2012 Cultural Olympiad Launch: Unlimited

By Londonist Last edited 111 months ago
2012 Cultural Olympiad Launch: Unlimited

Tony Hall with young DJs from The BLT Crew
DJ Tony Hall (AKA CEO of the Royal Opera House AKA Chair of the Cultural Olympiad board) took to the decks at the Southbank Centre yesterday morning, to announce the launch of the UK's largest ever disability arts programme and the next of the nine Cultural Olympiad Major Projects.

Named Unlimited, the £3m, three-year funding programme aims to give deaf and disabled artists a chance to create major new work for 2012. Not-to-be-sniffed-at grants of between £25-50,000 will be awarded with mentoring and training support as well. A series of high-profile disability arts events are planned in and around the games to showcase the resulting commissions. Not a great deal of specifics so far, but, seeing as London was the first games to involve disabled artists in the handover ceremony in Beijing, signs are good.

So far, so life-changing. Uptempo presentations by Hall, nine-time gold medal winner and head Paralympic organiser Chris Holmes; artistic director of Graeae Theatre Company, Jenny Sealey; and Janet Paraskeva, Chair of the Olympic Lottery Distributor showed a pretty strong message of intent. One crucially backed with an open chequebook.

A little temperance came from Moira Sinclair (Arts Council England head honcho) who ducked the obligatory group chant of “Unlimited!” each speaker urged around the room; and some slightly unfortunate wording within the info packs claiming “Arts Council England is delivering Unlimited Commissions on behalf of London 2012” were both reminders that arts organisations aren’t all singing along to the same 90s Hi-NRG Eurodisco tune.

It will be interesting to see if this fund will give a welcome boost to London events like September’s Liberty Festival, and organisations like Attitude is Everything and Candoco, whose Youth Dance Group’s short performance rounded out the morning’s launch.

Also interesting will be what Hall’s choice of Kool and the Gang’s Celebration and Sister Sledge’s We Are Family might tell us about the musical direction the opening ceremony will go in...

More details on the fund and application details can be found at the website.

By Sam Hawkins.

Last Updated 08 October 2009