- Pilot fund to support digitally innovative ways of collaborating internationally
- UK Arts organisations to partner remotely with counterparts in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Middle East and Wider Europe
- Recipient projects include marking Bangladesh at 50; digital inclusion for under-represented groups; and immersive realities for Arts engagement
- New funding made possible by adapting arts programmes disrupted by Covid-19
The British Council today announced recipients of the Digital Collaboration Fund, supporting UK and overseas cultural partnerships to develop digitally innovative ways of collaborating.
The pilot Fund offered grants of up to £50,000 to UK-based arts organisations partnering with selected Official Development Assistance (ODA) countries, to support the sector in its response to increased travel restrictions due to the global pandemic and the need for more sustainable approaches to future international ways of working.
The Fund continues the British Council’s work building connection, understanding and trust between people in the UK and overseas through arts, education and English language teaching. The pilot has been made possible using existing ODA funding (government aid promoting and targeting the economic development and welfare of developing countries) from the UK Government. These funds were previously unable to be allocated in 2020 due to restrictions arising from Covid-19 and will now support the global arts sector at a time of significant challenge.
Organisations partnering between the UK and selected ODA countries were invited to apply for small grants of between £10,000 to £20,000 or larger grants of £40,000 to £50,000. The applications were open to cultural collaborations with a focus on arts and culture, or higher education and research projects with an arts and culture element.
The Fund’s beneficiaries reflect a diverse range of organisations, more than a third of which had not applied for British Council funding before. Each project was carefully considered by a jury of sector professionals to ensure representation across a wide geographical spread and art forms. Overseas teams collaborating with UK partners include those from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Middle East and Wider Europe.
The Digital Collaboration Fund provides three types of grant:
- Research and development grants - exploring and developing new proposals for virtual partnerships
- Restart grants - for projects halted by Covid-19 but able to pivot and resume virtually
- Collaboration grants - for new projects with a focus on virtual delivery, e.g. art residencies, digital exhibitions and online events
Projects receiving Research and Development grants include: a digital series devised by Outburst (Northern Ireland), CasaBrandon Festival de Arte Queer (Argentina) and RISCO Festival (Brazil), to address opportunities and challenges of queer arts collaborations between the UK and the Americas; and Hijinx (Wales), To He Joint Stock Company and Mat Tran Ensemble (Vietnam), supporting neurodivergent artists from Vietnam and the UK to create interactive augmented reality experiences, responding to the question ‘What is it to be visible’?
Beneficiaries of Restart grants include: People's Palace Projects (England) and Tulukai Indigenous Association (Brazil) developing a Virtual Reality interface with the indigenous Wauja community, to enable renewed access to ancient cave art destroyed by vandals; and a UK/Palestinian digital festival helping young people address mental health, the global pandemic and racial justice, supported by Mandala Theatre Company (England) and ASHTAR For Theatre Productions (Occupied Palestinian Territories).
New projects supported by Collaboration grants include: UBIK Productions (England) and Samdani Art Foundation (Bangladesh) launching a mixed reality project to expand on the 50-year legacy of Ravi Shankar and George Harrison’s 1971 ‘Concert For Bangladesh’; Architecture Social Club (England) partnering with Design Indaba and X Lam (South Africa) to bring together young creatives and experienced architecture professionals to exchange digital collaboration ideas; and Candoco Dance Company (England), Unbeaten Path (Ukraine) and Arada Association (Turkey) devising a pilot to remotely upskill emerging disabled and non-disabled performers.
A full list of recipients can be found below.
Caroline Meaby, Director Global Arts Network, British Council, said:
‘International connections are the cornerstone of our work, and we are thrilled to announce the recipients of the Digital Collaboration Fund. We received a significant number of brilliant applications, which demonstrates the resilience and creativity of the Arts sector, despite the challenges of Covid-19. Given the impact of the pandemic and an increasing urgency to develop sustainable ways of collaborating, supporting innovative ideas to enable artists and organisations to continue to connect internationally is more important than ever. We look forward to following grantees to capture and share learnings from these remarkable collaborations.’
In parallel to the Fund, the British Council has engaged The Audience Agency to evaluate each project’s partnership, legacy opportunities, digital accessibility, and skills and capacity building. This will inform the British Council’s ongoing work to champion innovative digital cultural relations through Arts.
To find out more, visit www.britishcouncil.org/arts/digital-collaboration-fund
For media enquiries, please contact:
Hayley Willis, Media Relations Manager: Hayley.Willis@britishcouncil.org; +44 (0) 7469 375 160
Digital Collaboration Fund recipients
Research and Development Grants:
- Title: SoLab (Music)
- Partners: Bounce Culture (N. Ireland)/Maasai Mibili (Kenya)/The Black Box Multi Media Arts Venue (N. Ireland)
- Project: An experimental digital, virtual space that extends and completes offsite activities organised from Nairobi and Belfast, addressing how we respond to a situation, a place or even a pandemic.
- Title: Mogya Na Nsuo (Blood & Water) (Music)
- Partners: KARST (England)/Bokoor African Popular Music Archive Foundation (BAPMAF) (Ghana)
- Project: Research for Mogya Na Nsuo (Blood and Water) to inform development of a collaborative virtual platform, which aims to preserve and interpret the legacy of Highlife, reinventing it for a new generation of musicians and audiences in Ghana and internationally.
- Title: Creating a Digital [CCSen365] (Architecture, Design and Fashion)
- Partners: University of Reading (England)/Collectivox (Venezeula)
- Project: Research and develop ways to deliver [CCSen365] urban heritage storytelling walks in the digital space.
- Title: International Playable Theatre Lab (Theatre)
- Partners: Upstart Theatre (England)/Mi Film (North Macedonia)/Teatro al Cubo (Mexico)
- Project: A digital residency for artist from the UK, North Macedonia and Mexico on the intersection of digital technology and interactive theatre making, exploring a variety of approaches for making theatre playable in the digital space.
- Title: Outburst AME: Translating Queerness (Theatre)
- Partners: Outburst Arts (N. Ireland)/CasaBrandon Festival de Arte Queer (Argentina)/RISCO Festival (Brazil)
- Project: A series of digital events reflecting on the potential and challenges of cross-cultural experiences in queer arts between the UK and the Americas.
- Title: Masahat (Film)
- Partners: Beirut DC (Lebanon)/Doc Society (England)
- Project: Masahat (Arabic for “spaces”) - a virtual platform that will connect independent, community-led physical spaces with independent film practitioners to reach citizens across the region.
- Title: CASA COMUM (Visual Art)
- Partners: SDNA Ltd (England)/RR PRODUÇÕES ARTÍSTICAS (Brazil)
- Project: A multimedia collaboration with 10 indigenous Amazonian artists around Shakespeare's ‘The Tempest’ as an allegory of European colonisation and a study of Shakespeare’s awareness of the natural world.
- Title: OK-PK-UK (Visual Art)
- Partners: MadLab (Manchester Digital Laboratory) (England)/Numaish Karachi (Pakistan)
- Project: A season-long action research programme to develop new digital arts talent in Pakistan, culminating in an online creative showcase and two-day mini-festival.
- Title: Eye See Ai (Theatre)
- Partners: Hijinx (Wales)/To He Joint Stock Company (Vietnam)/Mat Tran Ensemble (Vietnam)
- Project: Neurodivergent artists from Vietnam and the UK will create augmented reality interventions in found spaces responding to the question ‘what is it to be visible?’
New Collaboration Grants:
- Title: Imagination, Pleasure & Activism: igniting conversations in the African literary space (Literature)
- Partners: Royal African Society (England)/Writers Project of Ghana (Ghana)/Kabafest (Nigeria)/AfroQueer (Kenya)
- Project: An experience of revolutionary joy in the context of African and diaspora literature, through digital storytelling webinars, podcasts and online workshops, across partner festival programmes.
- Title: Scotland Mexico Inclusive Music Digital Exchange (Music)
- Partners: Paragon Music (Scotland)/Armonia E Inclusion (Mexico)
- Project: A digital international platform for disabled musicians to perform their own music in a supported and inclusive context with high production values.
- Title: Candoco International Digital Artist Development (Theatre)
- Partners: Candoco Dance Company (England)/Unbeaten Path (Ukraine)/Arada Association (Turkey)
- Project: A pilot programme to remotely upskill emerging disabled and non-disabled artists making performance work.
- Title: Cardiff Animation Festival and Cape Town International Animation Festival (Film)
- Partners: Cardiff Animation Festival (Wales)/Cape Town International Animation Festival (South Africa)
- Project: A collaborative festival celebrating a cultural exchange between South Africa and Wales, highlighting heritage through the artform of animation.
- Title: Pera Museum Virtual Event Space (Visual Art)
- Partners: Pera Museum (Turkey)/Hypercortex (England)
- Project: A virtual gamified international group exhibition examining the concept of kitsch in contemporary art, that augments audience offline engagement and participation within the virtual gallery space.
- Title: Concert From Bangladesh (Music)
- Partners: UBIK Productions (England)/Samdani Art Foundation (Bangladesh)
- Project: Expanding on the legacy of Ravi Shankar and George Harrison’s ‘Concert for Bangladesh’ in 1971, this mixed reality project will celebrate the role of music in building contemporary Bangladesh and empowering civic movements for greater social equality.
- Title: Rotten TV (Visual Art)
- Partners: Jupiter Co LTD (Scotland)/Cemeti Institute of Art and Society (Indonesia)/Casa do Povo (Brazil)
- Project: A digital residency and broadcasting studio for artists and thinkers from Brazil, Indonesia and the UK.
- Title: The Revolution's Promise (Theatre)
- Partners: Relative Motion (England)/The Freedom Theatre Jenin Refugee Camp (Occupied Palestinian Territories)/Creative Destruction (England)
- Project: An Arabic/English made-for Virtual Reality theatre production/experience capturing the personal stories and creative legacies of leading artists from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
- Title: From Karachi to Keighley; Developing Female Talent and Leadership in the International Literature Festival Sector (Literature)
- Partners: Culture Squared CIC (England)/Adab Festival (Pakistan)
- Project: A digital development programme for emerging female voices from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds in Pakistan and the UK.
- Title: ASC x Design Indaba / X Lam (Architecture, Design and Fashion)
- Partners: FRMWRK Limited t/a Architecture Social Club (England)/Design Indaba (South Africa)/X Lam (South Africa)
- Project: The project will allow people in different locations to work on a single architectural design that can output data for robot manufacturing.
- Title: Digital SUPERPOWER! (Visual Art)
- Partners: Umbrellium (England)/Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival (South Africa)/Youth for Innovation (Zimbabwe)
- Project: A project aimed at empowering young women from London, Johannesburg and Bulawayo to make sense of safety and security issues in their environment using an app-based body-gesture mapping tool to create art.
- Title: Bangladesh 50: Commemorating Independence from 1971 to 2021 (Visual Art)
- Partners: Birmingham Museums Trust (England)/Bengal Foundation (Bangladesh)
- Project: Adapting pre-existing concepts for a physical exhibition into an online digital exhibition, considering how liberation movements and art have been bound together in the forging of new cultural identities.
- Title: The Far China Monologues (Theatre)
- Partners: Omnibus Theatre (England)/Arara Entertainment Sdn Bhd (Malaysia)
- Project: A digital two-woman storytelling performance, between London and Kuala Lumpur.
- Title: RADIO EUROPA, BREGA PARK (Theatre)
- Partners: ZU-UK (England)/Lá Da Favelinha (Brazil)/Nueve Voltios (Colombia)
- Project: A participatory artwork about sound, politics and personal identity.
- Title: Kamukuwaká VR: enabling digital futures for indigenous knowledge from the Xingu (Gaming and Mixed Reality)
- Partners: People's Palace Projects (England)/AIT - Tulukai Indigenous Association (Brazil)
- Project: A collaboratively developed Virtual Reality interface for the cave of Kamukuwaká, enabling the Indigenous Wauja community access to sacred knowledge.
- Title: Lost Migrations (Film)
- Partners: Project Dastaan (England)/PuffBall Studios (Pakistan)
- Project: An animated series telling stories of the Partition through the voices of the colonised and those traditionally under-represented in South Asian storytelling.
- Title: Dust & Metal: Cine-concert production (Film)
- Partners: Live Cinema UK (England)/TPD (Trung tâm hỗ trợ Phát triển tài năng Điện ảnh) (Vietnam)
- Project: An archive cine-concert combining archived film, newly shot footage and contemporary new electronic score, telling the real stories of Vietnam past and present through the prism of the motorbike.
- Title: ASHTAR International Youth Theatre Festival - "ARTIVISM" (Theatre)
- Partners: ASHTAR For Theatre Productions and Training (Occupied Palestinian Territories)/Mandala Theatre Company (England)
- Project: A collaborative digital performance festival with young people examine issues around mental health, the global pandemic and racial justice (including Black Lives Matter).
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. www.britishcouncil.org
About The Audience Agency
The Audience Agency works throughout the UK and internationally to undertake research, generate insight and provide support and advice for the cultural sector. It aims to enable cultural organisations to increase their relevance, reach and resilience and believes that arts, culture and heritage have the power to improve the quality of people’s lives, to create meaning and community and to promote empathy and learning. www.theaudienceagency.org