OK, I admit it, it might have been a bit early in the morning to have my dancing shoes on but hey – I was in the mood to celebrate and so was everyone else by the looks of it!
Unlimited will celebrate disability arts, culture and sport on an unprecedented scale.
Listening to Chris Holmes our head of Paralympics and Jenny Sealey Artistic Director of Graeae was such an inspiration. Both have achieved so much in their respective fields of sport and the arts. (Quite rightly they are amongst the very few disabled people to have been given MBEs.) I know we talk about sport and art coming together for 2012 but these two people really symbolise just that.
So, what does the programme involve? There is a clue in the name, but ‘Unlimited’ really is unlimited.
The Games will act as a catalyst. Disabled and deaf artists across the UK are able to apply for £1.5 million worth of funding to support their ideas and new collaborations to celebrate the 2012 Games; street arts, theatre, music, carnivals, film - the lot.
For many this will be the first time that their work has been seen in this context; for others a continuation of the excellent work they have been doing for many years. The artists will have the opportunity to release their creative ambition, with support in the form of mentoring and advice and an opportunity to produce work.
We will then be working with them and the wider arts and sports sector to present the work over the next few years. There will also be an exciting international programme that we'll announce next year.
The total project fund for Unlimited is £3m, provided principally by the Olympic Lottery Distributor, using National Lottery funds, with additional funding and delivery by Arts Council England, the British Council, the Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and London 2012.
It really is an historic moment. Never before has this much been invested in work by disabled and deaf artists. I can't wait to see the first round of projects. As they say – watch this space…