Photograph of Rachel sitting on a sofa holding a mug with a violin perched on her lap.
Rachel Walker in Dowally. Image credit: Graham Coe.

Who’s who: Rachel — Artist Support 2021

Rachel Walker is the new Artist Support at Unlimited. In her intro blog, she writes about her first few weeks on the job, her lived experiences as a disabled musician, and satisfaction from spreadsheets.

My name is Rachel and my role at Unlimited is that of Artist Support. I’m absolutely thrilled to be here; to play a part in supporting disabled artists making high quality, original work. Though, as I write, I’ve been in the job a mere fortnight, that short time has been action-packed, and I already feel very much part of the team 

Attending the Welcome Day for the new round of commissioned artists, I was treated to hearing the descriptions of each and every ambitious, creative, challenging project and was witness to artists reaching out to each other with information, support, and eagerness to connect. The day itself was overwhelming, in the best possible sense. 

As a disabled artist myself (an Edinburgh-based musician), I have many years’ experience of support and of barriers. Sometimes the barrier is that nobody else has realised that there’s a barrier. It can be exhausting, and sometimes a bit lonely, but I’m cognisant of the fact that all of these personal experiences; all of these sticky situations, misunderstandings, and uncertainties about access, will find their way into my playing somehow. They’ll find their way into my art.  

The fact that art can often say what there isn’t really words for is part of the reason why I’m so excited to be supporting disabled artists who are producing ground-breaking work. 

An additional reason is that I just love being organised and nothing pleases me more than a well-formatted spreadsheet! 

My responsibilities include inducting new artists and making sure that their contracts are in place and accurate. I’m also a Key Contact for several artists, providing support throughout their time with the Unlimited. As part of the team, I’ll also be supporting with the coordination of events, the gathering of evaluation data, and administrating other awards within the programme, for example the British Council International Micro Awards.