Rhythm and Ragas performing at the Belfast Mela in 2019
Rhythm and Ragas performing at the Belfast Mela in 2019. Image copyright of ArtsEkta

Five projects have successfully secured funding through the India-Northern Ireland: Connections Through Culture grant scheme.

This new open call by the British Council supports artistic collaboration and exchange between creative professionals and arts organisations in Northern Ireland and India. The grants are for Northern Ireland artists, arts organisations and festivals and will enable development of cross-cultural practice and new artistic work with scope to tour to arts festivals in India over the longer-term. 

Designed to provide support to successful applicants for a period of three years, year one is for research and development, while years two and three will include production and festivals touring. Due to Covid-19, the projects are all digital in year one, but the ambition is to have some face-to-face activity.

Meet the successful recipients of the India-Northern Ireland: Connections Through Culture grant scheme.

Details of the projects that have been selected for the grant scheme below:

Derry- Delhi: Electronic Connections (Music)

Derry/Londonderry, electronic music festival, Celtronic has partnered with New Delhi online radio station Boxout.fm to create new music through artistic collaboration. In year one, 18 acts – ranging from a mix of ambient, house, electro and techno – from both Derry/Londonderry and India, have taken part in a two-day live-stream, showcasing up-and-coming music from both parts of the world. As the project develops past this research and development phase, the ambition is to create a selection of new music with curated events both in Derry/Londonderry and India.

Shiva meets Medbh (Theatre)

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.

Building on a body of work and research carried out by ArtsEkta between 2010 – 2012 through the Diwali and Samhain festival which explored Celtic and Indian traditions and the broader cultural relationship between India and Ireland , the project aims to strengthen creative partnership between the two organisations. It will explore the commonalities between age old Irish and Indian myths and legends drawing on common themes and traditions between both cultures enabling an artistic exchange between Northern Ireland and Indian dancers, musicians and storytellers.

Citadels of the Sun (Music)

Musician Marty Coyle, together with Donegal's Earagail Arts Festival, will work together with the Jodhpur RIFF festival in Rajasthan to create a new touring show. 

In 2019, Martin spent time collaborating with Rajasthani and Irish musicians commissioned by Earagail Arts Festival and made strong and lasting connections with artists and the Jodhpur RIFF festival. Phase one of this grant will enable the partnership to develop further, through the composition of new works that will be showcased in both countries and facilitate a growing collaborative relationship between both cultures.

Translations in Mumbai (Theatre)

The Lyric Theatre will connect with Rage Theatre in Mumbai to explore themes of colonialism, communication, and language. The hope had been pre-covid to have the workshops in Mumbai and Belfast in person but due to the ongoing pandemic these exciting workshops will now be carried out online. 

After this first research and development phase, the collaboration has the potential for a long-term partnership as Northern Ireland has a small yet significant Indian population and young people from minority communities can be nurtured to create opportunities to express artistic ambitions. In the long term, this partnership could create new platforms to discover or create new work and offer innovative and exciting opportunities for talented artists to meet and work together.

Beyond Borders - Kolkata, Delhi, Belfast, Derry (Theatre)

Through the grant, 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. Through a cross cultural collaboration that place these issues in a global context, the research and development phase aims to develop a knowledge of each other’s creative drive, social and political context for creating work, interacting and inspiring local artists and students in India and Northern Ireland by exploring participatory practice and skills development for positive social change.

In years two and three of the programme, both organisations will identify opportunities for collaboration that broadens the impact of the work within an international context.

 If you have any queries about the grant scheme, please write to ConnectionsIndia@britishcouncil.org