Cultural Olympiad is Unlimited

Cultural Olympiad offers Northern Ireland’s Arts and Disability Sector Unlimited opportunities  

The London 2012 and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland programme Unlimited, is the largest arts and disability ever delivered in Northern Ireland and across the UK.

Unlimited was the result of a three year consultation process across the disability; arts and disability sports sectors. It provided the disability arts and cultural sector with an unparalleled opportunity to develop new work for the world stage.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland commented: 'Open to all disciplines, Unlimited mirrors our commitment to the development of the arts and disability sector, where work can be a powerful catalyst for change in perception and understanding.

'Additionally the programme offers a unique opportunity for the sector to be part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and importantly for its work to be showcased on an international stage. We have a wealth of talent here in Northern Ireland and I look forward to seeing a high level of entries from which the commissions will emerge.'

Nelson McCausland, then Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure said: 'Unlimited celebrates the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will encourage collaborations and partnerships between disabled artists, arts and disability organisations, and mainstream organisations to produce work as never before. I am encouraging Northern Ireland’s Arts and Disability sector to get inspired by this once in a lifetime experience and contribute to a legacy beyond the 2012 Games.'

Margaret Mann, Chair of the Arts and Disability Forum and Unlimited Spokesperson said: 'Unlimited marks an enormous boost for Northern Ireland’s Arts and Disability sector. The programme enables disabled people to strive for artistic expression, champion their own destiny and combat prejudice. Unlimited is an opportunity like no other for an extraordinary programme of art, performance and spectacle – a chance to speak to the world about the artistic excellence we produce across all boundaries.'

The total project fund consisted of £3m across the UK, provided principally by the Olympic Lottery Distributor, with additional funding and support from Arts Council England, the British Council, the Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and London 2012.

• It enables disabled artists in Northern Ireland to create exciting, quality new work across all disciplines leading up to and including the Olympic and Paralympic Games with awards amounting to £25,000 as part of Unlimited Commissions.
• Unlimited Presents hopes to bring new audiences to arts and disability through major pieces of new work showcased at arts festivals, venues and London 2012 events, building up to and including the Games.
• It provides resources and training to foster young talent and develop skills across the sector through Unlimited Talent, forging new partnerships between disability and mainstream arts organisations.
• Unlimited International tours commissioned work internationally to help disseminate the power of creativity.
• Unlimited will leave a lasting legacy of high quality new work, increased confidence and momentum in the sector.

The £3m fund was split into two sections, half in a commissioning fund of £1.5m for new work which is believed to be the largest single investment in creative work by disabled artists. The second half of the programme will provide support to artists to develop their talent and skills and present their work to audiences in the UK and abroad.

Applications for the Commission strand are welcomed from disabled and deaf artists or disability arts groups wishing to create excellent work either on their own or in partnership with other disabled and non-disabled artists or groups. 

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