a man sits in a wheelchair to the left of the frame talking to becky dann who is wearing glasses with a black top and skirt. standing in front of a sign that says 'tate exchange'
Becky at Tate Exchange with Shape Arts. Photo by Andy Barker

What you’ll gain from the Unlimited traineeship

Becky Dann has been working as Unlimited trainee based at Shape Arts for a year, as she comes to the end of her term, she shares the benefits of the role…


The great thing about the role at Unlimited is that the position can be tailored to what you feel is most significant for your professional development. One thing that I don’t get to do much outside of work usually is travel. I tend to stay within my comfort zone of London. With the help of Access to Work, I am able to go up and down the UK with assistance to really make the most of my traineeship.

During my time at Unlimited I went to Glasgow as Aby Watson’s ‘Key Artist Contact’ to see her sharing of –ish which was amazing. After working with Aby and learning about her work it was so good to see it in person.

I also went to Leicester and Bristol to support Unlimited events. I was able to meet more Unlimited artists and alumni as well as being able to see a lot of the art in person.

In Bristol I got to meet some of our newly commissioned artists and experience Unlimited 2017 commission ‘The Nature of Why’ by Paraorchestra (which I loved so much, I cried!)

I was also lucky enough to attend IETM in Porto this year. I rarely travel out of the UK so this was an incredible experience. I got to meet so many new people from all over the world and learn first-hand about different art forms.

Inclusive environment

Something that I always yearn for is inclusivity. In my previous job I spent my year working on inclusive education for students in University but I never really thought about inclusion in the workplace or what that would be like.

Most work places say they will make reasonable adjustments, but unfortunately there are still a lot of gaps that don’t allow a disabled person to work to their full potential. Unlimited isn’t like that at all and I’ve never felt so comfortable and accepted into a workplace as I have here.

Working for Unlimited has really meant that I don’t feel the need to hide when I am unwell and there is an understanding of working with people with autoimmune conditions. The working environment is accessible and really allows me to identify how I work best. There are days when, if for example, I attend an external event for a couple of days, or I travel to somewhere outside of London, I can use flexible working to work from home if my body needs to rest. It doesn’t mean I have to worry about forcing myself to go into work when I am exhausted.

We learn from each other and work out how someone can work to their full potential.

I have learnt new ways of making more things inclusive for others. It has opened up my eyes to making other things accessible to a wider network too. For example I have been working on sourcing Easy Read versions of our documents and have learnt about alt text on images, among many other things.

Industry Inside Scoop

Something that I think is a key aspect of the role is that you get to network outside of Unlimited and really get to see the ‘behind the scenes’ of the art industry.

I attend meetings with Unlimited’s partners and funders such as Arts Council England, Spirit of 2012 and British Council and was even able to sit on the Unlimited panel and observe how funding decisions were made.

As an emerging artist myself, this was incredibly useful because I didn’t have any experience or knowledge around applying for grants. To be able to see people discussing commissions and seeing how people were selected was really valuable to me.

There are so many great benefits to the role.  I have particularly learnt a lot of new skills around Digital design and Marketing which has helped me to work out where I want to take my career within the arts which, without Unlimited, I don’t think I could have done.

If you’re someone who would like to learn more about the art industry, meet some amazing new artists, work in an inclusive environment and gain experience within the sector then apply for the traineeship. Working for Unlimited has honestly been one of the best years!

For full information and to download and information pack and apply please go to http://www.shapearts.org.uk/news/unlimited-traineeship-2018