LONDON 2012 AND UNLIMITED
Unlimited was a ground-breaking initiative that commissioned new pieces of work by disabled artists from the UK. Funded principally by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, the UK Arts Councils and the British Council commissioned 29 ambitious pieces of work by disabled artists between 2009 and 2012, to celebrate the London 2012 Games. All of the commissions were included in the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival, celebrating the work of disabled artists on an unprecedented scale.
The programme was designed to support artists through:
- the commissioning and funding of new artworks;
- the provision of mentoring and training tailored specifically to suit the needs of each artist or partnership;
- the showcasing of commissioned works in London and across the UK, including the Unlimited Festival at the Southbank Centre during the Paralympic Games; and
- the building of collaboration, inter-cultural learning and exchange between disabled artists in the UK and other countries.
Unlimited generated a substantial amount of interest both nationally and internationally, raising the profile of disabled artists and contributing to the growth in the scale and range of their work.
An area in which the British Council provides active support is the building of collaboration, inter-cultural learning and exchange between disabled artists in the UK and other countries. The British Council supported five international collaborations with artists from the UK, China, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Japan and Croatia, which premiered in five cities in the UK, prior to the major showcase during the Paralympic Games held at the Southbank Centre, as part of the London 2012 Festival. The British Council continues to support Unlimited through the creation of international collaboration, in developments such as Unlimited 2014 and Transform by British Council Brazil.
Following the success of the Unlimited programme between 2009 and 2012, two creative organisations Shape and Artsadmin have been awarded £1.5 million by Arts Council England to deliver a new three year programme of Unlimited commissions in partnership with Creative Scotland, British Council, Southbank Centre and DaDaFest. Under the commission, artists will be offered opportunities to develop, produce and show ambitious and high quality work, with mentoring support. The programme will include biennial festivals in London at the Southbank Centre (2014 and 2016) and Glasgow’s Tramway (2016) providing the opportunity for artists to showcase their work across the country to national and international delegates, through partnerships with venues and organisations. As of September 2014, 26 artists and companies have been selected (nine major works and 17 R&D projects).