The Connections Through Culture grants programme is designed to nurture fresh cultural partnerships between East Asia and the UK. These grants are instrumental in supporting new ideas and collaborations from artists and cultural organisations at any stage of development.

The grants supported in this round of Connections Through Culture programme have focused on two distinct areas: diversity and inclusion and, addressing climate change. The collaborative efforts across borders and artistic disciplines will lead to new thoughts and ideas created to address global challenges.

The grants support new connections, exchanges and collaborations. These grants help build long-term relationships and collaborations between artists, cultural professionals, creative practitioners and art and cultural organisations, hubs, networks, and collectives.

In Malaysia we have offered the grant to nine projects, each comprising partners from Malaysia and the UK. The grant projects will run from the end of 2023 to 2024. 

Connections Through Culture grantees 2023

Bee-Man

UK: Sean McAllister

Malaysia: Irene Yap Hui Sun

A film project following the extraordinary life of Mr. Ooi Leng Chye, a man with many characters as he dedicates his life to saving bees and bridging the gap between nature and humanity. Unveiling the man's deep connection to material, spiritual, and natural worlds.

CounterArchive: Fictional Healing

UK: Michelle Williams Gamaker

Malaysia: Ong Jo-Lene

An exchange programme bringing together artists, curators, and academics to explore creative use of archival material and its potential as a form of reparation. Utilising fiction and filmmaking, the project fosters transcultural conversations on activating archives while addressing the gaps in official archives and established historiography. 

Creative Access in New Media Arts

UK: In Transit Space CIC

Malaysia: Filamen Sdn. Bhd.

Over a five-month online residency, UK and Malaysian artists will work to creatively embed access and accessibility in new media arts. The results will be exhibitied in the UK and Malaysia showcasing inclusive works and fostering global accessibility discussions.

From Hut to Palace: AR Exploration

UK: Ecosystems Knowledge Network (EKN), Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)

Malaysia: Institute of Malay World and Civilisation (ATMA)

Climate change and rapid urban development are changing how people engage with the environment. This Augmented Reality project explores traditional Malaysian and Scottish buildings' approach in responding to climate change. Advocating for local knowledge in modern architecture through immersive exhibitions.

SAMA SAMA: Transcultural Art Residency

UK: Bethan Maddocks

Malaysia: Pangrok Sulap

A UK-Malaysia residency that explores global issues in Sabah, emphasising sustainability, identity, and resource extraction. Exhibitions in both countries will fundraise for micro-hydro/solar power installation in communities.

ShrineShare

UK: David Blandy

Malaysia: Sharon Chin, Zedeck Siew

What do we hold sacred in times of polycrisis?’ This project asks artists from the UK and Malaysia to share their visions of sacred shrines—be they ancient, personal, or imagined. The result: a folio of handmade prints and guided performances exploring sacred sites, local geography, and differing values. This international exchange explores our shared hopes for life on earth.

Stories of Life at Home

UK: Junction 15 Productions

Malaysia: Society for Equality, Respect and Trust for All (SERATA)

This project aims to tell of the lived realities of the people in Sabah, through the lens of their socio-economic status, and how it affects the lives they live. Sabah's population is ethnically heterogeneous and culturally diverse, with more than 30 different ethnic races and over 80 local dialects spoken. This pilot project collects stories from diverse communities in Sabah, Malaysia, and the UK. 

Sustainable & Generation Production Strategies

UK: Fieldwork Studio

Malaysia: Gunung Cherita

A collaboration focusing on inclusive development in artist film and performance. The project will collectively research and explore inclusive models of development and production in artist film, moving image and performance to camera, across stage and screen. Supported through research, digital exchange, and in-person residencies that explore sustainable strategies, the project aims to foster cross-cultural learning in Wales and Malaysia.

The Cipta Seni Incubator

UK: Tom Curteis

Malaysia: Sharmilla Ganesan

This incubator project will support artists across the live performance sector in Malaysia. The project aims to bridge a gap in the Malaysian arts ecosystem: providing access to regular and sustained creative development resources, critique, and support while making a work.  The project consists of providing selected artists with virtual mentorships, networking, and live events in Kuala Lumpur.