Worth over £80,000 from three distinct British Council programmes to develop innovative ways of collaborating digitally in the arts
- Connections Through Culture seeds cultural exchanges between artists and arts organisations
- Digital Collaboration Fund supports digitally innovative ways of collaborating internationally
- Literature Grants support the UK literature sector to work with organisations and individuals in Malaysia
Since October 2020, ten Malaysian beneficiaries have received grants from the British Council to support cultural partnerships between the UK and Malaysia. These grants, with a total worth of over £80,000 from three distinct programmes, will help develop innovative ways of collaborating digitally in the arts during this period where Covid-19 has prevented international travel and face-to-face collaborations.
‘These grants will support work in various art forms ranging from literature, film, visual arts, music to theatre. Our ten beneficiaries will bring together people with different experiences and backgrounds, including the disabled, minority ethnic groups, LGBTQI+, youth, and those working in areas of environment and sustainability. We are proud to provide the opportunity for our grant beneficiaries in the UK and Malaysia to share and inspire each other,’ said Jazreel Goh, Director Malaysia, British Council.
Connections Through Culture
Seven beneficiaries received grants from the British Council’s Connections Through Culture programme, a bilateral grant designed to seed exciting cultural exchanges between artists and arts organisations and nurture cooperation and long-lasting relationships between the United Kingdom and Malaysia.
Malaysian Connections Through Culture grant recipient Bernard Goh of HANDS Percussion will work on an organic approach to composing, with a new piece for the Malay gamelan, including live streams of classical work on the gamelan. Meanwhile, Sonia Luhong Wan of Borneo Bengkel will build bridges between creatives in the North East of England and Borneo through a virtual exhibition and collaborative experimental performance hosted digitally across continents.
Digital Collaboration Fund
The British Council’s Digital Collaboration Fund supports UK and overseas cultural partnerships to develop digitally innovative ways of collaborating. One Malaysian beneficiary received the Restart grant, offered for projects halted by Covid-19 but able to pivot and resume virtually.
The project is a collaboration between Omnibus Theatre (UK), artist Hester Welch, Wayang Kitchen and The Rojak Projek. The project will consist of two separate but linked programmes. Rice! explores the delicate existence of life between two cultures, featuring a two-women storytelling digital performance between London and Kuala Lumpur, all stimulated through the senses with delicious Malaysian dishes delivered to the audience via partner restaurants in both cities. Food Tripping will be two online events which are part performance, part cooking class that engages and encourages cultural exchange between UK and Malaysian audiences through theatre and food.
The British Council has offered two Literature Grants to support the UK literature sector to work with organisations and individuals around the world.
Artists Chai Yee Thong and Rebecca Yeoh will curate an online exhibition exploring literature in response to the events surrounding 13 May 1969 in Malaysia. Meanwhile, Connect 360 run by All Change, a global cultural exchange and arts activism project, will mentor up to 60 diverse participants from Malaysia, Uganda and the UK.
The British Council has been working with artists and art organisations in Malaysia since 1948. We see the arts as an essential player in the growth of creative communities and the creative economy. We promote innovative and diverse aspects of the UK arts including visual arts, architecture, design, dance, drama, music, film, literature and creative economy.
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The grants and list of recipients
Connections Through Culture
Connections Through Culture was created in Southeast Asia in August 2019 to promote arts and cultural exchange between the UK and Southeast Asia. This British Council arts grant is a first-of-its kind project to spark innovative ways for participants from five Southeast Asian countries and the UK to collaborate through the arts. The primary objective is to support exchanges and collaborations between the UK and Southeast Asia.
1. Recipient: Alistair Debling (UK)
Counterpart: Khatijah Rahmat (Malaysia)
Project Description: A five-month digital art residency in which Alistair, a British artist-filmmaker, and Khatijah, a Malaysian artist-researcher-collaborate to produce an experimental film. The residency will culminate in an online exhibition and online/ local screenings in the UK and Malaysia. The film will facilitate a process of cultural exchange, documenting the different temporalities experienced by a young artist in a locked-down city and an artist-researcher studying Asian elephants in the remote Malaysian jungle.
2. Recipient: Anna Karina Jardin of Artdialogo Asia (Malaysia)
Counterpart: Bien King (UK)
Project Description: ART-I-Culate programme which will be carried out through 5 phases over 6 months is an open call to youth 14-21 (20 from 12 UK regions and 5 ASEAN countries) to participate in Masterclasses, artistic collaborations and cultural dialogues to produce a digital exhibition. Speakers will be a mix of UK and ASEAN experts.
3. Recipient: Eliza Collin (UK)
Counterpart: Wendy Teo of Borneo Laboratory (Malaysia)
Project Description: It is a sustainability project to explore the potential uses of mud in design and its cultural intricacies. Digital exchange research. Four workshops at Think & Think space. UK responds by taking part in workshops in the UK. From this, create a physical and virtual showcase of the investigation and host online discussions around the vocabulary of mud, achieving a material exchange between Malaysia and the UK. Promoting the use of mud as a material shines a light on our damaging modern design practices.
4. Recipient: Bernard Goh Seang Heong of HANDS Percussion (Malaysia)
Counterpart: Paul Philbert MBE (UK)
Project Description: This project is a progression check-in after initial two projects with Paul (RI YUE CHU YIN 2011 and Tchaikovsky on Gamelan in 2014). Organic approach to composing: Paul (UK) will compose a new piece for the Malay gamelan, and Malaysian composition will be synergised with his. Online project synergy sessions, live online discussions and workshops to rehearse as to produce and live stream piece of classical work on the gamelan.
5. Recipient: Lim Soon Heng of KL Shakespeare Players (Malaysia)
Counterpart: Leo Sykes Libanio (UK)
Project Description: The project is a series of ten R&D workshops with Leo Sky (UK dramaturg) on objects in Shakespeare, exploring how to transform them playfully in Shakespeare productions for non-native English-speaking children.
6. Recipient: Sonia Luhong Wan of Borneo Bengkel (Malaysia)
Counterpart: Catriona Maddocks (UK)
Project Description: The project is about reaching across borders and building bridges between creatives in the North East of England and Borneo (encompassing East Malaysia; Sarawak and Sabah, and Kalimantan, Indonesia), through informal dialogue, engaged discussions, spaces for play and creative sharing and showcasing outcomes through a virtual exhibition and collaborative experimental performance hosted digitally across continents.
7. Recipient: Laura Porter
Counterpart: Lee Mok Yee (Malaysia)
Project description: The project is an online collaborative residency between Malaysian-based mixed-media artist Lee Mok Yee and UK-based sculpture and installation artist Laura Porter, over an eight-week period. Using an online platform, both artists will make work in response to the other; pushing each other to experiment, share research and set tasks that challenge their practices of repurposing of materials and the deconstruction of everyday objects.
Digital Collaboration Fund Restart grant
The Digital Collaboration Fund supports 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 Restart grant is offered for projects halted by Covid-19 but able to pivot and resume virtually.
Programme 1 Title: Rice! (Theatre)
Partners: Omnibus Theatre (England) / Arara Entertainment Sdn Bhd (Malaysia)
Description: A digital two-woman storytelling performance, between London and Kuala Lumpur. Audiences will be able to enjoy delicious Malaysian dishes during the performance, delivered via partner restaurants in both cities.
Programme 2 Title: Food Tripping
Partners: Hester Welch / Razif Hashim / The Rojak Projek (Malaysia)
Description: Two online events which are part performance, part cooking class, that engages and encourages cultural exchange between UK and Malaysian audiences through theatre and food.
Two Literature Grants were offered to support the UK literature sector to work with international organisations and individuals.
Chai Yee Thong
Artists Chai Yee Thong and Rebecca Yeoh (Malaysia) will curate an online exhibition exploring literature in response to the events surrounding the racial conflict of 13 May 1969 in Malaysia.
Connect 360 run by All Change is a global cultural exchange and arts activism project, re-connecting writers Francesca Beard, Hilda J. Twongyeirwe and Priya K (Malaysia) and supporting them to mentor up to 60 diverse participants from Malaysia, Uganda and the UK.
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, and through 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
The British Council has been working with Malaysia since 1948.