A photo of James leaning against a wall wearing a black cardigan. He is smiling.
James Zatka - Haas: Unlimited Trainee 2017

Who’s who: James – The 2017 Unlimited Trainee

Hi, I’m James.

The lovely Unlimited team have elected me as 2017’s Trainee. Speaking to my revered predecessor Simon, the undertaking is no small matter, the duties are many and the satisfaction great.

I thought I’d researched everything beforehand, I really did; even threw together an A3-sized mind map complete with colour-coded topics in preparation for the interview. Now a week in, I’m finding out things even the most ardent researcher would have trouble landing on, for example – shadowing meetings at Artsadmin, where I’m based, means covering everything from Israel to health and safety around the workplace, and amending a name for a workshop is never as simple as it sounds.

Despite the major learning curve, I can already see how wide the benefits are at the outcome – namely that I’m helping to shine a light on the brilliance of many disabled artists. During an extremely laggy Skype call with Jo Verrent, Unlimited’s Senior Producer, we discussed (through a haphazard mix of gesticulation and guesswork) what Unlimited has done in terms of widening access to the arts for disabled artists, and its importance in sustaining 2012’s cultural legacy – I can’t wait to get stuck in and contribute to it!

I’m a lifelong follower of the arts and believe strongly in its capacity for generating change and enrichment. With the attention given to disability right now in politics and the media, it’s vital that we use this window to nurture exciting talent and bring to light work which questions our relationship with disability whilst redefining it in the process. I come from an artistic background with a degree in Art Criticism and Curation – an education which I hope will be utilised well here; at the very least, the knowledge that I’m working towards such a great cause will hopefully help soften the blow of £30,000 of incurred student debt.

It’s still early days so I’m not altogether sure what the coming year will have in store, but variety seems to be the name of the game here – many people have said that variety is the spice of life, and that alone is enough for me.