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. 

NORTH / EAST

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.

ART-I-CULATE

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.

LIFECYCLE 2021

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 Southeast Asia

Indonesia

Grantee Counterpart/s Project
Jogja Disability Arts: Butong Idar (Yogyakarta) Disability Murals (UK Disabled Peoples Council) (Bristol) Netas / Incubate' Disability Murals Project 2021: Collaborative murals (one in Indonesia and another in UK), with video and book to document conceptualisation, process and exchanges. 
Corali Dance Company: Sarah Archdeacon (Jakarta/Bandung) GIGI Art of Dance (Brighton) Digital Dance Toolkit Development: Design and test a digital dance toolkit based on Corali’s artistic methodologies to be made accessible publicly.
Edward Riman (UK) Ninda Felina (ID) & Prabumi (ID) Digital Music Collaboration: Recording sounds from sites threatened by climate change. 
Makassar Writers Festival: Lily Yulianti Farid (ID) Literature Across Frontiers (UK Storytelling project for d/Deaf writers, with support from Disability Arts Cymru (UK)
Flatpack Projects: Ian Francis (Birmingham) Sahabat Seni Nusantara (Jakarta) Urban Legends: Film festival exchange on the horror genre highlighting diverse voices of Islam and LGBTQ
Emma Frankland (Brighton) Tamarra (Yogyakarta) Trans Performance Exchange - From My Land to Your Land: Six month dialogue with six performance pieces created over digital platforms, links to land, river and oceans, and drawing on trans communities
Impermanence: Joshua Ben-Tovim and Roseanna Anderson (London) Studio Hanafi: Heru Joni Putra and Irfan Setiawan (Jakarta) Online art residency examining the theme of 'arrival' based on three epic poems/writings by historical Indonesian poets about Raffles. Geological links between UK-ID, highlighting impact of mining and extraction industry
Cryptic UK: Robbie Thomson (Scotland) WAFT Lab (Surabaya) Megalithic Transportation International - digital residency between four artists from Cryptic (UK) and WAFT Lab (ID) using megalithic sites to explore ideas of community, technology and communication
No Bounds Festival: Liam O'Shea (Sheffield) Yesnowave (ID) Online residencies and Ccllaboration between artists Nkisi (UK) and Gabber Modus Operandi (ID); decolonialisation of music / global south club movement
Zoo Co Creative Ltd: Florence O'Mahoney (London) Komunitas Sakatoya: Basundara Murba Anggana (Jakarta) CareCrisis enables two theatre companies to test a new digital performance format, with live performers from Sakatoya, and live, projected performances by Zoo Co. Explorating ecology, nature and care of older people. Short film of the digital rehearsal residency footage.
Bagong Kussudiardja Foundation: Jeannie Park (Yogyakarta) The Paper Birds (Leeds) The School of Hope': An online artistic global citizenship project led by UK theatre company The Paper Birds and hosted by PSBK art centre in Yogyakarta; using arts to engage Young Indonesians and artists in the concept of “empathy”.
Intersastra: Gaia Khairina (Jakarta) Khairani Barokka (London) Writing and performance workshops for transwomen in Indonesia and the UK, resulting in a digital library of short stories and filmed performances based on the storiesamplify and celebrate transwomen’s voices, and subvert tropes of representation by having transwomen define the creative bodymind in physical and digital spaces. We will hold 2 public Zoom discussions to nurture intersectional solidarity between the two countries.
Ballet ID: Mariska Febriyani (Jakarta) Marc Brew Company: Marc Robert Brew (London) DANCE DIALOGUE: Digital art residency between artists, exploring the concept of space and restrictions. 

Philippines

Grantee Counterpart/s Project
Renan Laru-an (Sultan Kudarat) Helena Hunter; Mandy El-Sayegh (England) Into the year of birds and clouds (Motions of this Kind 2021 Digital Archives and Research)
MATIC HUB: Patricia Kyle Gillera Mendoza (Manila) Gillian Easson (Dundee) Materials library expansion – Art and cultural research collaboration between UNESCO Creative Cities of Design: Cebu  and Dundee
Thirty-Three Thirty-Three: Nathan Comer (London) LaVerne de la Peña (Quezon City) Livestream performance of Filipino composer José Maceda’s work ‘Udlot-Udlot’ through Filipino community in Japan, UK counterpart working with Japanese university
Everything Green Trading and Consulting: Camille Rose Albarracin (Quezon City) Ericka Ilah Santiago (England) Agri-waste to Fashion (Footwear and Accessories) Collaboration: Design hackathon using agricultural materials between PH and UK designers involving local artisans (disabled, farmers, woman group artisan). 
Nathalie Dagmang (Manila) Curating Development: Deirdre McKay (England) Situating soundscapes and textures of migration: A psychogeographic map of the Filipino diaspora during the COVID-19 pandemic: Online curation on PH migrants using Zoom calls as methdology and content
Niya B (London) Bunny Cadag (Manila) Intimate Threads - performance making and gender plurality in the UK and the Philippines: online residencies and performances
*PH Arts and Creative Economy Research Grant: Stephanie Tudtud (UK respondents) Research on the need for a 'practical maker space' in Cebu, using UK case studies. Researcher drawing on her experience and contacts as Cardiff Met alumna.
*PH Arts and Creative Economy Research Grant: Diego Maranan (UK respondents) Research on how underutilised arts and science collaboration in the PH can spur innovation, using UK case studies. Researcher drawing on his experience and contacts as University of Plymouth alumnus
*PH Arts and Creative Economy Research Grant:  Maya Tamayo-Gutierrez (UK respondents) Research on roadmap for more inclusive arts and creative economy policy, engaging female government leaders; Includes experts and case studies from UK cultural policies.

Thailand

Grantee Counterpart/s Project
Invisible Flock: Catherine Baxendale (England) Siwakorn Odachao, Jennifer Katanyoutanant (Bangkok and Northern Thailand) Walk Like a Bee: Online workshops with Karen tribe elders facilitated by a design lab. Online and offline tools added to community mapping to support the online sharing and documentation of traditional rotational farming, a form of adaptation to Climate Change. Dialogue will be shared online as publications and at the 7th Asia-Pacific Adaptation Forum, taking place online during March 2021, hosted by the Stockholm Environment Institute.
Piyawat Louislapprasert (Nakhon Pathom) Scott Wilson (England), among other UK and Thai artists Resilience, Distance, Connection in Isolation Space from Afar: Online cultural exchange workshops, discussions, digital exhibitions, and virtual performances exchanging music and ideas between several UK and Thai artists on themes such as Cultural exchange and musical voices (Southeast Asian Instruments, UK Sound art/field recordings, etc.), resilience and collaboration in isolation, technology.
Anya Muangkote (Bangkok) Charlene Smith (England) Regenerative Districts - #1 Watthana: Building a network of local creatives and businesses to create a creative and regenerative circular economy in Thailand, enabling the sourcing of biomass from organic waste to develop local biodegradable artefacts/crafts/designs.The activities consist of research, material making workshops, showcases.
Asiatopia: Chumpon Apisuk (Nan, northern Thailand) Sinead O'Donnell (Northern Ireland) Closer Distancing: Artistic Connectivity with COVID-19: A series of online artistic collaboraitons and public live-streaming using online and digital platforms as well as digital archives to create new work in performance arts.
 Baff Akoto (England) Adulaya Hoontrakul (TH) Diasporic Blackness in the SE Asian context:  A Digital Artist Residency to undertake research into contemporary Diasporic Blackness in the SE Asian context.

Vietnam

Grantee Counterpart/s Project
Harry Maberly (Glasgow) Hồ Nguyễn Hải Đăng (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) GAP | GẶP: online movement film exploring connection, distance, and the role of digital intimacy in contemporary UK & Vietnamese queer culture. 
Heather Lander (Glasgow) Linh Hà (Hanoi) An impression of your presence, your place: Online audiovisual artwork and exchange
Van Huynh Company: Dam Van Huynh (London) MORUA: Ngo Thanh Phuong (Hoi An) Sound Barrier (working title): Online cultural exchange and contemporary dance showcase
Sally Lai (Manchester) Richard Streitmatter-Tran (VN) The Studios Project, Asia: An online platform of artists' studiosresearch about artist studios role, and online curatorial resource