Photograph of Oona Doherty
Oona Doherty. Image ©

Luca Truffarelli.

Thursday 19 October 2023

Belfast, 19th October – Today, three Northern Ireland based awardees have been announced for the British Council’s Spotlight on Culture UK/France 2024 Fund. 

The fund aims to spark new and refresh existing connections between the UK and France, supporting collaborations that build long-term relationships between artists, creative practitioners, and arts and cultural organisations.

Northern Ireland-based projects have been awarded over £50K through the fund, which is part of the Spotlight on Culture UK/France 2024 - Together We Imagine programme. The spotlight is a celebration of artistic co-creation and cultural partnerships, taking place as France enters the international spotlight as host of the Rugby World Cup, Paris 2024 Olympic & Paralympic Games, and their Cultural Olympiad. 

From April to October 2024, an exciting programme from Northern Ireland in France will feature: new work from Oona Doherty Dance alongside Pavilion Noir in Aix en Provence; Outburst Queer Arts Festival joins forces with Festival Transform in Marseille; and a celebration of literature, libraries and multilingualism led by the Poetry Juke Box, the Linenhall Library, Belfast, the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris and the Festival Etonnants Voyageurs de Saint Malo will take place in Brittany and other venues in France and Northern Ireland.

A list of all the successful projects is included below.

Belfast choreographer Oona Doherty is thrilled about receiving the grant:

“I just moved on my own from Northern Ireland to Marseille. I wrote a physical play about Belfast and grief. Thank you for supporting me, it is a push to keep me going! Felt like home was coming with me on this journey.”

Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, added:

“We are delighted to support three major Northern Ireland-France creative partnerships during the UK/France Spotlight, particularly during the year of the Cultural Olympiad as well as British Council's 80th Anniversary in France.

“The UK/France Spotlight projects will help maintain vital links between our countries, and will support the opportunity for creatives across both countries to connect, collaborate and form lasting relationships. We’re excited to follow the work of the grantees and to bring the work of both Northern Ireland and France to new audiences”.


List of Projects from Northern Ireland

  • Choreographer Oona Doherty and Ballet Preljocaj will collaborate on Oona’s new production, with a premiere at Pavillon Noir in Aix-en-Provence in Autumn 24. Inspired by Northern Irish mythology, this new piece will mix dance, theatre, and performance, offering opportunities to forge links with a range of new partners, venues and co-producers. The project will also include workshops in schools in Aix-en-Provence and the surrounding area.
  • A Poetry Jukebox curation inspired by The Linen Hall’s Robert McAdam Comparative Lexicon will commission and showcase new work – 10 new poems and 10 translations, mainly from Northern Ireland (English-and Irish-speaking), but also include poets from France (and poems in Breton). A collaboration with Quotidian, who run the Poetry Jukebox project, will feature a tour and public readings at Etonnants Voyageurs Festival in Saint Malo in May 2024 and at Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris.
  • The collaboration between Outburst Art and Festival Transform involves co-presentation and workshops between two queer arts organisations in Northern Ireland and France. The project includes a major public performance and engagement programme at Festival Transform in Marseille July 2024, with ongoing mentoring and organisational development support.

Notes to Editor

For media enquiries, please contact:

Anna Christoforou, Senior Media and Campaigns Manager, UK Nations, British Council 


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language.

With more than 80 years of expertise and present in more than 100 countries, British Council is a globally recognised organisation in the teaching of the English language, with more than 300,000 students around the world and working with people in over 200 countries and territories. In 2021-22 we reached 650 million people. 

About UK/France Spotlight on Culture:

Led by British Council, UK/FR Spotlight on Culture Together We Imagine is a celebration of the Franco-British relationship through culture. It will plant seeds for new opportunities for individuals and organisations. As France is in the international spotlight as host of the Paris 2024 Olympic & Paralympic Games, and their Cultural Olympiad, British Council has designed a vibrant programme of cultural collaborations, events, activities and grant-funded projects taking place across France between Spring and Autumn 2024.