Connections Through Culture (CTC) is an arts grant programme run by the British Council in the UK and East Asia. It was established in August 2019 in Southeast Asia to provide grants to residents of the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam from the following groups: 
  • Artists 
  • Cultural and arts professionals
  • Representatives of art collectives, networks or organisations
The primary objective is to support exchanges and collaborations between the UK and Southeast Asia. Prior to Covid-19, this would have most likely involved international travel. However, with travel restricted and uncertain, the CTC grants are offered to develop and strengthen new and existing relationships between the UK and Southeast Asia, by providing funding to allow conversations to happen, and for the possibilities of online collaboration to be explored.  
We accepted applications for the Connections Through Culture Online Collaboration Grants in October 2020 and announced the recipients in December 2020.

Grant Recipients

In Malaysia, we offered the grant to seven online projects, each comprising partners from Malaysia and the UK.

Reciprocal Space

Laura Porter (UK) × Lee Mok Yee (MY)
Reciprocal Space is an online collaborative residency and cultural exchange between Malaysia-based artist Lee Mok Yee and UK-based artist Laura Porter, who both work in sculpture and installation. 

Narratives of Soil

Eliza Collin (UK) × Wendy Teo (MY)
The project explores the potential uses of mud in design and its cultural intricacies through a digital research exchange. Wendy Teo conducts four workshops at Think & Think space, gathering soil samples and exploring their properties. Eliza Collin responds by taking part in workshops in the UK. From this they 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.

On the Queer Time of Elephants

Alistair Debling (UK) × Kat Rahmat (MY)
A five-month digital art residency in which Alistair Debling, a British artist-filmmaker, and Kat Rahmat, a Malaysian artist-researcher, collaborate to produce an experimental film. The residency culminates in an online exhibition and local screenings in the UK and Malaysia. In the context of a global pandemic, in which our experience of time and our relationship to nature has been unsettled, the film facilitates a process of cultural exchange, documenting the different temporalities experienced by a young queer artist in a locked-down city and an artist-researcher studying Asian elephants in a remote Malaysian jungle. 


Sonia Luhong Wan (MY) × Catriona Maddocks (UK)
The project seeks to reach across borders and build bridges between creatives in the North East of England and Borneo (encompassing East Malaysia and Kalimantan, Indonesia), through informal dialogue and engaged discussions, spaces for play and creative sharing and by showcasing the outcomes through a virtual exhibition and collaborative experimental performance hosted digitally across continents.


Artdialogo Asia (MY) × Let's Reinvent (UK) 
ART-I-CULATE aims to champion cultural understanding and art-centered digital innovation between ASEAN and the UK by bringing together young aspiring artists from both regions. The programme enables participants to access a high-quality series of digital art masterclasses, cultural dialogue and a three month-long cross-cultural collaboration which equips participants to boost their portfolios whilst weaving long-lasting relationships. The highlights of ART-I-CULATE are the digital art exhibition and the publication of the artworks collectively showcasing participants’ enhanced artistic and technological know-hows, collaborative synergy and transformative cultural understanding of Southeast Asian and British arts and culture.


Hands Percussion (MY) × Paul Philbert MBE (UK)
LIFECYCLE 2021 is a continuation of the collaboration between Hands Percussions and Paul Philbert MBE. Taking an organic approach to composing, the project sees Paul composing a new piece for the Malay gamelan synergised with HANDS Percussion's composition. Workshops, rehearsals and discussions are conducted via online and digital means, culminating in the production and live stream of a new piece of classical work on the gamelan.

OBJECTing Shakespeare

KL Shakespeare Players (MY) × Leo Sykes Libanio (UK)
A series of ten R&D workshops on objects in Shakespeare, exploring how to transform them playfully in Shakespeare productions for non-native English-speaking children. These metamorphosing objects are deployed to instigate and provoke engagements, to incite imaginative freedom that begets understanding. The transforming objects will clarify, maybe challenge the idea that Shakespeare equals words.

Grantees in East Asia