Unlimited is an arts commissioning programme that Shape has co-delivered alongside Artsadmin for the past nine years. A process which began in 2020, the programme's transition to an independent organisation is nearing its conclusion. To mark the end of an era, this blog has been simultaneously published across the Unlimited and delivery partner platforms.

Over on the Unlimited blog, we've been keeping you up to speed with their transition to an independent organisation, from the relocation to Wakefield to the new mission and values. Now that the process is nearing its end, the organisations who have co-delivered the programme for the last nine years look back at the experience and forward to the many impacts Unlimited has had...

What a journey! Since 2013, Unlimited has given more than £4.8 million to support over 460 disabled artists and creatives. This support has taken many forms, from the Unlimited Commissions that have reached audiences of over five million people globally and online, to awards, events, professional development, and opportunities to showcase work. All with the very important aim of supporting disabled artists and companies to share their ambitious, creative projects and reach new audiences.

Pink infographic stating that over 5 million people have engaged with Unlimited commissions since 2013.

Unlimited has not only been impressive in terms of statistics; it’s also had a major impact on the arts sector. Unlimited has encouraged UK and international cultural organisations to embed work by disabled artists and develop disabled audiences with the broader ambition of fundamentally shifting perspectives about disabled people - a whopping 349 venues and 304 festivals have showcased Unlimited Commissions and we thank you all for giving a platform for this groundbreaking and high quality work. After over eight and a half years of co-delivery by Shape Arts and Artsadmin, the Unlimited programme draws to a close this month, and bids farewell to its partners as it transitions to become an independent organisation.

Green infographic stating that £4.9 million has been awarded to over 460 disabled artists and creatives by Unlimited.

Both Shape Arts and Artsadmin are immensely proud of the work we’ve been able to undertake through the Unlimited programme, in close collaboration with Jo Verrent. The impact that the Unlimited team, artists and allies have had on both our organisations is immeasurable and we’re thrilled about the prospect of future collaborations with the new Unlimited organisation. But, before we go, we wanted to pause and reflect on the legacy of this partnership and the many ways we hope to stay involved in the exciting future that lies ahead.

Orange infographic stating that 3570 events were supported by Unlimited, from exhibitions to talks to dance shows

“Co-delivering Unlimited alongside our friends at Artsadmin has been a nourishing and enriching experience not simply from an artistic perspective, but in a personal capacity too, in ways I am sure we will continue to feel for years to come. As a programme, we have been proud to represent and support pioneering, provocative, and incredibly talented artists across our nine years together. The Unlimited commissions are testament to this and to the sheer creative force that can be unlocked when the barriers facing disabled creatives are addressed and dismantled. Looking forward, the legacy of this partnership will undoubtedly be felt sector-wide. We’re thrilled to have played a leading part and, with a fond goodbye, eagerly anticipate the bright future of the new organisation.”

– David Hevey, Chief Executive at Shape Arts 

Blue infographic stating that 349 venues and 304 festivals have showcased Unlimited commissions

“As Unlimited becomes its own independent organisation, Artsadmin is committed to growing and applying the learning we have been privileged with over the past nine years of working with extraordinary disabled artists, producers and trainees on this programme. Working with disabled artists continues to be a major priority for us: whether it's commissioning works of scale and ambition from artists like Mish Weaver with our 2021 Unlimited co-commission Parade of Horribles, to producing ground-breaking work by artists including Selina Thompson’s Season for Change project Immersion, to collaborating with other arts organisations to realise and support visionary artists like Oozing Gloop.”

– Róise Goan, Artistic Director at Artsadmin 

Green infographic highlighting the diversity in the geographic spread of Unlimiteds audiences.

Keep in touch!

With the programme ending, we invite you to stay part of our networks and sign up to: 

Unlimited’s new mailing list

Artsadmin’s mailing list

Shape Arts’ mailing list

Image credits: 

Banner image: The Nature of Why, credit Paul Blakemore

Body images: graphic design by Sail Creative