My name is James and I’m delighted to have been chosen to be the new Unlimited trainee, based at Shape Arts. I couldn’t be more excited to work with the team and see what the coming year has in store. I was fortunate to have been able to experience the brilliant work Unlimited commission when I was invited to the Southbank Centre’s festival at the beginning of September. The sheer variety and fierce vitality of the arts on offer, with access integrated within the nature of the works to ensure they could be engaged with and enjoyed by everyone, was the perfect introduction to what Unlimited can support, enable and make possible.
As a trainee I will be supporting artists to develop, produce and share their work, and as I type we’ve just launched the call-out for applications for our Main, Research and Development and Emerging Artists awards. I can’t wait to see the proposals we receive and look forward to working with the next round of outstanding cohorts!
I’ve always been interested in the arts, and after graduating in English Literature I joined DaDaFest as a Young Leader, interned at Z-arts and trained as a producer with the Royal Exchange Young Company in Manchester, developing a strong grounding within D/ deaf and disability arts and issues of access and inclusion. I’ve previously made public participatory work for children in collaboration with trainee facilitators exploring barriers to communication and overcoming them in various ways, issues which I have a deep interest in as someone with a severe-to-profound hearing loss. I’ve also produced a scratch performance working with disabled artists to raise awareness of and provoke further debate on the issues they face, and worked to integrate creative captioning within an adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Tempest’.
My keen desire to work in arts producing, to develop and programme accessible, inclusive and culturally democratic work, led me to apply for the Unlimited Trainee position, and I’m very lucky to be here at the centre of an inspiring movement during a really exciting time of sustained change and progress in the arts.
I look forward to it!