Connections Through Culture is an arts grant programme run by the British Council in the UK and East Asia. In August 2019, the Connections Through Culture Mobility Grant was launched in Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, enabling visits, exchanges and collaborations between these countries and the UK.

Celebrating the diverse cultural expression in both regions, the programme offers support, information, advice and networking opportunities for professional development. Grantees both from the UK and the East Asian countries benefit from the inspiration gained from exchanging ideas and sharing their cultural history.

Grant Recipients - Stories from Connections Through Culture Online 2019


In Malaysia, we offered the grant to seven applicants in two application rounds, for travel and exchange between Malaysia and the UK. Some of the grant recipients shifted their projects online due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions.

“Archival Thinking: Building and Managing Digital-Physical Archives of Resistance” – Nadia Nasaruddin X British Library Labs

As a team member of the The Malaysian Design Archive (MDA), Nadia Nasaruddin saw an opportunity to improve their archival practices by learning from counterparts in the United Kingdom (UK).   She went on a 20-day trip in the UK, to learn from specific archives in the UK, such as the British Library Labs (BLL), British Library, Birmingham City University, Arts, Design & Media Archive, Brighton University of Design Archive, London Screen Archive and Black Cultural Archive.  

“Muzium Alam” – Ayesha Keshani

Muzium Alam is an interactive, online, experimental museum about nature in a coastal region in the west of Sarawak.  Initially, Ayesha Keshani had planned to create a cluster of small "natural history museums” in Sarawak, however, the pandemic forced the project to be restructured for accessibility online.  The UK-based artist was personally interested in Malaysia and chose to focus the project on a coastal area in the west of Sarawak, in collaboration with local eco-tourism guides and voice artists.

“Nada Nusantara” – Marzelan Salleh x Simon Mawhinney

Nada Nusantara is a project that explores music through experimental play and study. The initiative started by Malaysian composer, Marzelan Salleh, aimed not only to create new compositions but encourage new learnings that could be discovered from examining all the elements connected to creating music. This encompasses technique, musical form, rhythm and harmony as well as the non-musical influences, such as colours, stories, inspirations from nature, self-play and culture.

“The Poet is the Poem” – Elaine Foster x Sheena Baharudin, Ana Jonessy and Anthony Chong

The Poet is the Poem is a unique showcase of Malaysian Sign Language through poetry. Elaine Foster, who founded MY Poetry School, was inspired to organise the initiative from watching poetry delivered in sign language.  The result was the premiere of “Walls” a poem film in the Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia (BIM) or Malaysian Sign Language by Anthony Chong with a translation in English by multimedia poet, Sheena Baharudin. (BIM is the officially recognised language of the deaf in Malaysia and is integral to their identity.)