Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)

Over £820,000 awarded for Unlimited Cultural Olympiad commissions

  • Date: 24 January 2011
  • Area: National

The UK Arts Councils, London 2012 and the British Council have awarded £820,000 funding to a new round of major commissions for Unlimited, the ground-breaking Cultural Olympiad programme that celebrates arts and culture by disabled and Deaf artists.

The 13 new commissions range widely in artform and include a circus show exploring the ups and downs of bipolar disorder; a physical performance piece about the search for the perfect partner using dance, puppetry, animation and music; and thousands of ceramic flowers planted at historic sites across the country. The works will take place across the UK and, with support from the British Council, many of the commissions will see collaboration between artists from the UK  and other participating countries including Brazil, China, Germany and South Africa.

Unlimited encourages collaborations and partnerships between disability arts organisations, disabled and Deaf artists, producers, and mainstream organisations to celebrate the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and produce ground-breaking work. The programme, with a total fund of £3 million, is principally funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, and is delivered in partnership between London 2012, Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council.

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director London, Arts Council England said: 'It is so exciting to see the quality and range of these commissions. When we started to devise this programme, we could hardly imagine the collaborations that would develop, the scale of ambition that would be realised and the audiences that would be reached, both in the UK and internationally in the run up to 2012. We are thrilled to see the growing strength and confidence of Deaf and disabled artists and we would like to congratulate all the successful applicants in this round.'

The first round of Unlimited Commissions was announced in March 2010, and awarded 10 artists funds totalling £400,000. These projects are now being developed and have demonstrated the significant talent of disabled artists at festivals and events across the country including DaDaFest 2010, the Network for Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM) showcase in Glasgow, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, and the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where Janice Parker was awarded a Herald Angel Award for her Private Dancer performance.  

Applications for the third and final round of commissions are now welcomed from disabled and Deaf artists, or disability arts groups wishing to create quality work to form part of high-profile showcase events across the UK. The British Council will continue their support for applications that wish to develop partnerships with any of the participating countries. 

Ruth Mackenzie, Cultural Olympiad, Director, said: 'Unlimited is about world-class artists creating brilliant work which will change perceptions of the work of disabled and Deaf artists. Congratulations to the commissioned artists and we look forward to seeing how their work develops.'

Further information on the application process can be found on the Unlimited pages of our website.