition Team

Through March and April, the Unlimited team has been recruiting people to help Unlimited to transition to an independent organisation over the next 2 years. We have: 

  • looked through 138 applications 
  • conducted 15 interviews 
  • contracted 4 freelance individuals or teams 
  • sourced an advisory group  

So who makes up the Unlimited Transition team? And how can you become involved?  

The Transition team 

Overseeing our transition process are our Transition Managers – Lara Ratnaraja and Helga Henry. Based in the Midlands, they both have extensive experience of diversity, innovation, leadership, collaboration, and cultural policy implementation across the cultural sector, and together have delivered and produced a wide range of work. This includes RE:Present and ASTONish, two programmes delivered in partnership with Birmingham Hippodrome, funded by Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England, which supported the development of cultural leaders from diverse backgrounds within the Midlands. They’ll be helping with everything from determining our organisational form to working out where we’ll be based and how we will be staffed. 

Mark Robinson from Thinking Practice, based in the North, is undertaking a short, sweet and specific piece of research around best practice in governance in relation to diversity, so that we can plan and create a board that truly reflects our ambition and enables us to learn from intersectional, diverse perspectives. 

Sam Scott Wood, based in London, is delivering our Transitions Communications role – looking at how Unlimited gets its message out there (and clarifying what exactly that message is!) plus working how best to both acknowledge our roots and plan for our future as we separate from our co-delivery partners since 2013, Shape Arts and Artsadmin. 

And as we blogged last week, Abby Hoffmann, living in the South East, completes the team,  having become the latest Unlimited team member providing direct delivery as she takes up an Arts Support role so that our work with disabled artists and our allies doesn’t dip during the next year. 

Advisory group 

We have developed an Advisory Group to challenge us and to ensure external perspectives.. The group has well over 50% representation from disabled people – a mix of those who know Unlimited well and those who don’t. It includes artists, allies, partners, and others, and has representatives from all five areas of England – vital for us at this time; and we will add further members as representatives of Scotland and Wales soon.    

It includes:  

  • David Dixon (CAS – Chapel Arts Studio) 
  • Tarik Elmoutawakil (Marlborough Productions/Unlimited commissioned artist) 
  • Alan Lane (Slung Low) 
  • Rachael Lines (FRONTLINEdance) 
  • Cathy Mager (artist and independent producer) 
  • Sarah Pickthall (independent coach, trainer, producer and artist) 
  • Amit Sharma (Birmingham Rep) 
  • Sarah Tarry (Southbank Centre)  
  • Trish Wheatley (DAO) 
  • David Hevey, Shape Arts 
  • Deborah Chadbourn, Artsadmin 
  • Jo VerrentUnlimited 

This group isn’t a ‘Board of Trustees in waiting.’ Instead, they are in place to help us devise and develop the best board we can when recruiting  this summer.  

Applying to be on Unlimited’s Board of Trustees is not the only way that people can input into our transition. As part of the process, there will be a number of points where those connected to us, and those who aren’t, get to input their crucial viewpoints. Sign up to the newsletter at the bottom of this page to ensure you get to know what is happening when!