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Working with Unlimited International

March 19, 2018
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(Part 8 of 10 in a series of blog posts evaluating the Unlimited International programme)

How do the stakeholders feel about working with Unlimited International?

The stakeholders felt very positively about the consideration and support offered by Unlimited International.

“Unlimited have been very accommodating, more than helpful.  They have listened when we said what might not work and where possible they have helped.” (Brazil)

“They were really accommodating. Informal and friendly.” (Uganda)

“As an international collaboration, the strength of the partnership and the commitment to its success is (in our experience) unusual.” (Brazil)

“The maturity and care taken by project leaders to ensure fair and just disability access. This is unusual in Singapore.” (Singapore)

“It was well organized project.” (India)

“None of this would of been possible without Unlimited support.” (China)

However, some stakeholders did voice minor concerns.

Some of the comments made by stakeholders alluded to a perception that Unlimited International does not support a very broad portfolio of artforms.

“Visual Arts and Performing Arts tends to dominate Unlimited so good to have a film and installation in the mix.” (Japan)

“I’m delighted there is now a carnival project within their portfolio.” (Brazil)

“The strengths of Unlimited are very much dance and theatre.  I was surprised there wasn’t a lot going on with music or visual arts.”  (Australia)

Some of the stakeholders felt that they would have appreciated more assistance with visa applications.

“The visa process that he subsequently went through was really horrible.” (Uganda)

“We were extremely frustrated with the support offered for visa applications and information about visas. [We would have liked] a more comprehensive overview of the situation and even template letters to accompany the CoS, thus reducing our workload and stress levels and empowering us as producers, rather than the stressful process we went through.” (China)

Some of the stakeholders found it difficult to manage projects and expectations where initial funding was limited to an R&D phase.

“We had to apply for the whole project but they would only confirm the R&D.  The full project will go ahead, but it has meant a stumbling approach to how we have developed the work.  A lot of our group have a learning disability and the danger was raising expectations that haven’t been fulfilled.”  (Brazil)

“As the funding is limited for the R&D phase, and there is no doubt we have a bigger team of artist onboard, a lot of ground work has to be done on Singapore’s side on goodwill and I felt sometimes taxed by the administrative and logistic hat I had to wear.” (Singapore)

Most of the concerns related to timeframes and scheduling.

Several stakeholders would have appreciated a longer timeframe for their project.

“A longer period of time would make the experience much more valuable.” (Australia)

“It would be good if the funders understood the challenges we face and the time it takes to run such a project.” (India)

“The timescales were very tight.  We had to develop a working group in this country, plan the trip itself, and write it all up, showcase, and the final report.  It was hectic!” (Brazil)

In retrospect, some of the stakeholders would have planned their schedules differently.

“An extension of a few more days in the rehearsal space is helpful as four of us need more time as we are newly introduced into this.” (Singapore)

“The timing and structuring of the schedules didn’t work so well – we had three blocks of 3-5 days, and everyone was present the whole time. This was unnecessary as they were not all needed together in the studio. It slowed down the pace and communication was also slow.” (China)

Other stakeholders noted that their particular projects would have been better suited to taking place over different dates.

“In our particular case, the dates could have possibly been better. Our R&D took place at the end of the monsoon season which made things challenging for us with filming the musicians, with very grey skies and constant rain every other day, but we dealt with things and we got some wonderful footage!” (India)

“Generally Carnivals occur on Shrove Tuesday and I’d have liked to have presented it in the context in which it ought to be seen.  But I can’t produce it by Shrove Tuesday 2018 and by 2019 it is out of the timescale.  I do understand…” (Brazil)

What can Unlimited International learn from this?

The stakeholders reported a high degree of satisfaction with their working relationship with Unlimited International, as well as appreciation for the opportunity to undertake these projects.  In particular, the open and accommodating and friendly nature of the relationships have been valued.  This is something that Unlimited International should emphasise and build on in the future.

A number of suggestions and minor niggles have been highlighted, and Unlimited International should consider how to address each of these on a case-by-case basis.

It is hoped that if Unlimited International continues to be friendly and accommodating the beneficiaries and stakeholders will feel able to openly discuss emerging issues and concerns and that these will be welcomed and addressed by Unlimited International as they arise.

 

Image: Unlimited team at IETM Brussells, photo Katie Fenwick

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