A portrait photograph of Toni, a black woman with long blonde braids, leaning in front of a dark green window.
A photograph of Toni. Image credit: Femi Omisore

Who’s who: Toni – Programme Support 2021

Joining our team is Toni Adebajo as programme support. In her intro blog Toni writes about her first week at Unlimited, lessons from their sibling, her interest in the intersections between art and law, and how blackness informs her practise. 

Hi, I’m Oluwatoniloba or Toni, I’m joining the Unlimited team as the new Unlimited Programme Support. I work full time and I’m based at Shape Arts. I am mostly going to be working on the continued development of the Allies Scheme, supporting our amazing artists, and the delivery of the Unlimited programme.

Joining Unlimited has already been an enlightening experience, and I am glad to have received a warm welcome into my new role. On my first day at Shape, I was unwell. This illness continued throughout my first week at work. The unexpected timing was quite disorienting for me – it did, however, make it obvious how fortunate I am to be in a working environment that centres access in professional practice. The culture of transparency that’s being fostered has afforded me a shame-free ease of expression and space for honest conversations about personal well-being.

I’d describe myself as an inquisitive individual that spends a good amount of time lost in worlds of thought and imagination. I enjoy reading African Literature and delving into the intersections where Art and Law connect. As a Black person, navigating my way through existence can sometimes feel like an infinite exploration of self-advocacy, growth, learning, and unlearning to break through systemic and oppressive barriers.

I’m a member of a choral collective called NAWI and perform alongside other Black women and non-binary people – utilising our collective voice to make beautiful noise towards healing, social, and environmental justice. Although performances have been halted due to the pandemic, our work goes beyond just music and the collective is made up of amazing activists and community organisers.

A lot of my awareness of Disability Arts stem from my sibling Tobi Adebajo and their ‘Anti-Disciplinary’ practice. I have witnessed and supported some of their creative projects and this involvement was a hugely motivating factor in my enthusiasm to join Unlimited. Through my work with Tobi, I was privileged enough to be able to gain a deeper insight into the nuances of access needs from the perspective of a Disabled Artist.

It has only been one week, and I am in awe of the amount of new knowledge that I have access to. I’m excited to be working within a talented and dynamic team and the potential for transformation that being in this role affords me – especially in relation to supporting Disabled Artists and disseminating information that could encourage allies to challenge ableism in their creative practices.