Thursday 30 September 2010

Enabling Disabled and Deaf Artists
Cultural Programme in relation to the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games

Unlimited, the UK's largest ever disability arts programme is now extending as an international programme, following a commitment from the British Council. As the UK's international organisation that builds cultural relationships around the world, the British Council is proud to be an Unlimited partner and contribute to the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Unlimited will create important new collaborations between disabled and Deaf artists in the UK and other countries. It will build the credibility, capacity and confidence of disabled and deaf artists - showcasing their work to new audiences, providing personal development opportunities, and enabling the arts world to work more effectively with disabled people. In Japan the British Council will support collaboration and inter-cultural learning between disabled and deaf artists in the UK and Japan. Unlimited is to be delivered in the following four 'strands.'

1. Unlimited Commissions
'Unlimited Commissions' is a commission fund to support high-quality collaborations among disabled and deaf artists and to provide opportunities to showcase the selected work internationally. A total of thirty commissions will be awarded. In total there are three deadlines to apply for the commissions between 2009 and 2011. In Round One (deadline: 4 January 2010) the first ten commissions were awarded to artists working in the UK. Applications for the second (deadline: 1 October 2010) and third rounds (deadline: 18 April 2011) of commissions are now also welcomed from disabled and deaf artists or disability arts groups working other non-UK countries including Japan who will collaborate with UK artists or art groups.

2. Unlimited Talent
Successful applicants in Unlimited Commissions will receive support in developing their commission winning ideas. Unlimited Talent will provide this support, delivered through bespoke mentoring from experienced practitioners and training specifically created for the needs of each artist or partnership.

3. Unlimited Presents
Work created through Unlimited Commissions will be showcased in London and across the UK up to and including games time.

4. Unlimited International
This will support collaboration, inter-cultural learning and exchange between disabled and Deaf artists in the UK and other countries as part of Unlimited Commissions and Unlimited Talent. It will showcase new works as part of Unlimited Presents in the UK and at festivals and venues around the world. It will facilitate new relationships between UK and international disability and mainstream arts organisations, and will explore issues facing disabled people in the arts, sport and wider society. The participation of 12 countries including Japan, Brazil, China and India is confirmed for Unlimited which will be led primarily by the British Council.

Unlimited is one of the major programmes of the Cultural Olympiad, which is a series of events to showcase the UK's arts and culture to the rest of the world. Unlimited is delivered in partnership between London 2012, Arts Council England, the Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council.

<Supporting International Collaboration by Artists in Japan>
In Japan the British Council will support international collaboration between disabled and deaf artists in the UK and Japan. The Council will provide advice to artists applying to Unlimited Commissions, support the realisation of international collaboration. We will promote the art widely to the general public with an aim to deepen the dialogue on the challenges disabled people face in the world of arts, sports and society and to propose a diverse and equal society.

<Chisato Minamimura Dances in 'The Garden,' Selected in First Round of Unlimited>
Chisato Minamimura, a deaf Japanese dancer working in the UK, participated in the piece 'The Garden' which was awarded a commission in the first round of Unlimited Commissions. The Garden was developed by the Graeae Theatre Company in partnership with the Australian dance company Strange Fruit and features a deaf and disabled artistic team and a new ensemble of deaf and disabled sway pole/street art performers. It premiered at Graeae / Greenwich + Docklands International Festival in June 2010. The resulting work will be developed alongside further pieces over the next three years to form a single spectacular for 2012.

<Further Information>

  • About The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad
    The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people. Millions of people around the UK are already part of the Cultural Olympiad, through the Inspire programme and Open Weekend.

    The finale of the Cultural Olympiad will be in a twelve week UK-wide Festival in the summer of 2012, bringing together leading artists from all over the world.

    The Cultural Olympiad has benefited from a National Lottery grant of £16.6 million from the Olympic Lottery Distributor. Other funders include Legacy Trust UK and Arts Council England. British Council will commit £3million to the international development of London 2012 Cultural Olympiad projects. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad. Panasonic are the presenting partner of Film Nation: Shorts.

    For more details visit

  • The British Council's Past Activities for Disabled Artists in Japan
    The British Council tries to ensure that its commitment to Equal Opportunity & Diversity is reflected in all British Council activity around the world. In Japan we support the activities of disabled artists. In the past we have held the following events.

    Events by the UK Dance Company 'StopGAP Company'
    StopGAP is UK's top integrated contemporary dance company consisting of dancers with and without disabilities. In March 2009 the British Council led practical workshops for dancers, a forum and demonstration by StopGAP. At the Forum StopGAP members and Japanese experts discussed the community impact and social value of disability arts. These events were held as part of Dance Life Festival 2008, which the British Council co-organised with the Japan Community Dance Network between July 2008 and March 2009.

    Seminar by Director of Graeae Theatre Company
    In December 2009 the British Council invited Graeae Theatre Company Artistic Director Jenny Seale to speak at a seminar co-organised by the arts non-profit organisation Able Art Japan.

  • About the Graeae Theatre Company
    Graeae is a disabled-led theatre company that profiles the skills of actors, writers and directors with physical and sensory impairments. The artistic approach creates aesthetically accessible productions that include a disabled and non-disabled audience. Graeae is the leading British company in its field, and has been led by Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director, since 1997.
  • About Chisato Minamimura
    A choreographer, dancer and dance teacher who lost hearing abilities seven months after birth. She trained at the Laban in London before doing a M.A. at Yokohama National University. She also received a B.A. in Japanese Painting. She has been involved in a number of dance projects which include creating and presenting dance performances and workshops in over 35 locations in 15 countries. She worked with CandoCo Dance Company from 2003 to 2006. She has worked as a freelance dance artist after leaving CandoCo and she is based in London. She will stay in Japan from early November 2010 to mid January 2011.
  • The British Council's Contribution to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
    The British Council sees the London 2012 Games as a great opportunity to develop better understanding between people in the UK and around the world, and to build connections. Working in partnership with other organisations, we will promote activities that draw on our profile and expertise in the area of the arts and education.

See also

External links