Northern Ireland arts organisations will make significant connections with artists in India over the next few years, the British Council has announced.
They include five organisations who have successfully secured funding through a new open call – the India - Northern Ireland: Connections Through Culture grant scheme – which aims to support artistic collaboration and exchange over a three-year period, with year one around research and development, while years two and three will concentrate on production and festivals touring.
In Belfast, the Lyric Theatre will connect with Rage Theatre in Mumbai to explore themes of colonialism, communication, and language; independent theatre company Kabosh together with Creative Arts India are developing work around women’s rights and gender violence across Kolka, Delhi, Belfast and Derry/Londonderry; and Arts Ekta - the cultural charity responsible for the Belfast Mela – has joined forces with Rhythm and Ragas, a traditional performing arts group in the northern Indian state, Rajasthan to develop new outdoor street theatre performances.
Meanwhile in Derry/Londonderry, electronic music festival, Celtronic has partnered with New Delhi online radio station Boxout.fm to create new music through artistic collaboration and former Derry/Londondery Musician in Residence, Marty Coyle will partner with Earagail Arts Festival, Donegal and Jodhpur RIFF festival in Rajasthan to create a new touring show.
The grants are part of British Council’s ambition to promote mutual and equitable collaboration between artists in India and Northern Ireland and provide new platforms to promote the culture and creativity of Northern Ireland to international audiences. Due to the serious impact of Covid-19 in India, the projects will be digital in year one, but the ambition is to have face-to-face activity, with further partnerships between arts organisations in India and Northern Ireland announced in the coming months.
Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland said: “We are excited to announce the successful recipients of the new India-Northern Ireland Connections Through Culture scheme. We received some amazing applications and are excited to see the development and outcome of the successful projects. We aim through these grants to strengthen the creative sector between India and Northern Ireland and look forward to helping organisations in both countries connect, create and collaborate over the coming years.”
Barbara Wickham OBE, Director, British Council India said: “We are delighted to announce the recipients of the Connections Through Culture grants for India with Northern Ireland. Having received some amazing applications, we are excited to see the development of this collection of terrific arts and culture projects come to life. The grants aim to build imaginative bridges between India and the United Kingdom and to strengthen the development of culture and the creative economy, especially between artists and arts festivals. As we look toward India’s 75th anniversary of Independence in 2022 these projects will enable artists, arts organisations and festivals to connect, create and collaborate.’’
Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer, Lyric Theatre, said: “We are delighted to be able to go ahead with these important and exciting workshops with our partner Rage Productions in Mumbai. The arts are more vital than ever to reflect, explore and discover when faced with such uncertainty. We would have loved to bring artists to Mumbai and the Rage Productions ensemble to Belfast but are thrilled that technology will allow us to continue until it is safe to meet once again in person. A massive thank you to the British Council for supporting important partnerships such as with our friends at Rage Productions.”
Paula McFetridge, Artistic Director, Kabosh, said: “'India-Northern Ireland Connections Through Culture has afforded Kabosh an opportunity to partner with Creative Arts in Kolkata, allowing independent academic analysis of both organisations' methodology in artistically interrogating the role of gender violence within conflict. It puts our collective practice in a global context, builds international audiences, enhances our output and deepens our impact.”
Nisha Tandon, Founder and Director, ArtsEkta, said: “We are delighted to have received support from the British Council to support the creative collaboration of street theatre artists from Northern Ireland and Jaipur in India. ArtsEkta has always been a globally outward looking organisation and this fantastic scheme from the British Council provides us with a great opportunity to commission new work and engage in international exchange through an enriching artist-led development process. We look forward to presenting our new work at the Belfast Mela in 2021 and 2022 with further touring within the UK, Ireland and India being planned beyond that.”
India-Northern Ireland Connection Through Culture Grants continue the British Council’s work building connection, understanding and trust between people in the UK and overseas through arts, education and English language teaching. To find out more about their work in Northern Ireland visit nireland.britishcouncil.org or follow on Twitter: @BCouncil_NI, Facebook or Instagram.