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. 

CTC Main Image

The grant's objective is to support exchanges and collaborations between the UK and Southeast Asia. Prior to Covid-19, the grant would have most likely involved international travel. However, with travel restricted and uncertain, the CTC grants were 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.  

Grant Recipients - Stories from Connections Through Culture Online 2020


In Malaysia we accepted applications for the Connections Through Culture Online Collaboration Grants and announced the recipients in September 2021. We offered the grant to seven online projects, each comprising partners from Malaysia and the UK:

“Bor(neo): NORTH+EAST” – Sonia Luhong Wan x Catriona Maddocks

Spearheaded by East Malaysian-based Sonia Luhong Wan and UK’s Catriona Maddocks, Bor(neo): NORTH+EAST is a collaborative project that creates meaningful cultural exchanges between creatives from North East of England, East Malaysia and Kalimantan.   Since 2017, Borneo Bengkel, a collective of artists, musicians, social activists, and researchers, has been hosting creative residency programmes physically. However, when the pandemic struck, the Borneo Bengkel team decided to take their initiative virtually.  

“Life Cycle 2021” – Hands Percussion x Paul Philbert MBE

‘Life Cycle’ or ‘IMoTAS' as it was originally called, was first composed by Paul Philbert MBE in 1994 inspired by the sudden passing of his tutor, and friend earlier the same year. In 2011, Paul rearranged the piece using a combination of electronica, live and pre-recorded percussion and the Gamelan, for Hands Percussion’s debut gamelan concert ‘RI YUE CHU YIN’ telling a story of birth, life, tragedy and hope.  The British Council Connections Through Culture Grant brought Hands and Paul together again to collaborate online for Life Cycle 2021.