After much discussion and debate, planning and preparation, we are finally able to announce that once an independent organisation, Unlimited’s new base will be in WX, in Wakefield.
Unlimited is delighted to be taking up residence in WX, a venue which has been created by repurposing the former Wakefield Market Hall into an exciting mix of creative business incubation spaces and social and learning spaces for residents, supported by independent food and beverage outlets, and it’s the perfect spot for Unlimited’s flexible hub (WX has been supported by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who fund the Cultural Development Fund, which is administered by Arts Council England). This week it’s home to Unlimited commission ‘Breathing Room’ by Anna Berry, a kinetic light installation which is part of WordFest at WX until the end of October.
Jo Verrent, senior producer, Unlimited said: ‘We are thrilled to be setting up home in Wakefield especially as we are surrounded by some excellent arts organisations that we can connect with to support disabled artists further. Yorkshire is a great base for us to provide support and funding and promote new work by disabled artists for UK and international audiences. We look forward to getting to know both the people and places of Wakefield so we can genuinely add traction to our new home – supporting, partnering, and creating new opportunities for disabled people as audiences, participants and, of course, artists.’
Anna’s not the only Unlimited-supported artist showing work in Wakefield right now. Mohammad Barrangi created the first project Unlimited has commissioned specifically in Wakefield – a mural in the city located near Wakefield Cathedral in a passageway that is used by a wide cross-section of people, created in partnership with The Art House. Mo is an Iranian artist and Paralympian who recently graduated from the Royal Drawing School London. His work often explores his own disability together with influences from Persian miniature painting and personal stories told in intricate detail, and sometimes humour.
Mohammad Barrangi, artist said ‘I think, for me, Unlimited is like my family and they are very good for all disabled artists. Making this mural has been very new for me because previously, when I have worked at the British Museum or Tate Modern, it’s been for installations, it’s been inside. I think this mural reflects my life and it’s interesting because after we put the mural on the wall by the cathedral I received many messages from British people and refugees about it… Unlimited is my family and not a small family, it’s a big family, linking artists who are disabled across the whole of the UK and further. I think the future is good for Unlimited in Wakefield – and that’s good for me actually!’
Unlimited’s move to Wakefield and programme in 2022-23 is being supported by Arts Council England thanks to an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant of £750,000. Unlimited’s base will be in Wakefield but it will also have a geographically dispersed workforce which means people can work for Unlimited from anywhere in the UK. We are incredibly grateful to Arts Council England for this support that makes our transition to independence possible.
Sarah Maxfield, Area Director North, Arts Council England said: ‘The Arts Council is passionate about breaking down barriers that prevent everyone being able to participate in and experience quality arts and culture, and the work that Unlimited does in supporting disabled artists helps us achieve this aim. I’m delighted that Unlimited is making its new home in Wakefield which has some exciting plans to develop the new Market Hall into a creative industries hub as well as some fantastic arts and cultural organisations based in the city. I look forward to seeing how its plans develop as well as Mohammad Barrangi’s new mural.’
As part of the move, and for today’s announcement, Jo Verrent popped to Wakefield to say hello to some of our new friends…
Michael Graham, cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Wakefield said: ‘Arts and culture are extremely important to Wakefield and so is making sure that arts, culture and everything that’s included are inclusive and open to everyone. Unlimited has an amazing record of supporting, funding and promoting the artwork of disabled people across the UK. They have enabled artwork from disabled artists to tell many important stories, to reach millions of people in the UK and internationally, shaping society. We are absolutely delighted that Unlimited is to be making their new home in the Wakefield district and, as a council, we are very much looking forward to working with them to help deliver for the people of Wakefield and help to increase the representation of disabled people in every way possible.’
Welcome to Wakefield! If you want to get in touch to talk about the move, or any other aspect of Unlimited, please email email@example.com.