Unlimited, the UK’s arts commissioning programme which supports disabled artists to create and present exceptional work across all art forms, today announces its latest awards to artists to develop ambitious new work

Currently funded by Spirit alongside Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales and the British Council, Unlimited is delivered by Shape Arts and Arts admin, and has provided nearly £4 million to over 300 disabled artists since 2013 through commissions, awards and support.

The works were selected from over 270 applications, which were whittled down to a shortlist of 50 projects by three selection panels comprising of at least 50% disabled arts professionals and artists.

Spirit’s Chief Executive Debbie Lye took part in one of the judging panels, selecting six artists who will receive funding through the Spirit Unlimited Impact fund. “The rich diversity of this year’s Unlimited Impact commissions across dance, literature, theatre and combined arts is dazzling. We are delighted to be enabling six such talented emerging artists to express their creativity, reach new audiences and advance their careers.”

Jo Verrent blog image


The six Spirit Unlimited Impact winners are;

    • Chris Pavia – The Journey Between: this 20 minute piece explores how humanity connects and disconnects through the mythology surrounding the movement of the planets. 
    • Sonny Nwachukwu – Circles: a ‘choreopoem’, a live dance and spoken word performance, that explores the subconsciousness of relationships, drawing on black culture. 
    • JoAnne Haines – Colour Full: a sensory, participatory performance workshop using dance, movement, music and paint by learning-disabled artist JoAnne Haines with producing partner Mind the Gap.
    • Sop – You are already here: a series of events investigating the changing state of being chronically ill: a film which investigates the “Why?” of Sop’s Inflammatory Arthritis diagnosis through the mediums of drumming, interview and shamanic journeying to query more deeply about illness, its relation to life events, and the shifting and changing stories we tell ourselves about our illnesses. 
    • Ellen Renton – Told in Parts: a narrative, one-woman poetry performance about running, the Paralympics and societal attitudes towards disabled people, 
    • Stephanie Anne Back – I Said I Love You: a deaf-led theatre project exploring the cultural connection between Welsh Language and British Sign Language (BSL). 

“This superb batch of artworks in receipt of Unlimited’s awards showcases perfectly disabled creatives’ brilliant capacity for artistic innovation and break-out content,” says David Hevey, Chief Executive, Shape Arts.

“These ambitious projects are provocative, dangerous, challenging and cast light on the way we all live now, and I am very much looking forward to seeing how they develop.”

Cecilia Wee, Head of Artist Development, Artsadmin, added:  “Artsadmin is delighted to continue our partnership with Shape Arts to deliver the Unlimited programme, celebrating excellent new work by disabled artists, as well as pushing agendas around inclusion within the cultural sphere.”

Previous Unlimited-supported commissions included high-profile works such as Kristina Veasey’s My Dirty Secret!

Further information 

You can explore all the supported commissions on Unlimited’s website by clicking here